Artificial intelligence is improving the way we design and build, creating endless opportunities for us to discover. Artificial intelligence is where machines exhibit their own intelligence through using algorithms to solve problems using inputted data. By harnessing robotics, construction managers can utilise intelligent machines that can perform routine tasks that were once completed by humans, such as bricklaying. Alternatively, AI systems can collate and organise information for engineers to use within project planning and design implementation.
Together with Oasys, we assess the way the construction industry is starting to use AI in order to complete projects that contain fewer errors, less omissions, safer working practices, improved workflows and more on-time worksite completions.
Four factors of construction AI
We look at the four different areas of AI when it comes to the construction industry with Oasys, specialists in building design software:
The starting stage
From the first stages of construction, AI is there to support the planning. Autonomous equipment is considered as AI as it is aware of its surroundings and is capable of navigation without human input. In the planning stages, AI machinery can survey a proposed construction site and gather enough information to create 3D maps, blueprints and construction plans.
Without the help of artificial intelligence, this is a task that would usually take weeks, but now, it can be achieved within one day. This helps to save firms both time and money in the form of labour.
Controlling the project is important and helps keep everything in the right place – AI is now being used to do this. For example, workers can input sick days, vacancies and sudden departures into a data system and it will adapt the project accordingly. The AI will understand that the task must be moved to another employee and will do so on its own accord.
Databases that have an artificial intelligence focus are helping to direct engineers on how projects they are working on need to be done. For example, if engineers were working on a proposed new bridge, AI systems would be able to advise and present a case for how the bridge should be constructed. This is based on past projects over the last 50 years, as well as verifying pre-existing blueprints for the design and implementation stages of the project. By having this information to hand, engineers can make crucial decisions based on evidence that they may not have previously had at their disposal.
When the construction industry builds tall structures, autonomous machinery is being developed to help drivers remain out of the vehicle whilst it’s working at substantial heights. Using sensors and GPS, the vehicle can calculate the safest route.
Whether the structure was made for commercial reasons or for homes, AI can be implemented inside too. In the US alone, $1.5 billion was invested in 2016 by companies looking to capitalise on this growing market.
Las Vegas hotel Wynn has said that by the end of this year they will have an Amazon Echo in every room within their hotel. These devices can be used for aspects of the room such as lighting, temperature and any audio-visual equipment contained in the room. These systems can also be used within domestic settings, allowing homeowners to control aspects of their home through voice commands and systems that control all electronic components from one device.
Keeping information about structures and how they were built are important and a BIM (Building Information Modelling) can help you achieve this. It allows you to look back on management decisions and much more.
A conversation can be started by virtual assistants, also known as VAs, as well as providing the information that you need. By combining VAs alongside NFC (near-field communication), VAs can be given additional information to the building itself in real-time from various sensors in the building. For example, if there were structural problems with a building, then VAs could inform engineers specifically where the problem was and how it can be fixed.
The use of engineers, AIs and VAs can help save the construction industry a lot of time when it comes to the expected amount of work. As the future of AI becomes more of a reality within construction, only time will tell how reliant upon intelligent machines we will have to be in order to construct innovative building designs.