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Construction is one of the oldest industries because people have been constructing shelters and other structures for millennia. Design, planning, and construction methods for buildings have evolved over time. The construction industry has utilised technology for a significant amount of time to increase project output and efficiency, as well as to make structures secure. Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being utilised in novel ways by the construction industry to increase output and efficiency. AI has already demonstrated its value and is making inroads into the traditionally conservative construction industry, where it is assisting with the optimisation of work schedules, enhancing workplace safety, and keeping a watchful check on building facilities.


By HL Architects Newcastle


The fundamentals of AI and machine learning.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is the capacity of a computer system to imitate human intelligence in tasks like learning and problem solving. Using AI, a computer system can acquire and apply knowledge in a human-like manner. (AI). In machine learning, artificial intelligence is utilised. Using mathematical models of data, this method allows a computer to learn on its own. This means that a computer system can perpetually learn new skills and improve itself.

Machine learning is the result of a swift assessment of multiple algorithms. For instance, one type of learning algorithm may sort through a hierarchy of queries such as “How old are you?” when attempting to predict a person’s lifespan. Do you currently visit the gym? moreover, etc. If you choose “yes,” you will arrive in one location, but if you choose “no,” you will arrive in another. Using machine learning, the computer will generate the next round of questions, similar to the classic children’s game “20 Questions.”

When applied to construction, the question tree and attendant algorithms become significantly more complex. A machine learning programme may, for instance, monitor the progress of foundation excavation and adjust the schedule consequently. Algorithms may “ask questions” about the amount of cut and fill, equipment availability, weather dependability, previous project experience, and any number of other relevant inputs in order to generate a risk score and determine whether notifications must be recorded.

Intelligent Construction Using Robotics and Computer Vision

The construction industry is primed for AI and machine learning applications. In our industry, requests for information, alterations, unresolved issues, and alternative courses of action are par for the course. Similar to an intelligent assistant, machine learning can sift through vast amounts of data in quest of actionable triggers and immediately notify the appropriate personnel. Artificial intelligence (AI) is currently utilised in a variety of industries, with benefits varying from enhanced monitoring of job site safety to the prevention of future material shortages.

Building Implementations of Artificial Intelligence

We will only skim the surface of the numerous applications of artificial intelligence. Examples include Big Data management, construction course monitoring, increased on-site productivity, decreased costs, enhanced BIM, reduced risk, enhanced site safety, avoiding labour shortages, facilitating off-site assembly, and post-production management support.

Administration of Huge Amounts of Data

Throughout the construction process, big data is utilised to increase output and efficiency. The purpose of data analytics solutions is to extract information from large data repositories and make it accessible to all parties involved in the construction process, such as contractors, architects, craftsmen, and clients.

Eliminate Cost Surges

Artificial intelligence is used to estimate construction cost overruns based on a variety of factors, such as project size, building type, essential staff experience levels, and many others. By analysing historical project data (such as gantt charts), predictive modelling can accurately forecast the duration of future endeavours. In the same way that AI can predict future labour or material shortages for ongoing projects, it can expedite the process of adding new resources to those projects. The amount of time and money required to complete a project decreases.

Supervision of Construction Projects

Several programmes suggest that the problem of overdue and overbudget construction projects can be resolved using real-time monitoring and artificial intelligence. Apps propelled by artificial intelligence may analyse site-recorded 3Ds to tally the number of materials used and the progress made on various subprojects. Drones, sensors, and cameras are a few of the autonomous devices used to monitor the construction site. Constantly, algorithms evaluate actual progress against forecasts, estimates, and deadlines.

The management team can intervene to prevent problems from escalating if they arise. In the future, algorithms will use a form of artificial intelligence known as “reinforcement learning” to learn from their errors by comparing and contrasting various potential outcomes based on previous efforts with comparable outcomes. This enhances the optimal approach, which facilitates efficient project management.

Productive Work Environments

Autonomous construction equipment is advancing in areas such as concrete pouring, bricklaying, welding, and demolition because it is more efficient than humans at conducting repetitive tasks. Autonomous or semi-autonomous bulldozers are already conducting some clearing and excavation because they have been programmed to perform site preparations according to precise specifications. By eliminating the need for human labor, this reduces the amount of time necessary to complete the undertaking.

How to use generative design to create more accurate three-dimensional models of buildings.

What the industry refers to as “BIM” is essentially a workflow process. This method is founded on models from the planning, administration, and construction of buildings and infrastructure. BIM software is utilised for the planning, design, construction, and optimisation of projects. 3D models must account for the coordination of activities between the various subteams and the architecture, engineering, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) drawings when delivering a project involving multiple teams. Among the obstacles are sustaining communication between the various teams and preventing model overlap.

The construction industry employs machine learning in the form of generative design to avoid BIM model conflicts between the numerous subteams. Applications that evaluate all possible solutions and generate additional designs employ machine learning techniques. The software then applies the criteria to the model and generates 3D solutions that are optimised for the criteria, self-improving with each iteration to produce the optimal model.

A safer work environment

Artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics can reduce construction site risks, physical demands, and manual labor, allowing humans to concentrate on more challenging tasks. Robotics on-site can perform the overwhelming majority of heavy lifting, reducing employee strain and enhancing workplace safety. For instance, Construction Robotics’ MULE robot can assist employees by lifting up to 6,000 pounds per day. This can increase productivity and safety on the employment site. AI systems are far superior to humans when it comes to identifying, assessing, and communicating construction site hazards. This is accomplished by artificial intelligence ingesting data from live video and perpetually analysing it for warning signs. By integrating these warnings into comprehensive dashboards, construction site managers can take the necessary precautions to reduce the likelihood of catastrophes on their sites.

Surmounting the Labor Shortage

Companies in the construction industry use AI and machine learning to optimise the allocation of resources such as personnel and machinery. By continuously monitoring task progression and the placement of staff and equipment, AI enables project managers to quickly identify which job locations have sufficient workers and equipment to complete the project on time, which may be falling behind, and where additional labour should be deployed. A large contractor can make more efficient use of his personnel by equipping rovers like Spot the Dog with artificial intelligence so they can patrol the construction site each night on their own. This is particularly true in nations or regions where qualified labour is scarce.

Mitigating Danger

There are numerous inherent risks associated with construction initiatives, including those related to quality, safety, schedule, and finances. By employing AI to autonomously rank the same issues throughout the entire construction process, the project team can concentrate its limited resources on the most critical risk factors. Similarly, some programmes grade subcontractors based on risk, allowing construction managers to collaborate more closely with high-risk subcontractors in order to mitigate that risk.

Post-Construction Applications

Building management can benefit from artificial intelligence even after construction is complete. Through the use of sensors, drones, and other wireless technologies, buildings, bridges, roads, and just about anything else in the built environment can benefit from the data captured by sophisticated analytics and AI algorithms. This implies that AI can be used to keep a watch on things, schedule preventative maintenance, and even guide human behaviour to ensure the highest level of safety and security.

The Future of AI in Construction

Robotics, AI, and the Internet of Things may reduce construction costs by as much as 20%, and an increasing number of industry experts are looking to AI as a solution to productivity issues and other challenges. There are numerous beneficial applications of AI in the construction industry. It will ensure that the work is done on time and within budget, as well as increase workplace productivity and safety.

Off-Site Building Methods

When buildings can be assembled off-site, the endeavour can be completed more rapidly. In factories, construction companies use autonomous machines to assemble building components before transporting them to construction sites, where they are assembled by humans. For instance, autonomous devices on an assembly line can produce a wall more efficiently, freeing up human labour for higher-value tasks such as plumbing.

Adoption of AI technology may represent a significant shift for a number of employees in a traditionally resistant industry. There is prevalent concern that robots will one day replace humans in the construction industry. Clearly, this is not the situation. The goal of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is to increase worker productivity and safety on the job. Instead, new employment opportunities enabled by automated technologies will attract a growing talent pool to the construction sector.