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Artificial intelligence (AI) has impacted all sectors, including the construction sector. From building to planning to designing, artificial intelligence is making the process of building more efficient across the board.

But what exactly is artificial intelligence? It is defined as a machine that shows its own intelligence by solving problems with algorithms and input data. This can be harnessed for both information collection and organization, as well as basic routine tasks, like bricklaying.

Taking a look at this impact in more detail, and what it means for the future of our residential properties, building design software supplier Oasys investigates four key areas within the construction industry:

Planning Stages
Construction planning and design can both greatly benefit from artificial intelligence. Autonomous equipment is considered as AI, as it is aware of its surroundings and is capable of navigation without human input. In the planning stages, AI machinery can survey a proposed construction site and gather enough information to create 3D maps, blueprints, and construction plans.

A process that would once take weeks can now be accomplished in a single day. This helps to save firms both time and money in the form of labor.

Administration and Office
Artificial intelligence can be utilized to plan and assign tasks to workers. For example, workers can input sick days, vacancies, and sudden departures into a data system and it will adapt the project accordingly. The AI will understand that the task must be moved to another employee and will do so on its own accord.

Construction Stages
The databases can also be consulted for advice on how best to proceed with a project. For example, if engineers were working on a proposed new bridge, AI systems would be able to advise and present a case for how the bridge should be constructed. This is based on past projects over the last 50 years, as well as verifying pre-existing blueprints for the design and implementation stages of the project. By having this information on hand, engineers can make crucial decisions based on evidence that they may not have previously had at their disposal.

How else are robotics providing assistance on the work site itself? The development of autonomous site machinery allows a driver to be outside of the vehicle when it is operating at dangerous heights. Using sensors and GPS, the vehicle can calculate the safest route.

Post–Construction Stages
After the project has completed its construction stage, AI systems still find use within the building’s structure. In the U.S. alone, $1.5 billion was invested in 2016 by companies looking to capitalize on this growing market.

It’s quite common now for a home to have an Amazon Echo, or ‘Alexa’. These systems allow homeowners to control aspects of their home through voice commands and systems that control all electronic components from one device.

Building Information Modeling, and Virtual Assistants
BIM, or building information modeling, is used to capture informative, historical information on a building's construction and use. This means that it can track any decisions that were made, and why, during construction for future reference.

The information stored by BIM can then be accessed and presented by a virtual assistant, known as VAs. By combining VAs alongside NFC (near-field communication), VAs can be given additional information to the building itself in real-time from various sensors in the building. For example, if there were structural problems with a building, then VAs could inform engineers specifically where the problem was and how it can be fixed.

By working alongside and supporting engineers, virtual assistants and artificial intelligence can be utilized to save the sector time and money via labor costs. AI can also replace redundant labor to allow the industry to make efficiency savings that weren’t possible before this type of technology existed. As the future of AI becomes more of a reality within construction, only time will tell how reliant upon intelligent machines we will have to be in order to construct innovative building designs.