Using artificial intelligence (AI) to apply machine learning to planning and constructing buildings is still a theoretical proposition for many AEC firms. But in recent years, as data storage and computational power have expanded, more firms are willing to engage AI as a practical analytics tool. Their ultimate goal for using this platform seems clear: to generate predictive data that provides early hints about future trends and behaviors on everything from interior designs to jobsite safety. For example, co-working real estate giant WeWork is using AI-driven machine learning to forecast how prospective occupants might use co-working and shared spaces, and to assist its design partners in making more optimal choices. These analyses draw data from the company's 200-plus locations worldwide.
AI can help contractors track progress, spot dangerous behaviors and prevent accidents. AI will one day completely transform the jobsite -- construction equipment will leverage machine learning to become more and more adept at performing complex tasks autonomously. In the meantime, though, here are three ways AI is changing construction now, at least for large contractors with deep pockets. Nothing throws off a schedule like a construction deficiency that's discovered when the work is almost completed. AI systems can help contractors keep a closer eye on all parts of a project throughout the construction process so they can make any necessary corrections right away.
Designing a building, developing a constructible model from a design or working out how to go about constructing a complicated model are all tasks that already contain some degree of automation. So when researchers and others in the architectural, engineering and construction world start talking about bringing artificial intelligence into the mix, many say it's already here. But recent advances in generative design, safety analysis and 5D scheduling are only the first hints of what sophisticated algorithms and deep-learning AI can bring to construction. Getting smart algorithms and other AI-derived technologies onto the project team may not be as far-fetched an idea as it once was. But rather than having a computer that takes over the existing job duties of an architect or engineer, those professions may soon have some form of AI-based assistant offering options and providing clarifications all along the way.
The potential applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in construction are vast, and for early adopters, these technologies are already helping to make jobsites safer, more efficient and more productive. Requests for information, open issues and change orders are standard in the construction industry. Machine learning is like a smart assistant that can scrutinize this mountain of data, learn from it and then alert project managers about the critical items that need their attention. This type of AI is also being used to track the real-time interactions of workers, machinery and objects on the jobsite and alert supervisors of potential safety issues, construction errors and productivity issues. What are some of the top benefits of using AI and machine learning in the construction industry?
More people die in construction than in any other industry, and the number one cause of death on a job site is falling. Autodesk's latest addition to its BIM 360 suite of artificial intelligence (AI) enabled industry tools – Construction IQ – aims to reduce these tragic occurrences. It does this by predicting when falls are likely to happen – as well as any other danger to life, limb, or even just quality of work. Autodesk's data scientists hit upon the solution while looking for applications where the massive amount of data collected on modern-day construction sites could be put to use, thanks to the industry's enthusiastic adoption of mobile tools and sensing devices. "Imagine being a construction manager and having to contend with the fact that every X number of months, someone's going to die on the job – it's unfathomable to most of us in white collar jobs," says Pat Keaney, Autodesk's lead on the Construction IQ project.