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Emerging Careers in Construction Industry in the Age of AI

Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by Admin

The construction industry, once seen as a field slow to change, is undergoing a technological revolution. This transformation is being driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), causing a significant shift in how construction projects are managed and completed. As a result, several new and exciting career paths are emerging within the industry.

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AI in Construction: An Overview

AI is becoming increasingly essential in the construction industry, touching almost every aspect of the field. Technology is moving fast, affecting areas from design to estimation software, scheduling, predictive analytics, and asset management.

New construction technology companies and startups are shaking up the industry at an exciting pace, bringing data and opportunities for AI across the entire project lifecycle.

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In construction, AI applications focus on data strategy, machine vision, and intelligent document processing.

Data Strategy involves identifying and connecting precious construction data to the company’s core objectives. This enables business leaders to manage data like valuable assets and drives competitive advantage.

Machine Vision is the capability of a computer to visually perceive the environment. It leverages technologies and methods to inspect and analyze visual data, which can be used in inquiries, controls, processes, and other applications reliant on accurate “sight”.

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is an AI-driven approach to automating the categorization of documents, extracting data from records, and creating documents. It turns data from these documents into a structured format for rapid and accurate processing and information retrieval.

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Emerging Careers in AI-Driven Construction

With AI’s growing prominence in construction, several new career paths have emerged. These roles are geared towards leveraging AI technologies to improve the construction industry’s efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness.

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AI Specialists

AI Specialists are responsible for developing and implementing AI technologies within the construction sector. Their roles often involve automating repetitive tasks, generating insights from large volumes of data, predicting outcomes, and optimizing processes.

Machine Vision Engineers

Machine Vision Engineers use computer vision technologies to analyze images and videos from construction sites. This analysis can provide valuable insights into project management, scheduling, health and safety, audit, and compliance, among other areas.

Machine vision engineers play a critical role in maintaining efficient and safe job sites, as their analysis can lead to immediate action if safety or efficiency concerns are detected.

Data Strategists

Data Strategists are responsible for identifying valuable data and developing strategies to leverage this data in fulfilling the company’s objectives. With AI, opportunities emerge in every phase of a construction project – from design management to preconstruction, construction, resource and equipment management, operations, scheduling and staffing, health and safety compliance, and project retrospectives. The role of a data strategist is to harness these opportunities and drive the company’s competitive advantage.

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) Specialists

IDP Specialists focus on automating the categorization of documents, extracting data from documents, and creating documents. This process can transform unstructured data into a structured format for rapid, accurate processing and information retrieval.

In the construction industry, IDP can be used to organize and retrieve project documents efficiently, improving overall project management and productivity.

While AI is transforming the construction industry and creating new career opportunities, we must also consider the impact of this technology on existing roles. Professionals in the construction industry need to adapt and upskill to meet the demands of these changes. AI can also serve as a tool for construction professionals, providing more accurate cost estimations and safer worksites, leading to more contracts and higher profit margins.

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These are just a few examples of exciting career opportunities in the construction industry as AI grows and evolves. As technology progresses, we can expect to see even more opportunities for professionals who can leverage AI to improve the construction industry.

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Applications of AI in Construction

Data Strategy

AI’s application in the construction industry begins with a solid data strategy, essential for identifying valuable data and linking it to the company’s core objectives. This process helps organizations manage their data as valuable assets, driving competitive advantage. AI uses this data to optimize processes across the project lifecycle, from design management to preconstruction, prefabrication, resource and equipment management, operations, scheduling, and health and safety compliance.

Machine Vision

Machine vision, the capability of a computer to perceive the environment visually, is another critical application of AI in construction. By analyzing vast amounts of visual data, machine vision can detect and track objects and activities in real-time and retrospective capacities. This technology is used for project management, scheduling, health and safety, audit, and compliance, among other applications. For example, Synaptiq has developed a machine vision solution that tracks movement on a construction site, alerts personnel when a shipment arrives, and warns supervisors when a worker isn’t wearing personal protective equipment.

Intelligent Document Processing

Intelligent document processing (IDP) is an AI-driven approach to automate the categorization of documents, extraction of data from documents, and document creation. IDP is used to turn unstructured data into a structured format for quick and accurate processing and information retrieval, with significant potential for applications across the construction industry.

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Real-World Examples

Innovative tools like OpenSpace, which uses AI to automate job site surveillance and generate large amounts of image data, are being adopted by industry leaders. OpenSpace connects to any camera and allows construction workers to walk around the job site, generating thousands of images for analysis for efficiency and work site safety.

Similarly, INDUS.AI (Acquired by Procore Technologies) provides AI-powered solutions for analyzing visual data like images and videos into actionable insights, making construction sites efficient, cost-effective, and safe for workers.

AI’s role in construction extends beyond these examples. It’s being used for automating repetitive tasks, improving workplace safety, keeping a secure watch on construction facilities, optimizing work schedules, preventing delays, conflicts, and other issues on both the staff and project levels, and much more.

AI, particularly machine learning, excels at finding patterns and outliers in data, helping organizations spot and catch potential issues faster than humans.

AI can run through what-if scenarios and contingency planning. It can extrapolate from data to predict what might happen if a permit is delayed or an incident occurs, ensuring plans are in place to deal with unexpected situations.

Autonomous vehicles, drones, and robotic construction workers are also used on construction sites. Drones are used for surveying and taking overhead images of construction sites, providing a comprehensive view of the site through various project stages. Robots help with tasks such as bricklaying, pouring concrete, or installing drywall, augmenting the human workforce on sites to help with labor costs and keep the project on time.

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Safety and Security Applications

AI is also improving safety on construction sites. Modern machines and equipment are equipped with various sensors that monitor conditions relevant to the construction, such as temperature and engine conditions. These sensor tools, combined with AI, intelligently monitor construction sites, analyze data in real-time, and predict with a high degree of certainty problems, delays, or malfunctions that might occur. This predictive maintenance can help prevent costly delays and downtime.

Construction sites have cameras, IoT devices, and sensors that monitor construction operations. AI-enabled systems, with facial recognition and object recognition technology, can detect unsafe behavior and alert the construction team of potential hazards. This not only reduces liability but can also save lives and increase efficiency.

Moreover, AI-enabled surveillance systems are being used to provide an additional layer of security. With so much expensive equipment and machinery at construction sites, they can be potential hotbeds for theft. AI automatically monitors security footage to spot suspicious activity, sending out alerts if anyone attempts to steal something from the site.

Recommended AI Courses:

  1. AI Foundations for Everyone by Johns Hopkins University is an excellent starting point to understand the basics of AI.
  2. The Machine Learning Specialization by Duke University, Princeton University & Stanford University focuses on the application of machine learning, a significant component of AI.
  3. Mind and Machine by Duke University & Stanford University explores the intersection of AI and cognitive science.
  4. IBM Data Engineering by Johns Hopkins University is designed for those interested in the data handling aspects of AI.
  5. Artificial Intelligence Nanodegree offers a comprehensive curriculum covering various aspects of AI.
  6. Supply Chain Analytics by Duke University & University of Pennsylvania is useful for those interested in applying AI to supply chain management.
  7. AI, Business & the Future of Work by Lund University offers insights into the role of AI in shaping the future of businesses.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the construction industry is undergoing a remarkable transformation in the age of AI. The emergence of new careers reflects the sector’s willingness to embrace technology and its potential to drive efficiency, safety, and innovation. As we’ve explored, roles like AI specialists, data strategists, machine vision engineers, and intelligent document processors are becoming increasingly vital. At the same time, AI-driven tools such as OpenSpace and Indus.ai are reshaping traditional job roles, fostering a more data-driven, predictive approach to construction.

But it’s essential to remember that these technologies and roles don’t exist in isolation. The real magic happens when they collaborate, leveraging AI to enhance human skills, rather than replace them. Whether improving scheduling, boosting safety, or enhancing security, AI is augmenting human capabilities and making construction a more innovative, productive, and safe workplace.

Moreover, as AI matures, we can expect even more roles to emerge, further disrupting the industry. Aspiring professionals would do well to cultivate a deep understanding of AI and its applications in construction, as these skills will be in high demand in the coming years. Indeed, the construction industry’s future looks bright, and AI will be at the heart of this exciting journey.

This is not the end, but the beginning of a new era in construction. So, whether you’re just starting your career in construction or looking to make a change, consider the roles we’ve discussed. You might find yourself at the forefront of the industry’s digital transformation, pioneering the use of AI in construction and shaping the sector’s future.

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FAQs

What is the role of AI in the construction industry?

AI is playing an increasingly important role in the construction industry, impacting all areas of the field. It is used in various applications, including automating repetitive tasks, generating insights from large volumes of data, predicting outcomes, and optimizing processes. Some applications include improving project scheduling, enhancing workplace safety, autonomous vehicles for different construction tasks, and using machine vision for surveillance and hazard detection.

What new careers are emerging in the construction industry due to AI?

The advent of AI in construction has led to the emergence of several new roles. These include AI specialists who develop and implement AI solutions, data analysts who interpret the vast amounts of data generated, and robotics technicians who maintain and repair the autonomous machines used on construction sites. Other roles, like construction managers and safety inspectors, are also evolving to incorporate the use of

What skills are required for these new careers in the construction industry?

The new careers emerging in the construction industry due to AI require a combination of technical and industry-specific skills. Technical skills include programming, data analysis, machine learning, and robotics. Industry-specific skills include knowledge of construction processes, safety regulations, and project management. Additionally, soft skills like problem-solving, adaptability, and communication are also essential as these roles often involve collaborating with different teams and stakeholders.

How can I prepare for a career in the construction industry in the age of AI?

Preparing for a career in the construction industry in the age of AI involves gaining both construction industry knowledge and AI technical skills. This can be achieved through formal education, such as degree programs in civil engineering or construction management coupled with courses in computer science or AI. Practical experience through internships or on-the-job training can also provide valuable exposure to real-world applications of AI in construction. Staying updated with the latest AI trends in construction and participating in related workshops and seminars could also be beneficial.

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