What if you have eyes and ears on the job site? For instance, a drone comes into view and hovers over your construction site. Moments later, the tablet you are holding encapsulates the observations made by the cameras: a labourer is not wearing his safety helmet and two of your forklifts are underutilised. These are just a few of the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the construction industry.
AI is an aggregative term for describing when a machine mimics human cognitive functions, like problem-solving, pattern recognition, and learning. The hallmark of AI is its ability to rationalise and the best course of action to achieve a specific goal.
It is still too early to predict the full impact of AI in the long run. However, its current influence on the industry is undeniable. Many businesses are already putting AI to use in a variety of ways. The ultimate aim for AI in construction is to create a more efficient and safer job site to meet the needs of the labour force more intelligently.
At IFCA, we hope to walk you through some of the ways AI can help the construction industry navigate IR4.0.
1. Optimise project design phase with AI-powered insights
The ideation, design, and planning processes are critical stages in the lifecycle of your construction project. They must run smoothly in order to complete any project on time, with high quality, and within budget. Your designers, engineers, and architects routinely devote many hours to the design of a building.
This is where AI comes into play via generative design. Generative design is an AI-based system that has access to a database of many previously built building plans. It can create design alternatives based on the information it learns from the plans in the database.
With AI in building design, contractors can gain insights from building data, material data, and environmental data, for example, to determine the best way to design and develop a project.
This is a major improvement over the old-fashioned scripting as it allows engineers to select the most desirable design out of the alternatives available. This enables the design and planning to be more accurate and timelier at less cost.
2. Improve workplace safety
Construction is not without hazards and another advantage of AI-based solutions over IoT is that it can be programmed to notify the relevant personnel whenever it detects potential safety hazards.
AI-enabled systems can monitor what is going on 24/7 without distraction. With facial recognition and object recognition technology, AI systems are capable of detecting unsafe behavior and alert your construction team of potential hazards. This not only reduces liability, it can also save lives and avoid undue obstructions or delays.
For example, the IFCA ContractX Site Management Solution is an AI-enabled surveillance system that helps to keep a close eye on your construction site for added security. It enforces SOP compliance through effective site attendance management not only to ensure the health and safety of your site workers but also to maintain an operational construction site by limiting the risk of closure due to positive COVID cases.
It is a cutting-edge mobile internet solution with built-in facial recognition and a body temperature screening system to ensure workers are fit for work. Its site attendance module records workers’ attendance as well as clocked-in hours automatically for accurate payroll computation.
3. Automate site activity monitoring
Apart from construction safety hazards and accident prevention, AI can also support operators of heavy and mobile machinery at construction sites. With AI, your contractors can track, and classify anything that goes in and out of the job site whether they be vehicles, equipment, or people.
Your project managers and contractors can use this data to provide alerts and notifications to trigger rapid responses. This is crucial to monitoring cost and materials and ensuring employee productivity. Data collected from the job site can be accessed by your stakeholders for real-time updates.
4. Eliminate tedious tasks by integrating AI into your project management workflow
From RFPs to specifications to logs and daily reports, an almost daily stream of information is generated throughout the lifecycle of a construction project. Project managers and contractors are typically required to read through hundreds of documents and absorb every bit of information page-by-page. Sometimes, it takes a long time to digest and comprehend all the information in order to act.
AI solutions are particularly suited for streamlining these types of workflows in the construction industry by collecting, analysing, and summarising data, allowing project managers to quickly understand the information and make appropriate decisions.
Repetitive, manual reporting tasks can be automated, reducing the time spent on mundane but necessary administration. Contractors can reallocate the freed-up man hours to other jobs that contribute to faster project completion.
ContractX Collaborative Platform streamlines time-consuming tasks via digitalisation and online collaboration. Construction information like real-time accurate project work details are stored online in the cloud and no manual submission of physical documents is needed. This enables easy and convenient access to information as well as automatic data recovery anytime, anywhere.
The promise of AI in construction
From instant body temperature screening to intelligent image recognition technology that monitors construction sites and trains itself to detect unsafe worker behavior, the benefits that AI can provide are still in their infancy. There is so much more potential to the use of AI technologies and we are excite to explore new opportunities with you.
In fact, the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company dubbed artificial intelligence “construction technology’s next frontier,” predicting that it will play a larger role in digital construction technology.
That means if you want to succeed in the sector, you have to quickly come to terms with how AI in construction will impact the industry and your company.
Visit our website to learn how our AI-powered ContractX can help the construction industry improve overall efficiency and productivity.
Resources and Further Reading
Artificial Intelligence In Building And Construction
How artificial intelligence will change the construction sector
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY
What is the potential for AI in construction?