Embracing Innovation: Artificial Intelligence in A/E/C

November 7, 2023

The construction industry has long been known for its reliance on traditional methods and manual labor. However, with the rapid advancement of technology, we are now seeing a paradigm shift in construction consulting and project management. As experts continue to face challenges in completing projects on time and within budget, the integration of technology like Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming increasingly widespread. Senior Consultant David Carlson weighs in on this hot-button topic that continues to come up at industry events worldwide, dives into the pros and cons of AI in the construction industry and explores the potential impact on construction consultants, delay experts, and project managers.  

AI is revolutionizing construction, offering new possibilities for the A/E/C industry. With AI, construction professionals can enhance their capabilities in areas such as scheduling, cost estimating, delay analysis, and project controls. This innovative technology allows for more accurate predictions, faster decision-making, and improved efficiency. By embracing AI, construction experts can leverage its capabilities to streamline operations, reduce costs, and ultimately deliver projects more effectively. The construction industry is entering a new era of innovation, and AI is at the forefront, transforming the way we approach and execute projects.   

Spire attended a panel on the impacts of artificial intelligence last year. The panel consisted of seasoned construction experts with similar hopes and similar fears regarding the leap in technology. Common concerns included the initial investment required, data privacy concerns, and the need for skilled professionals to implement and manage these technologies, but the biggest fear was that this technology might eventually make some construction roles obsolete.   

“AI is going to help an analyst review, compile, and process data faster. It’s going to make our lives easier,” says Mr. Carlson, “but new technology will not eliminate the need for a human element on these projects.  First you must understand how it works and how to use the tool to your advantage. However, you will need to maintain proper QA/QC protocols to ensure that the information is accurate and reliable.”  

Mr. Carlson compared AI to the introduction of scheduling software. Software like Primavera P6 and MS Projects has not always existed, and when they were introduced, they were met with similar concerns, but today they are seen as helpful, or even crucial to the success of a project while making the life of a project manager easier.  

A key element to embracing AI as a helpful tool is to fully understand the software. As construction professionals, keeping up with technological advancements, it is impossible to know what a tool can do for you without testing it. Providing training and upskilling opportunities can address this challenge and ensure a tech-savvy workforce for the construction industry’s future. By addressing these challenges head-on, the A/E/C industry can unlock the full potential of AI and make way for a more innovative and efficient future.  

The content included in this article is for informational purposes only and does not reflect the opinions or recommendations expressed by any individual unless otherwise stated.

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