With large-scale building and infrastructure pipelines in our communities, Australia must practice all forms of digital innovation and artificial intelligence in order to enhance efficiency, accuracy and productivity in our projects—thus future-proofing our regions and nation.

Infrastructure planning and delivery calls for a separate skill set than is required in the building industry. Our residents need to be taught these skills in school, and migrants must be similarly skilled.

We have more work than skilled workers. In Victoria and NSW, Tier 1 and Tier 2 contractors have tried to bring in resources from neighbouring states. Project delays, like that which is affecting the Sydney Light Rail, are costing taxpayers billions.

The federal budget allowed about $10 billion yearly for continuing infrastructure expenditure in the next four years – but due to our limited resources, we need a skilled workforce to match this expenditure.

Many people believe that AI is the answer.

AI is a technology that excels in project scheduling and management, early identification and mitigation of problems, the reduction of monotonous and time-draining tasks, secure swifter measurements from Revit, Autocad or Bricscad files and use advanced benchmarking to supply more accurate total end cost (providing that time-spliced info is mined).

Early identification of project timeline problems can supply solutions to limit delays and cost blowouts.

The good news is that the cost of robotics manufacturing is being lowered by Silicon Valley construction companies, who are investigating the possibilities of outsourcing parts to off-site factories, where autonomous robots can assemble building parts before they are put together by people on-site.

The German company Software AG employs robotic process automation (RPA) to perform everyday, repetitive, intensive tasks like merging data and updating case management systems. Sweden’s Volvo Construction Equipment integrates AI into their Compact Assist program, which maps the passes that compactors create and records temperature maps, aiding machine operators as they complete complicated tasks. AI can perform easy and complex tasks, enhancing efficiency and productivity while eliminating time wasting but essential labour for human employees.

Australia Apollo kitchens maintain a fully robotised factory at their Smithfield facility. Robots cut, move, process and package (with all waste incinerated onsite). This factory is known for its greater productivity, accuracy and safer factory conditions–all of which facilitates on-site assembly, more enhanced programming ability for the head contractor, better use of hoisting and fewer defects.

AI also mitigates OH&S concerns. Swinerton Builders in California, for example, employs the AI program Project IQ to keep an eye on subcontractor performance and improve on-site construction safety. This system could be duplicated across the world.

Businesses as a whole must invest more extensively in digital technology and innovation. New systems must be developed that are more efficient and accurate. And they must be successfully applied to every variety of project, across this region and around the world.