Navigating New Frontiers: The Role of AI in Advanced Construction Techniques

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Bhushan Nankar

The construction industry is undergoing a revolutionary change with the introduction of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

A rapidly growing field it brings together data science, machine learning, and advanced analytics to enhance various aspects of the construction process.

AI is paving the way for a brighter, more efficient, and safer construction industry, from automated design and planning to predictive maintenance and safety management.

This transformation involves adopting new technologies and completely overhauling how buildings are conceptualized, designed, and constructed.

While some believe AI is still at the theoretical stage, it has already been used with great success in multiple construction projects.

The new build of Terminal 2 at San Francisco International Airport utilized AI to reduce design errors and improve collaboration among various teams, leading to a more efficient construction process.

Similarly, in Las Vegas, the construction of the MSG Sphere, a state-of-the-art entertainment venue, incorporated AI into the design and construction process, ensuring the project stays on schedule and within budget.

Bhushan Nankar is an expert in Mass Timber Construction, a Project Manager at Kinsol Timber Systems Inc., and a follower of new technological advancements in other industries. He believes that AI developments open new possibilities for groundbreaking advancements in construction technology, such as transforming the interpretation of 2D drawings into a spatial context.

“AI offers a path to not only incremental improvements but a complete transformation of how we build,” says Nankar.

“It would be highly regrettable if the construction sector missed this crucial opportunity to evolve into a more efficient, sustainable, and technologically sophisticated field through the adoption of AI. The immense potential of AI to enhance project results and minimize risks is undeniable. However, tapping into this potential demands a change in attitude and an openness to embracing innovation throughout every industry layer.”

“To embrace this change, the construction industry will need to make a cultural shift, one that recognizes AI’s immense potential to lead us into a new era of advanced construction techniques.”

Here, Nankar discusses the impact AI can have in construction and its ability to revolutionize the building industry.

Enhancing Design and Planning

One of the most significant impacts of AI in construction is in design and planning. AI algorithms can process vast amounts of data to provide insights that would be impossible for humans to compute in a reasonable timeframe. This capability enables architects and engineers to explore a broader range of design alternatives and optimize them for various factors, including cost, time, sustainability, and compliance with regulations.

For example, generative design, powered by AI, is a game-changing technology that allows designers to input design goals along with parameters such as materials, budget, and space constraints and then generates numerous design options. This speeds up the design process and leads to more innovative and efficient solutions.

Optimizing Supply Chain and Logistics

The construction industry often faces supply chain management challenges, such as material delivery delays or cost overruns. AI can significantly improve supply chain efficiency by predicting material requirements, optimizing delivery schedules, and reducing wastage. This optimization saves time and money and contributes to more sustainable construction practices by minimizing the carbon footprint associated with material transportation and storage.

Improving On-Site Efficiency and Safety

AI is also transforming on-site construction practices. With the help of AI-driven robots and drones, construction sites are becoming safer and more efficient. These technologies can perform tasks ranging from surveying and inspection to construction work, such as bricklaying and concrete pouring, precisely and quickly.

Moreover, AI can greatly enhance job site safety. AI can identify potential safety hazards and alert managers before accidents by analyzing data from various sources, including cameras and sensors on the site. This proactive approach to safety can significantly reduce the incidence of injuries and fatalities on construction sites.

Predictive Maintenance and Building Management

Another area where AI is making a significant impact is in the maintenance and management of buildings. Using data from sensors and IoT devices, AI can predict when a building component needs maintenance before it fails. This predictive maintenance approach saves time and money and ensures that buildings operate optimally.

Challenges and Considerations

Despite its potential, integrating AI into construction comes with challenges. One of the primary concerns is the cost of implementing AI technologies, which can be prohibitive, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises.

There is also a need for skilled professionals who can understand and operate AI technologies, which means that education and training are crucial for successfully adopting AI in the industry.

There are also concerns about job displacement due to automation. While AI can perform specific tasks more efficiently than humans, viewing these technologies as tools that augment human capabilities rather than replace them is essential.

The Future of Construction with AI

Looking ahead, AI’s role in construction is only set to grow. As the technology matures and becomes more accessible, we expect widespread adoption across the industry. This will lead to more efficient and safer construction practices and open up new possibilities regarding what can be built.

Embracing the AI Revolution

The integration of AI into construction represents a significant shift in the industry. While challenges remain, the potential benefits of efficiency, safety, and sustainability are too great to ignore. As the industry navigates these new frontiers, the role of AI will be crucial in shaping the future of construction.

About Bhushan Nankar

 Bhushan Nankar is a distinguished Project Manager at Kinsol Timber Systems Inc., Davis, CA, known for his expertise in mass timber construction within the construction management sector. His career is decorated with substantial contributions and innovations in this specialized area.

His academic achievements are equally remarkable. Bhushan completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Civil Engineering in June 2017 with an outstanding GPA of 3.85/4.0, earning a Tuition Fee Waiver due to his academic excellence. Furthering his education, he attained a Master’s in Construction Management in May 2020, graduating with a GPA of 3.86/4.0 and receiving the Albert A. White Scholarship in recognition of his scholarly achievements.

In his professional journey, Bhushan has showcased his versatility and depth of knowledge through various key roles. As a Project Controls Engineer II at AvalonBay Communities, Inc, San Jose, California, he skillfully managed multiple projects, promoting the integration of Mass Timber in sustainable development practices. His tenure at Timberlab in Portland, Oregon, enhanced his skills in estimating and financial analysis for construction projects.

A notable highlight of his career was at Swinerton Builders, which is also in Portland, where, as a Project Engineer, he managed a significant $10 million Mass Timber project, utilizing innovative technologies like Dusty Robotics and OpenSpace for effective building and progress monitoring.

Bhushan has also made significant academic contributions as a Graduate Research Assistant at Michigan State University, where he developed a cost prediction tool for Mass Timber Gravity Frame Construction, contributing valuable insights to the AEC industry.

In addition to his professional and academic pursuits, Bhushan actively engages with the construction community. He imparts his knowledge through guest lectures at Michigan State University. He is a proud member of the Sigma Lambda Chi International Honor Society for Construction, recognizing his academic prowess in construction management.

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