CIOB publish new playbook on using AI in the construction industry

SMES can use AI to tap into capabilities once only available to large construction organisations, meaning they can compete on a more level playing field…

A new playbook on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the construction industry has been published by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) Digital and Innovation Advisory Panel.

It 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 its 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.

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. It says through use of AI, 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. 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.

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.”

CIOB’s Artificial Intelligence Playbook can be downloaded for free at https://ciob.me/AIPlaybook