AI poised to revolutionize construction

Tools can reduce time and waste, limiting cost overruns

Artificial Intelligence Poised to Revolutionize Construction
Voyage Control's James Swanston (Getty, Voyage Control)

Artificial intelligence is making its presence felt across the real estate industry. And its presence has extended into construction, as well.

Builders are growing comfortable using drones, cameras, apps and more to improve efficiency at construction sites, the New York Times reported. In a best-case scenario, these tools can reduce project times and waste, which can lead to cost savings.

Artificial intelligence can help map real-time progress on a construction site, giving contractors information needed to track and improve performance. It can detect when builders are deviating slightly from the blueprint and help determine when to bring in new crews or materials.

They aren’t doing the literal construction — not yet, anyways — but the tools can still be utilized to aid contractors.

“It’s a more fundamental thing, getting the data you need and then using it better,” said Voyage Control CEO James Swanston.

Construction typically lags behind other industries in adoption of technological innovations. There are still some hesitant to take advantage of artificial intelligence, however, fearful of the potential for inaccuracies or hallucinations (nonsensical answers).

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The pandemic spurred the construction industry to further dive into technology. Those who are pacing the field in artificial intelligence usage are seeing benefits.

United Kingdom construction consulting firm nPlan said its machine learning system was trained on a database of 740,000 projects. For an $11 billion railroad infrastructure project, artificial intelligence is expected to cut off up to 5 percent of the costs.

Avison Young’s Project Management Services division, meanwhile, says its proprietary software and technology can reduce development time by 20 percent.

Some experts and industry players also pointed to less obvious benefits of artificial intelligence. It can help improve retention as employees get less worn down by the physical labors that can be replaced by technology, while young workers already adept in technology don’t require a long adjustment time to the tools.

Holden Walter-Warner

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