The Emerging Role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Construction
Updated: May 1
By: Kenneth Harms, Sr. Vice President of Signet Testing Laboratories, Inc.
Historically, the construction industry has lagged behind the rest of the world when it comes to technology. Having been in the business for more than 35 years, I have witnessed how slowly we have embraced new tools. It is helpful to remember that the Empire State Building was built in the 1930s over 13 ½ months! Could that be achieved today? Not likely. However, the last 20 years have seen our industry adopt new tools and technology at a much faster rate including BIM, laser scanning, Lean Principles, progressive design-build, 3D printing, and more. Enter Artificial Intelligence of AI.
AI is revolutionizing many industries, and the construction sector is no exception. Traditionally considered a labor-intensive industry, construction is now leveraging the power of AI to streamline processes, improve safety, and enhance overall efficiency. The emerging use of AI in construction is transforming the way projects are designed, planned, and executed, leading to increased productivity and cost savings.
One of the key areas where AI is making significant strides in construction is in the design phase. AI-powered design tools can analyze vast amounts of data, such as building codes, project specifications, and material properties, to generate optimized designs. This allows architects and engineers to create more efficient and sustainable structures with reduced material waste and energy consumption. AI can also simulate and analyze different scenarios to identify potential issues and suggest solutions, helping to prevent costly mistakes and delays during construction.
AI is also being utilized in project management and scheduling. Construction projects involve multiple stakeholders, complex timelines, and tight deadlines. AI-powered project management tools can analyze data from various sources, such as weather conditions, resource availability, and labor productivity, to create optimized schedules and allocate resources efficiently. This helps to minimize delays and ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.
Safety is another critical aspect of construction, and AI is being utilized to enhance job site safety. AI-powered systems can analyze data from wearable devices, drones, and cameras to identify potential hazards and provide real-time alerts to workers. This helps to prevent accidents and injuries, improving overall job site safety.
In addition, AI is being used for quality control and inspection. AI-powered drones and robots, managed by certified field inspectors, can perform inspections of construction sites, bridges, and other structures with high precision, identifying defects and anomalies that may not be visible to the naked eye. This allows for early detection and timely rectification of issues, ensuring that construction meets quality standards.
However, the adoption of AI in construction also raises concerns about potential job displacement and ethical considerations, such as data privacy and security. It is crucial to strike a balance between leveraging the benefits of AI and addressing these concerns to ensure responsible and ethical use of the technology.
In conclusion, the emerging use of AI in construction is transforming the industry by improving design, project management, safety, and quality control. AI is enabling construction companies to optimize processes, reduce costs, and enhance productivity. As technology continues to advance, it is expected to play an increasingly prominent role in the construction sector, shaping the future of the industry. However, it is imperative to adopt AI responsibly and address potential ethical concerns to ensure that it is utilized in a way that benefits all stakeholders involved.
About the Author
Senior VP of Business Development and Corporate Strategy, Signet Testing Labs
With over 35 years of experience in the built environment, Ken Harms is seasoned at developing sustainable relationships within the construction industry. His proven record of accomplishment implementing corporate initiatives is in perfect alignment with Signet's long-term strategic expansion plans. Ken is responsible for overseeing Signet's strategic growth initiatives as the company expands into new markets and explores additional service offerings. Additionally, Ken enjoys mentoring the next generation of industry leaders, volunteering, and giving back to the community.