AI for AEC in Practice

city 3d AI model

I gave a presentation titled “AI in practice: the different promising fields for the construction sector” at the High Level Construction Forum of the European Commission on November 23, 2023. Here are my notes and slides for the presentation.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are also on the construction technologists’ agenda. Amazingly, some of the most popular AI tools were launched only last year, and now everybody is either talking about them or using them daily.

Right now, we’re at the top of the AI hype curve. However, we can already see real use cases for AI in the construction sector.

In this brief presentation, I’ll talk about:

  1. What makes AI useful and even transformational
  2. Share with you promising use cases
  3. Discuss issues that we should consider when planning AI implementation

The useful capabilities of AI

What makes AI valuable technology in our industry? Here are five capabilities :

  • PREDICTION – Predict outcomes based on sensor data, human input, schedules, and plans.
  • ANALYSIS – Find patterns and classify text, images, videos, and other content.
  • GENERATION – Generate content – for example, images, text, and code – from prompts and other input.
  • ASSISTANCE – AI agents can answer questions, make recommendations, and suggest next steps.
  • AUTOMATION – Automate business processes, robots, and other machines.

AI for planning and development

In a construction process, we can use AI in planning and development:

  • Develop many alternatives in minutes instead of days. This is useful for both developers and designers.
  • Analyze and optimize against key performance indicators, such as cost, CO2 emissions, noise, and daylight.
  • Speed up decision-making and make it more informed by quickly studying various scenarios

AI for design

For a designer and engineer, AI offers new opportunities:

  • Architects, infrastructure, and interior designers prompt AI to explore novel solutions
  • Designers automate time-consuming routine design tasks, for example, steel joints or technical documentation
  • AI-powered apps design whole buildings with given parameters

AI for construction

Building contractors already use AI-powered tools.

  • Automated quantity takeoffs and cost estimations make the bidding process 80% faster for clients and contractors
  • Simulations allow contractors to optimize the schedule and resource use
  • During construction, contractors manage quality and monitor progress automatically
  • Construction is one of the most dangerous industries. AI helps jobsites become safer by alerting them to eventual safety hazards.

Upcoming solutions

This is just the beginning. Several new applications of AI are currently developed and tested; for example

  • Automated, BIM-based planning permitting process and compliance checking
  • Automated data collection, analysis, and simulation that provide situational awareness of a construction process
  • •Personal agents that perform tasks for you during a workday
  • Autonomous construction equipment

AI will be transformational, but there are many questions to consider

While AI will be transformational in construction, there are things to consider:

  • Experiment but think strategically – Look beyond the hype and prepare your data strategy
  • Prepare for the AI’s impact on copyright, right to data, errors, and so on with contracts and agreements
  • Technology is global; construction is local – make sure the tech solutions serve your local needs
  • Consider privacy and security at all stages
  • AI won’t replace professional skills and judgment; don’t count on AI to solve everything
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