Over the past few decades, labor productivity or total economic output per worker in the construction industry has remained virtually unchanged. The main reason for this is that construction is one of the most undervalued industries and its slow adoption of new technologies. The widespread involvement of artificial intelligence (AI) in this task can help achieve improved efficiency.
According to the McKinsey report, any construction company that uses AI-powered algorithms for its projects will have a competitive edge over its rivals. From construction to planning and design, artificial intelligence makes the construction process more efficient across the board. The main areas of AI application in the construction industry are as follows:
The construction industry and construction sites are the most traumatic. OSHA reports that one in five deaths among U.S. workers is in the construction industry. The analysis of constructions can help workers avoid hazardous situations such as falls, electric shocks, etc.
Through deep learning, the construction sector can identify unsafe work areas and environments. AI sensors can monitor the condition of the equipment (engine, temperature, etc.) and the entire job site.
For example, a Boston-based construction technology company implemented an algorithm that scans job site photos for safety hazards. The system computes risk ratings and reduces further deaths and serious injuries. BAM Ireland has already improved the quality and safety on-site by 20% through the automatic determination of the quality level and security risks.
Reducing Time and Costs
At all stages of planning, AI algorithms like the ones InData Labs develops can analyze the construction site and collect huge data. Work that used to take months can now be completed in a few hours. This will save a lot of time and money in the form of labor.
AI systems can replace humans in performing many tedious tasks. The most common ones include ordering replacement parts, assigning tasks to employees, inputting sick-leave data, checking compliance with regulations, and automatic search for materials.
In addition, AI development has the potential to lower energy consumption and therefore energy costs. If some construction place is not in use, the system can automatically deactivate ventilation or heating to reduce energy costs.
Data Analysis for Monitoring and Accurate Planning
Using previous projects as a reference, AI systems can predict the next construction cycle and schedule. Predictive analytics technology will scrutinize historical data (planned start and project duration) to determine realistic timelines for prospective projects.
The leverage of drones and machine learning algorithms will enable companies to monitor real-time construction operations. These machines assess the readiness of each component of the construction site, reducing the time to make decisions on adjusting the construction plan.
AI implementation will also empower companies to avoid any delays or clashes, such as the ones with utilities. The system will alert potential problems and choose the optimal time to act. In this way, machine learning assists managers in decision-making and allows for the self-correction of plans.
More companies are embedding AI technologies to perform time- and effort-consuming repetitive tasks. AI machinery can replace humans in such operations as welding, bricklaying, pouring concrete, or demolition. In the same way, AI can help machine operators execute mundane tasks in the use of heavy machinery.
If the company decides to perform some operations manually by workers, AI algorithms can assist in monitoring employee performance. Another point is the reliance of construction companies on the off-site building of some construction parts. Autonomous machinery will complete the basic structures for the workers to just assemble them at the construction site.
In procurement, AI helps companies predict the prices of materials, determines the material shortage and the optimal purchase time. It automatically selects the best supplier, orders the items, and verifies the correctness of the invoice. Thus, AI tools boost the human workforce on sites helping workers to focus on more complicated tasks and complete the project on time.
Addressing the Problem of Labor Shortage
Construction companies are starting to use AI to better plan the distribution of labor and equipment between job sites. AI tools allow managers to determine which job sites have a sufficient number of workers and equipment, and which need an additional workforce.
Leveraging AI tools enables the HR department to make more accurate decisions. The system can identify leaders, employees in danger of leaving or predict attrition rates. AI algorithms can also help companies predict turnover, skill or labor shortages, and flaws in organizational design. For example, it can forecast labor shortages for skilled craft or plan hiring to control costs.
All the analyzed data and AI-generated predictions will help companies create optimal plans for projects and engage the required number of qualified personnel.
The above-mentioned benefits prove that AI and machine learning have unlimited potential in the construction industry. From the problem of labor shortages to enhanced efficiency, safety, and quality – AI leverage will drive the industry value and boost the companies’ profitability. Thus, the leaders of construction companies should give priority to the investments in AI in the most conducive for their company areas.