Artificial Intelligence in Construction

Posted by Compass Group on Jul 24, 2023

Artificial intelligence creating.There is one thing certain as the months go by: artificial intelligence (AI) grows day by day. Modern-day advents like machine learning may enable AI to greatly impact almost every field of work. It has already created a ripple effect across all industries that either incites enthusiasm or great fear within members of said industries. 

The question we now face is how will the construction industry be impacted? Will there be a hostile takeover done by AI or will it be a tool akin to calculators and computers?

The Pros for the Pros

There are many benefits to be found from AI’s inclusion on worksites. According to Mellissa B. Mahle, it can analyze worksite photos taken via drone to identify any possible delays, safety risks, weather warnings, and improve general construction techniques. The general construction technique improvements include things akin to “optimizing cuts into the steel beams to minimize waste.”

According to Joseph A. Cleves, Jr. and Zenus Franklin, there are many more benefits to be found through various AI-enabled models like Building Information Models (BIMs) and smart contracts. A smart contract is computer code that automatically executes all or parts of an agreement and is stored on a blockchain-based platform that automatically enforces its obligations and penalties. All aspects lead to boosts in productivity.

The Cons

Major elements to consider when contemplating the implementation of AI within construction are the all-important worries: risk and liability. AI brings these issues to a head because there isn’t precedent on who to find at fault in the case of an incident. Would you find the construction site at fault, or would you blame the program they used — which, in turn, finds the parent company at fault? This uncertainty has steered many companies clear of widespread AI implementation for now, but as advancements in AI occur, this problem may be mitigated. 

Another worry is AI’s error-prone behavior. Due to the complex data system found within deep learning and machine learning, there have been many errors known to occur due to raw unstructured data being used by complex AI. All data needs to be labeled before AI can properly create models that will accurately represent tests for the real-world application, or else it will simply come out riddled with errors. The struggle with labeling all of that data is complex AI generally requires large amounts of data within its dataset. 

The Takeaways

Artificial intelligence can do great things for us, but what will truly define its role in our field will be our willingness to learn a new medium, maintenance of said medium, and the intentions behind our usage of it.

For more information on how technology can be beneficial to commercial construction, check out our recent blog post on the importance of technology and people in construction. It discusses how people and technology can work together to improve the construction industry.

Photo by Tara Winstead

Topics: construction industry, construction technology