This Is How AI Is Changing Construction Today

22 May, 2024
By Waddah Taweel
This Is How AI Is Changing Construction Today

The surge in artificial intelligence (AI) across global industries has evidently not spared the construction sector. With a growing need for digital solutions that streamline operations and enhance efficiency, AI has become a sought-after tool in the transformation of construction practices. This change is particularly seen in regions like Australia, the EU, Canada, and the US, where technological adoption is reshaping how projects are managed and executed. But to what extent will AI impact construction? Here are a few questions to think about regarding the topic.

Construction and AI: How Do They Fit?

In the face of labor shortages and increasing project complexity, AI offers a solution by automating repetitive tasks and providing analytical insights that drive efficiency and decision-making. A recent survey by Hexagon highlighted that 84% of technology leaders in construction firms across North America, the UK, and Australia are integrating autonomous technology to tackle these challenges. With an average planned investment of US$7.1 million in the next three years, these firms are betting big on AI to enhance their operational capabilities.

AI and autonomous technologies are enhancing jobs, not undercutting them
AI and autonomous technologies are enhancing jobs, not undercutting them

Developing Better Workforce through AI

Contrary to the fear that automation and AI might displace jobs, the reality is quite different. AI and autonomous technologies are enhancing jobs, not undercutting them. By automating mundane tasks, workers are free to focus on more complex and skill-based aspects of projects. This shift not only improves job satisfaction but also attracts younger, tech-savvy talent into the industry. Training and upskilling the workforce to leverage these digital tools are becoming a priority, bridging the digital skills gap and preparing employees for a future where digital fluency is a necessity.

AI Will Be the Driving Force of Sustainability in Construction

Sustainability is a priority for construction firms aiming to reduce their carbon footprint, or this is what the findings of COP28 UAE tell us. AI enhances sustainability by improving the accuracy of initial measurements and reducing material waste and energy consumption. For example, automated and digitized processes ensure that resources are used more efficiently, minimizing unnecessary expenditure and environmental impact. According to Hexagon's survey, firms are recognizing these benefits, with increasing investments in technologies that support sustainable practices.

AI, machine learning, and predictive analytics are helping firms anticipate problems and adjust operations dynamically
AI and machine learning help firms anticipate problems and adjust operations dynamically

Mitigating Today's Construction Challenges with AI

AI is proving to be a valuable asset in addressing several pressing industry challenges such as supply chain disruptions, productivity inefficiencies, and stringent environmental regulations. By improving data accuracy and project oversight, AI technologies like machine learning and predictive analytics are helping firms anticipate problems and adjust operations dynamically, which is essential in today's fast-paced construction environments. Here are a few questions people often ask about this topic, which is quite expected due to its controversial, borderline skeptical nature:

How does AI actually enhance project management and safety on construction sites?

AI-powered tools streamline project management by automating scheduling and resource allocation, reducing human errors, and enhancing overall site safety through constant monitoring and predictive analytics.

What are the economic benefits of investing in AI for construction companies?

Firms investing in AI and autonomous technologies report significant returns through increased productivity and reduced operational costs. The initial investment is offset by the long-term savings and increased project turnover rates.

Are construction firms ready to adopt such advanced AI technologies?

With 54% of firms planning to spend between $5 and $15 million on autonomous technologies in the next three years, it's clear that the industry is not just ready but eager to embrace AI as a fundamental aspect of construction operations.

AI is expected to set a new standard for how projects are managed and executed. As firms continue to invest in and adopt these technologies, the landscape of construction will evolve to be more efficient, safe, and sustainable. The integration of AI in construction will help ensure that day-to-day, and big-picture practices are smarter, not harder, paving the way for a tech-driven industry.

Insights Construction