26th July, 2022
The application of AI tech is gathering pace across the board, but what can it offer project management in construction?
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are already here. Over the past two years, real-world implementation has accelerated, and it’s been hugely beneficial for the businesses that took the risk.
We’re not talking about robots and driverless cars, but simple enhancements to day-to-day operations that make a big difference to bottom lines.
Thanks to the recent adoption of data-driven business methods and improvements in computing power, AI now has enough data to be truly effective.
A well-suited AI algorithm will significantly enhance the trajectory of a business in almost any sector.
AI can automate non-routine tasks, facilitate better decision-making and cut costs, all of which combine to deliver impressive ROI and a competitive edge.
In the construction industry, for example, when AI is used to analyse historical data, construction costs can be cut by as much as 10-15 percent.
It eliminates a lot of guesswork in the planning stage. Project managers have traditionally been solely responsible for using resources efficiently, identifying potential risks, managing supply chain costs and factoring for weather delays.
This whirlwind of variables on spreadsheets means even experienced managers can fail to achieve perfect costing, quality requirements and deadlines.
Adding AI changes the game entirely. It uses image recognition algorithms to provide accurate material measurements while inputting optimised algorithms and predicting risks.
Optimised planning can have a profound positive knock-on effect on timelines, budgets and build quality.
The construction industry has historically had a technology lag, but the pandemic changed that. The industry’s fast adoption of AI and machine-learning technology is now setting the standard.
Here’s how construction firms are using the technology.
Project schedule optimisers consider millions of alternatives for project delivery.
In construction, many variables are out of a project manager’s control – weather, worker availability and the supply of materials can change daily and take a toll on projects.
Project schedule optimisers create more precise forecasts and give real-time updates to plans and workers.
Image recognition assesses video data collected on work sites and helps to identify problems or unsafe behaviour.
For example, when managers regularly tour a construction site, they use a camera to capture and upload footage to image recognition software. The AI then creates a digital mock-up of the site for in-depth analysis and comparison.
Site inspections used to be slow and tedious, but with AI technology, workers can spend more time focusing on value-added tasks.
Enhanced analytics platforms highlight any areas of inefficiencies.
The AI collects and analyses data, shows where to cut costs and when to schedule preventative maintenance. It also helps avoid unplanned downtime caused by behind-schedule subcontractors, supply-chain bottlenecks or transport idle times.
3D imaging can visualise measurements and materials to the exact layout, making projects more affordable and accurate. It analyses a range of unstructured data, such as previous design documents and supply costs, to create more cost-efficient plans.
Each project is unique, with its own specific goal and data. Before investing in any tech, it’s important to understand which tasks you can automate and when to collate data to drive insights and improve operations.
In most industries, humans have not been able to predict exactly how much a project will cost and how long it should take.
AI systems can help to keep all projects on track and within budget. They can also take over administrative tasks like reminders, schedules and updates, so that managers can focus on more important issues.
To get started, the most important thing an AI software needs is comprehensive, accurate data. For example, using an enterprise-level business management platform like MYOB Advanced Business to integrate with AI-based software will deliver you more accurate insights for your organisation.
AI is ready to make a significant impact on project management regardless of the industry. With an innovative approach, it has already solved the complex challenges the construction industry faces.
Project management is all about finding the biggest inefficiencies and harnessing data to work smarter. With all the advantages it can bring, it’s time to embrace the power of AI.