After a relative backlog of essential infrastructure built up in Australia over decades, the country is now seeing something of a boom for the sector. While this is a positive for the future, it brings its own challenges, especially when it comes to ensuring efficient outcomes across these very large projects as the resources required to deliver major projects are in high demand.
A report by consultants McKinsey and Company suggests that the growing field of artificial intelligence (AI) could help engineering and construction companies to control issues such as cost overruns and project delays.
According to McKinsey, areas where the construction sector could make use of AI capabilities include, project schedule optimisers, image recognition and sensors. The latter two capabilities could help with safety and preventative maintenance as well as helping to keep costs down and projects on time.
McKinsey suggests that schedule optimisers already being used in the transportation sector could be used by engineering and construction firms. This technology would be “directly applicable to E&C project planning and scheduling, as it has the potential to assess endless combinations and alternatives based on similar projects, optimising the best path and correcting themselves over time”.
Offsite pre-fabrication is becoming more common for large engineering and infrastructure projects. This will increase the need for supply chain coordination to control costs and manage the project schedule. Logistics technology using AI is already being used in the retail sector and could be adapted by the construction sector.
The end result of implementing this technology is that project owners and contractors will have more information with which to make informed decisions. Good infrastructure planning is complex. It needs to account not just for nation-building priorities but also demographic, industry, and technology trends.
To read more about infrastructure and the impact of technology, see our BI Research Smart Infrastructure Report
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