Estimating is one of the most critical tasks on a construction project. If done right, it will calculate all of the required direct and indirect costs, guiding the project to a profitable project. If done wrong, well, many in construction have been there—and on a job where margins are very tight, a good estimate can make all the difference.
The challenge is estimating is often tedious and time consuming, to say the least. Could new technologies disrupt the status quo and speed up processes, while making them more accurate? Perhaps.
The global construction estimating software market size is expected to reach $2.2 billion by 2028, rising at a growth rate of 8.5%, according to ReportLinker. One of the technologies we talked about earlier in this blog series could be the perfect example of a technology that could be poised to disrupt estimating in construction—and that technology is none other than generative AI (artificial intelligence).
Since we have already covered generative AI in depth in this blog series already, we won’t get too deep into the weeds with a definition. Rather let’s jump to the impact this might have on estimating in the construction industry.
Cloud-based technology can enable multiple team members to work on the same takeoff and estimate at the same time. We see there is big potential for artificial intelligence to help with this very manual construction process as well.
Consider the example of Togal.AI, which promises takeoff construction projects in minutes and 98% accuracy. Using deep machine learning, the technology analyzes construction drawings and provides quantity reports. Here we see estimators can compare drawing sets and quantify changes made. The company also has a newly launched ChatGPT feature, which allows construction professionals to talk to the construction plans.
Imagine the possibilities that come with a technology such as this. It can help save time, money, and resources, all while creating a profitable bid.
Naturally, there are some big hurdles to still overcome when it comes to generative AI in any industry. Many are still concerned about the accuracy and the reliability of the technology. Others are worried about cybersecurity threats. Too often construction companies don’t have guidelines or ethics around AI, which is cause for chaos to ensue.
Another big, big concern, is if AI is doing the basic jobs of the estimator, how do the young interns or entry-level workers learn how to do the job? How do we teach them to become middle managers or executives? How do we train them to question the technology and test it for accuracy? These are all the questions construction companies need to ask themselves, as they move forward into a new era of estimating.
Certainly, estimating technology is advancing for the construction industry. Now, it is a matter of determining how to best leverage it in the organization.
Do you have estimating technology designed specifically for the construction industry? We want to hear about it! Soon we will have a call to entry for our 2024 Constructech Top Products award program. Make sure to enter your product for consideration.
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