How AI is Changing the Construction Industry

With routine development of advanced technology, the construction industry remains well-poised to reap the benefits from the likes of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

Compared to other markets, AI remains a marginally small factor in the under-digitized construction industry. However, the presence of fast-growing technology sets AI on track to have a much greater impact in the future.

According to a 2017 McKinsey report, AI has a place in nearly every construction phase, from design through post-construction and every minuscule task in between.

AI is suited to overtake four major components of construction: planning or design via simulation of maps, construction plans, and blueprints; administration, where AI is adept to manage and control tasks in a streamlined fashion; construction methodology, done by providing a basis and guide for construction; and post-construction, where AI can be implemented into completed structures.

However, the primary concern for AI is industry takeover, a theory that construction workers will be replaced by computers created to perform the same tasks with arguably more accuracy and less human error.

While there’s no denying the benefits of AI and robotics in construction, there are certainly a number of associated risks.

Other industries, such as fast-food, finance, and grocery stores have already seen a reduction in workforce numbers because of advances in computer technology. What’s more, talk of AI taking on industries such as health care and transportation have become less-farfetched as these ideas inch ever-closer to becoming reality.

And, while the thought of perfecting processes and systems sounds appealing, the idea of the world we live in being inundated by AI that is unable to deliver the human touch or incapable of accommodating anomalous circumstances, due to a lack of breadth in data, is not.

By defaulting all responsibilities to an artificial system, we ultimately run the risk of putting complete—and excessive—trust into a system only as good as the inputted data, losing human compassion and judgment, and displacing workers.

No matter the consensus on AI in construction, there’s no doubt that it’s here to stay.


A Guide to LEED Certifications

LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a credit-based, green building certification program that indicates how environmentally conscious and conservative a building is. Established by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) in the early 1990s, LEED had since undergone several drastic upgrades, the newest version being the LEED v4 rating system.

At minimum, a building needs only 40 points to become LEED certified, but the more points earned, the more prestigious the certification. LEED certified is the base certification, followed by LEED Silver, LEED Gold, and LEED Platinum certified.

Buildings can become LEED certified if several energy and environmentally friendly actions are taken during construction. Homes, schools, healthcare facilities, and retail stores all have the potential to become LEED certified, but don’t necessarily have to meet the same requirements as one another.

Actions like optimizing energy performance, having good construction waste management practices, and maximizing open spaces during site development earn a building points that have potential to eventually add up to be a LEED certification.

So, the question remains: Why should building owners seek LEED certification?

With principles like green engineering gaining popularity amidst worldwide pollution and climate change concerns, it’d certainly benefit companies to be recognized as a leader in sustainable energy. While companies themselves cannot be LEED certified, the buildings they operate out of can be, setting a standard for others and serving as an example of environmental efficiency in their communities.


The Worldwide Race for Supertall Skyscrapers

2020 will be a historic year for the supertall skyscraper trend when, after years of construction, Jeddah Tower opens in Saudi Arabia. At a staggering 3,280 feet tall, Jeddah Tower will dethrone the Burj Khalifa as the tallest skyscraper in the world, a tall order in a desert wasteland.

While Jeddah Tower will stand hundreds, even thousands of feet above other skyscrapers around the world, the competition does not go unappreciated and overlooked, even in an ever-growing world of supertall and megatall skyscrapers.

So what’s got all of these new buildings fumbling for the clouds? Well, skyscrapers are nothing new. The world’s first skyscraper was built in 1885, standing a mere ten stories above ground: a tremendous feat for that time, but measly to people who are used to seeing 1,000+ foot towers in the sky.

Supertall skyscrapers, on the other hand, didn’t come into business until decades later when the Empire State Building (1,250 feet tall) was constructed. From then on, the rise of supertall skyscrapers commenced and couldn’t be stopped even to this day. While supertall constructions nowadays seems like an endless height contest, they are mainly built to preserve ground space.

Places like China, New York City, and the United Arab Emirates are practically covered with skyscrapers, sporting over 150 per location—and those numbers are only projected to grow. New York City alone has proposed over ten new supertall skyscrapers to be built in the upcoming years, proving that the supertall movement will not phase out any time soon.