03 November 2023


Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Smart Construction

The global construction industry is a vital economic sector, contributing approximately 13% to the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP). With an estimated Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 11%, the construction industry is poised for substantial growth. It is expected to expand from $8.2 trillion in 2022 to a staggering $17 trillion by 2029. This remarkable growth in the construction industry is fuelled by various factors, including government initiatives, lower interest rates, the increasing demand for renewable energy, public-private partnerships, and the integration of new-age technology.

On the other side of the globe, India's construction sector, the second-largest employer in the country, is projected to reach a monumental $1.4 trillion by 2025, positioning itself as the third-largest construction market globally. This anticipated surge in India's construction industry is primarily attributed to urbanization, robust public-private partnerships, and substantial investments.

Despite its central role in global infrastructure development, the construction industry faces a myriad of pressing challenges. These include labour shortages, cost overruns, project delays, safety risks, and design inefficiencies. To overcome these challenges and steer the industry toward a more efficient and prosperous future, it is imperative to adopt technology and innovative approaches.

One of the most promising technologies that has the potential to revolutionize the construction industry is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI offers a wide range of capabilities, including machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotic process automation, which can be harnessed to transform various processes within the construction project lifecycle.

AI's Integration Across the Construction Process

Effective integration of AI throughout the construction process can automate systems, enhance competitiveness, and complement Building Information Modelling (BIM) and management systems. This, in turn, has the potential to reshape building design and construction operations, ushering in a new era of efficiency and innovation.

Planning & Designing:

  • Integrating AI at the planning stage of construction projects can augment feasibility studies, identify risks, and generate design alternatives. AI's strengths in thoroughness, precision, and impartiality make it an invaluable asset in this crucial stage.
  • AI can also be used to integrate BIM and machine learning, revolutionizing architectural design by automating repetitive tasks, assisting with precision tasks, and increasing the level of detail in designs.

Procurement Phase:

  • AI can enhance construction procurement efficiency and address supply chain disruptions, contractor reliability, and quality control challenges.
  • It can help in Supplier Selection and Qualification, risk assessment and mitigation, contract negotiation and management, quality control and compliance, and supply chain management.

Construction Phase:

  • AI can accelerate construction and safeguard against risks and hazards using construction robots, automation, wearable technologies, and VR technology.
  • Construction robots and automation can enhance existing equipment and task-specific robots, speeding up construction and reducing human error.
  • Wearable technologies integrated with AI can create an accessible information ecosystem on construction sites, providing workers with context-relevant information in real time.
  • VR technology can assist in design constructability verification, method selection based on space and accessibility, and resource allocation based on availability.

Post-Construction Phase:

  • AI has the potential to significantly improve the post-construction phase of building projects. By automating tasks, improving efficiency, and providing insights, AI can help to reduce costs, improve quality, and enhance customer experience.

AI adoption in the construction industry has been on the rise, with global investment reaching USD 26 billion from 2014 to 2019. However, despite this significant increase in spending on construction technologies, the core construction processes within the industry have remained largely unchanged over the past few decades.

A significant challenge in the construction industry arises from the abundance of unstructured data on construction sites. To harness the full potential of this data, it is crucial to establish standardized data collection and tracking procedures across the organization and throughout the project lifecycle.

The global construction sector has recently begun to embrace research and development in digital technologies. Companies are increasingly recognizing the advantages of these technologies in terms of operational efficiency and productivity. AI has the potential to enhance the accuracy of data analysis, develop more effective strategies, and boost the efficiency and competitiveness of construction companies.

Given the temporary, multi-organizational nature of construction projects, which rely heavily on planning and scheduling models, the construction industry stands to gain more from AI technology integration. It can empower the construction industry to shift towards more evidence-based practices and diminish its reliance on tacit knowledge, ultimately mitigating unforeseen disruptions to project timelines and budgets.

Future Trends in Construction

AI is set to make the entire construction process smarter, more efficient, and cost-effective. There are three trending technologies expected to penetrate the construction market further:

Digital Twins: Digital twins are virtual representations of physical assets, systems, and processes in a controlled environment. They can be used to simulate the behavior of the assets in real time and predict how they will respond to different conditions. Digital twins enhance the capabilities of BIM by seamlessly integrating data and processes, allowing for real-time, two-way information management. Their maximum potential is realized when seamlessly integrated with BIM's workflows and information exchange. The Digital Twin technology market is expected to grow from USD 9.9 Billion in 2021 to USD 60 Billion by 2027.

AI-assisted 3D Printing: 3D printing is revolutionizing the construction industry, enabling better planning, issue detection, and cost savings. 3D printing technology is now applied to large-scale construction projects. Construction companies can create project models, detect issues early, and save time and money with custom parts. AI can help with the customization of 3D designs.

Virtual Reality and Wearables: AI-assisted VR and wearables are transforming the construction industry with benefits like enhanced safety through VR training and wearables monitoring vital signs, increased efficiency by visualizing and planning projects, and reduced costs. Wearable devices in construction offer real-time environmental monitoring, enhancing safety and productivity. They also contribute to emotional well-being, fostering trust, morale, and teamwork between employees and managers.

Wrap Up

AI is a mainstream technology of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 and will continue to find more use cases in the construction industry. While large companies may initially have an advantage due to data needs, smaller ones will also adopt AI for cost and time benefits. AI is a driving force for efficiency, safety, and cost reduction in the construction industry, with its full potential unfolding in the coming years.

This is the summary of the Whitepaper “Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Smart Construction” jointly published by Informa Markets and Tauran Advisors, Thailand at the World of Concrete India 2023. For more detailed use-cases, read the whitepaper at Tauran Advisors’ website:

Click here to read.

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