Knowledge and Tools

Knowledge and Tools

New technology will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of information collection for the building industry.

Whether we are working on a single-family house or something as complex as a new airport, our knowledge of what needs to be done and the tools we use play a crucial role in our success.

Currently, it is estimated that only a very small percentage (5 percent to 10 percent) of the information generated during the planning, design, and development of a building is made readily available at the end of the project. 

These staggeringly low estimates show that very little of the valuable information developed during the course of a building project is being shared with the industry. Therefore, little of it is used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the industry on future projects. 

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A significant increase in the number of people interested in sustainable, green design and building makes advanced computer tools such as AI increasingly popular and invaluable to the green building industry. CREDIT: Terry Beaubois via Midjourney

This can change, however, with the implementation of new technologies of “knowledge management” that are under development.

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More-complex AI technology models and 3D objects address the characteristics that the objects would have in real life. CREDIT:Terry Beaubois via Midjourney

AI Tools for Efficiency, Effectiveness

I’ve been observing the rapid progress of these new technology “tools” being put to use in research labs and in educational settings, as well as what we are beginning to see in the practice of various industries. These tools will eventually help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the building industry—one of the oldest, largest, and most important in existence.

For many people not directly involved with construction, our work seems “magical,” just like a magician who can wave a hand and “make a building appear.” (Granted, it may take a year or more for it to appear.) But even a magician has the knowledge and tools to pull off the magic.

So far, the use of these new tools has been applied to medicine, healthcare, automotive, and aircraft, and they are continuing to benefit additional industries. The potential for this technology to contribute positively to the building industry is evident.

As these new approaches to “knowledge management” create new tools to be used in various industries, each industry develops specific applications beneficial to that industry. 

And this is beginning to happen for the building industry. 

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New AI-based technology can enable multiple industry experts and stakeholders to contribute or view information about cost and location of a building project. CREDIT: iStock/SolStock

The Knowledge Cycle

There are three domains of knowledge use within the building industry:

  1. Research: Creating new knowledge.
  2. Education: Sharing knowledge.
  3. Practice: Putting knowledge into action.

As someone who has been involved in the Research, Education and Practice domains of the AEC (the architecture, engineering, and construction industries), I’ve experienced this directly and can see how the building industry is beginning to explore the integration of current advancing technologies.

Advanced computer tools, which include artificial intelligence (AI), are being integrated into the activities of Research and Education. This will significantly benefit companies involved in practice in the green building industry. With a significant increase in public interest in sustainable, green design and building in the areas of Research and Education, the green building industry is in a good position to take advantage of this potential with thoughtful use of these new technologies.