Digital Construction Week: 5 key takeaways for construction SMEs exploring AI

The Innovate UK BridgeAI team recently participated in Digital Construction Week, where we connected with numerous construction sector professionals eager to harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to boost business productivity.

Posted on: 24/06/2024

The key takeaways

Here’s what we learned from our discussions with over 100 visitors:

  1. Abundant data, underutilised potential – the construction sector is rich in data, but much of it remains untapped. Data often resides across various functions and software platforms within companies, creating silos that hinder its effective use.
  2. Data readiness challenges – many data collections are ad-hoc, meeting immediate needs like regulatory compliance or customer requirements, but not stored for easy cross-organisational access. However, there’s optimism around utilising Building Information Modeling (BIM) records more effectively.
  3. Skills and cost barriers – unlike sectors such as Fintech, where AI solutions thrive on high margins, the construction industry typically operates on tight margins of around 2%. This limits resources for developing unproven solutions. Moreover, digital skills are scarce and often siloed within larger companies.
  4. Innovative spirit – attendees at Digital Construction Week demonstrated a strong desire to innovate quickly with digital technologies. AI was a hot topic, with many presentations highlighting its transformative potential across BIM, costs, sustainability, and regulations.
  5. Navigating options – the plethora of new companies promoting their systems can overwhelm larger construction firms. Deciding on the right solution is challenging, especially without a clear AI strategy to guide these decisions and secure the necessary budget and resources.

Moving forward with BridgeAI

Our time at Digital Construction Week was invaluable. We showcased how BridgeAI partners can assist the construction sector in advancing AI adoption. Understanding the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of AI implementation is a crucial first step.

To maximise AI’s benefits, cross-sector data sharing is essential. This collaborative approach will address productivity challenges, with widespread gains across the industry.

Stay connected for updates as BridgeAI continues to support this complex journey. For more insights on how AI can benefit your business, join the BridgeAI community.

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