Research + Tech

Study finds construction industry can benefit from AI adoption

A McKinsey & Co. study about artificial intelligence (AI) applications in the construction industry reports a combined use of machines and digital technology can enhance quality control, project scheduling, data analysis and project cost savings, according to

The construction industry currently is the second-least digitized economic sector in the world, and the industry needs to lay the groundwork before AI can be widely adopted. The study identifies investment in data collection and processing tools such as cloud infrastructure and advanced analytics as the first step.

There has been increased interest in sensors, cloud-based data sharing and mobile connectivity within the construction industry. Some employers already are using wearable sensory devices to monitor workers' location and equipment at work sites. Data collected from the devices is transmitted to a cloud-based platform accessible from any compatible mobile device. AI algorithms advance the process one step further by deploying real-time solutions based on data analysis, helping employers ensure their workers stay safe on the job.

Industry employers may look to other industries that have successfully used AI to optimize processes, including the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. The study notes an AI algorithm is used by the pharmaceutical industry to predict medical trial outcomes; a similar algorithm may be used by the construction industry to forecast project risks and constructability. And image recognition algorithms used by the healthcare industry to support diagnoses may enable drones to assess construction site images for signs of defects or structural failures.

Drones approved for project inspections in Spokane, Wash.

The Spokane Public Works Department, Spokane, Wash., approved a plan to use drones to assist in various projects related to water main breaks, construction and landscape analysis, according to

Officials say the plan will save contractors money by decreasing overtime hours and make job sites safer by delegating risky inspections to drones.

"Routine inspections might be able to happen more quickly because we don't have to set up all the protections that we would need to normally," says Public Works Director of Strategic Development Marlene Feist. "Anytime we can have the ability to assess a situation in an unmanned, safer way, that's a good thing for us."

The real-time data and images gathered from drones can help contractors track project progress and identify issues early on, helping to finish a project on time and budget.

One drone, which will cost the city $15,000, is expected to be in use by the end of summer.

International Accreditation Service appoints chairman


The International Accreditation Service (IAS), a member of the International Code Council Family of Companies, has appointed Rocco Davis chairman of its board of directors. The board of directors helps set the strategic direction for IAS as it provides independent verification that businesses, organizations and government entities comply with industry and international standards in more than 40 countries.

Davis has served on the IAS board of directors since 2012, most recently as vice chairman. He is vice president and regional manager of the Pacific Southwest Region of the Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA). Davis previously served as a field representative for the Center for Contract Compliance, a regional coordinator for the National Heavy-Highway Committee and a LIUNA chief of staff.

"With such an extensive history of building and organizing coalitions between community, labor and business, Davis brings a unique background to the IAS board of directors," says Raj Nathan, president of IAS. "He is recognized for his dedication, hard work and devotion to the causes of workers everywhere and has been a valuable member of the board during the past six years. I look forward to working with him closely as we build our customer base, expand our offerings and move into new markets."


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