Artificial intelligence could bring huge benefits to the construction industry, but it may be one of the last to fully embrace it.
The artificial intelligence revolution is expected to have an effect on every industry, with some already seeing the benefits of this technology while others are only starting to dip their toes into the possibilities.
In construction, artificial intelligence is still in the realm of toe dipping for almost all firms. While there are many use cases being brought to the table, and some leading-edge construction and architecture firms are utilizing AI in interesting ways, it is still not as advanced as it is in the technology, finance, and medicine industries.
Construction firms are bullish about the use of AI in the future, with 92 percent of construction companies surveyed in the Peak’s Decision Intelligence Maturity Index stating they have or intend to use AI in their workflows. However, only 65 percent of construction companies AI projects have been successful thus far, one of the lowest percentage values of all industries surveyed.
“Artificial intelligence will transform our industry in the next 10 years more than any other technology in the past 100 years,” said James Barrett, chief innovation officer for Turner Construction, to Construction Dive. “It’s going to be huge because it has such broad application in so many cases. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.”
One of the issues is the culture in most construction firms isn’t data-driven, and can be quite adverse to technological advancement. According to the Oracle Industry Lab, most of the industry’s data lives in silos, there isn’t a lot of historical data available, and firms are hesitant to share data with third-parties, such as analytics platforms.
The culture is changing, albeit slowly, with some of the top firms recognizing the immense value AI could have on the construction industry in the next five years. The discovery stage, which many firms are currently going through, will be critical to the development of applications and systems that may be in use by construction firms for the next decade.
With AI, construction firms could see the time spent going through building codes, permits, and other health and safety regulations reduced significantly, by allowing an artificial intelligence to sift through thousands of documents and identify relevant codes and permits.
AI can also be used as a sort of virtual project manager, able to define more clearly the different stages of the project and break each stage down into sub-stages to keep managers and workers in check. To optimize this, construction firms should upload all data on previous projects, with worker sign-offs and other relevant material to indicate how a project progresses.
Through the use of CCTV and on-site cameras, AI can also improve safety by detecting hazards and issuing warnings to workers not wearing protective gear. With AI, construction firms can also run tests in simulation to better understand the risks, before starting the project in real life.