Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have been transformative technologies across industries. They have upended redundant processes, increased efficiencies, and reduced errors. In the construction sector, AI & ML have found incredible usability, particularly in engineering design.
The industry is troubled with challenges like cost and time overruns, safety, labor shortages, resource management, carbon targets, etc. But with AI, all these challenges are being tackled effectively.
With the advanced computational capabilities of AI and experiential learning capabilities of Machine Learning algorithms, many complex design processes are being streamlined, allowing companies to reduce the time between the drawing board to actual construction.
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in Engineering Design
AI & ML has made the engineering design process convenient and exceptionally accurate. Specifically, AI & ML have redefined Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing (MEP), and Fire Protection (FP) design processes. These are often hidden from view but are the most important part of construction.
Quicker Design Generation
Artificial intelligence in engineering design is helping generate MEP designs with utmost accuracy. With the help of the technology, MEP engineers are able to develop detailed layouts for their plans with unparalleled accuracy in short periods of time.
The computational capabilities of AI simplify the MEP design process. It can design entire 3D models with zero errors, a task that is not accurate even when multiple design teams work together. Moreover, with AI, designs can be automated for routine projects yet optimized for specific project requirements.
Costs Prediction and Reducing Over Budgeting
An AI & ML tool can design an entire building pinpointing the placements of each MEP equipment and the type of equipment required. The direct MEP layout generated by AI uses fewer materials than conventional methods, significantly decreasing costs. Also, it can predict material costs based on market competency and the project scale.
The predictive models can also determine the project schedule, realize project status, and set realistic deadlines, helping avoid over-budgeting.
Productive Construction Process
With accurate layouts, cost predictions, resource management analysis, scheduling, etc., AI makes building construction as needs-based as possible. Thus, the use of an AI & ML tool will lead to maximizing efficiency and reducing human effort.
AI Tools that Make the Engineering Design Process More Efficient
Many AI tools are being used in the construction industry. But the following two have been particularly impactful with engineering design in construction.
AI-based Business Information Modeling (BIM)
Conceptualizing, designing, and planning are the critical elements of a construction project. Engineers, designers, and architects take long periods to process architectural statistics, design variations, and other parameters to zero upon an efficient and cost-effective design. But AI-based BIM has revolutionized the process and drastically reduced the time to initiate and deliver the design.
AI-powered BIM taps into a database of previously constructed projects and generates alternate designs. It makes numerous permutations based on the established requirements and provides better design options.
The advantage of a BIM is engineers can input far larger sets of parameters than they can handle manually and conduct more permutations to choose the best design. Engineers can input design goals like spatial information, cost limits, materials, etc., to the BIM tool. And thanks to the Machine Learning component, a BIM learns by experience and gets sharper at delivering better designs with each passing project.
Computer Vision AI
Computer Vision AI or CV AI is an advanced AI tool that makes predictions, detects defects, provides insights, classifies objects, and does more based on visual data. It processes images and videos just like the human brain processes visual information. The system can be retrained to include new variables, fresh information, and feedback to make better predictions.
One of the main advantages of a CV AI is it is camera agnostic, meaning you can use any imaging technology to gather visual data, and the tool processes it. Engineers are embedding advanced technologies like drones, 2D and 3D imaging technologies, and robotics to CV AI to deliver precise engineering design.
CV AI-powered robots with 3D cameras capture images in real-time at the construction site. They move autonomously, cross-reference the information gathered with the BIM data, and predict work progress. These robots have been particularly helpful in promoting construction safety and integrity of the structure by identifying errors at the early stage of construction.
The impact of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is felt across industries. Though the adoption of AI technology in the construction sector is slower, it has been transformative so far.
High design accuracy using AI is enabling the construction of safer buildings. AI is helping better route electrical and plumbing systems in buildings. It is making cost-effective design predictions taking into account numerous parameters helping reduce cost and time overruns that plague the construction sector.
So much is the potential of AI in construction, yet only a few companies are using the technology to deliver accurate designs. NY Engineers is one of the few firms that have deployed AI & ML for construction design. With our AI tools, we deliver accurate MEP and FP designs helping our clients save time and reduce costs. The AI & ML technology enabled NY Engineers to deliver zero change orders, 80% first-time approvals, and 50% faster turnaround times.