Home » CIOB publishes AI playbook for construction

CIOB publishes AI playbook for construction

by Mark Cantrell
The corporate melodrama surrounding OpenAI chief Sam Altman's sacking and reinstatement seems far removed from the earthly concerns of the built environment, but it doubtless serves as a cautionary tale

The Chartered Institute of Building’s (CIOB) Digital and Innovation Advisory Panel has published a new playbook on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the construction industry.

CIOB says the document has been written for built environment organisations of all sizes seeking to get to grips with AI technology, and understand how to get the best from it.

It includes ways to evaluate the technology’s effectiveness, while also considering matters such as ethics, cyber security and data protection. There is also a checklist to support new entrants, early adopters, and experienced AI practitioners in making decisions about their use of the technology.

David Philp, chair of CIOB’s Digital and Innovation Advisory Panel, and one of the playbook’s authors, said: “Forms of AI are now prevalent in all walks of life and business, and the construction industry is in the age of AI, whether we recognise it or not. Understanding AI in the context of our sector is vitally important to help determine and shape how it might usher in new opportunities.

“AI can immensely support project and construction management, analysing large volumes of project data across the value chain, spotting potential safety risks through computer vision, and offering insights for smarter decision-making. It can also support the automation of repetitive tasks, such as everyday data entry, form filling, and report generation, all of which can dominate a construction manager’s day so it’s there to be embraced.”

As Philp indicates, the playbook references how AI has the potential to revolutionise working processes for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), by enabling them to compete at a larger scale.

Through use of AI, the playbook says, SMEs can tap into capabilities that were once only available to large construction organisations, meaning they can compete on a more level playing field.

It also addresses industry concerns and misunderstandings about AI’s impact on the jobs market. It says AI in construction can enhance human capabilities rather than replace them, as its use requires a certain level of user skill and understanding meaning many existing roles will evolve – transitioning from operators to supervisors, where professionals will increasingly find themselves checking and validating AI’s work.

A report released by the House of Lords in February 2024 revealed construction and extraction roles are least likely to be threatened by AI. Other job roles on the same list included building and grounds cleaning/maintenance, and installation, maintenance and repair jobs.

Image credit: Gerd Altman/Pixabay

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