Artificial intelligence in structural engineering

Buildings of tomorrow rely on the interconnected relationship of several sectors of the construction industry, with structural engineering being one of the most crucial elements. Within the past decade, the construction sector has developed a favourable stance towards the implementation of artificial intelligence. While some individuals remain sceptical about the implementation of advanced AI technology, there is growing evidence of the benefits of AI in construction.

There are numerous concerns about the risks posed by new machinery and software. Professionals spend years obtaining the right qualifications and certifications to operate as structural engineers, raising the question: how will industry practices performed by AI technology will be regulated? Others question whether the in-depth knowledge and experience of an industry veteran can be compared to the amalgamated intel retained by machines.

The ability to optimise the design and build process to save time and fix common daily issues experienced during construction projects is highly effective. Structural engineers are able to collaborate with machine learning engineers to develop software that provides useful data to perform tasks more efficiently, such as in-depth structure analysis. Our team at KTA Structures are also exploring the use of drone technology to collect detailed imagery of project sites and locations.

As the UK seeks to reduce its contribution to global warming by 2050, sustainable construction and energy efficiency are of increasing importance to the construction sector. Precasting and 3D printing offer a cost-effective solution, while providing consistent high-quality building components within a shorter timeframe. 3D printing can help with fast and precise building modelling that structural engineers can use to design and test their solutions.

Innovative start-up organisation, MX3D, succeeded in 3D printing a pedestrian bridge using stainless steel, which allows pedestrians to cross one of the oldest canals in Amsterdam, the Oudezijds Achterburgwal. The cost of such innovative measures is often dependent on the materials used and the complexity of the design, however, many organisations are acknowledging the benefits of prefabricating and precasting components for construction projects.

AI applications are also being developed to monitor and detect problems to reduce issues associated with environmental hazards and weather-related risks that could compromise the integrity of the completed structure, such as corrosion and moisture intrusion. Cloud-based software is also helping the industry to manage financial transactions with ease.

As AI-assisted construction continues to gain prominence, future educational curriculums will need to adapt to ensure that the next generation of structural engineers are equipped with the necessary skills to provide the best solutions. Practicing structural engineers will also need to ensure that they continue to educate themselves about new, innovative tools to better serve their clients.

At KTA Structures, we keep a close eye on the latest innovations and implement the best technology, so we can continue to provide an effective and affordable service for our clients. Our wealth of experience means we’re well equipped to offer advice on forthcoming structural projects, from inception to completion – simply contact us here.

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