The introduction of the computer and digital approach to work has brought about different reactions from workers in various sectors. Most of them were very hostile towards the idea of computers being introduced since it would mean their jobs would soon be handled by the machine. Others increased their knowledge and skills making themselves indispensable. This reaction isn’t any different from that of construction workers.
Likewise, the use of computers in the construction sector has faced great hostility as some workers feel that the machine will in no time replace their usefulness. The construction industry is one of the most physically demanding jobs there is and it may be hard to imagine the use of a computer in any one of the processes. Computers can, however, be used in various tasks that constitute construction such as design. The aim of introducing the use of computers in the construction industry is to reduce cost and time while also increasing quality.
Computers and Construction Design
The use of a computer in the initial process of designing has multiple impacts and benefits. For one the use of the computer deals with the engineering input whereby it handles the designs, the methodology used in deciding the designs and code requirements. Computers deal with issues such as planning, a specification of the design, drafts, quantity and types of the materials, costs and many more. The use of graphics enables an engineer to choose from a wide variety of design options and it also aids in minimizing errors and provides up to date alternatives in terms of market changes, codes and the requirements of a site. The use of a computer saves on time greatly.
Computers and Construction Quality Control
Since quality control is highly reliant on compliance with the initial designs and plans that are made in the initial stages, computer applications can be used to further enhance it. Computer-aided quality control will ensure that there is sufficient time to make adjustments through the computer which would then be applied to the construction in case of any defects. Compliance to the initial plans and designs would also be easy because any defects would be entered into the computer and possible corrections will be provided to bring the construction back on track.
Computers and Construction Management
Most of the responsibilities construction managers have can be easily solved with the use of computer software. Currently, the Apple II and III, which are the world’s most available micros, are using 3000 programs that are specifically tailored to deal with the needs of the construction sector. For instance, some of the programs include; job costing, general ledger, inventory transfer and management, network scheduling, purchasing, financial planning and many more. This software can also be tuned to handle tasks such as drawing and specification, monitoring productivity and others. With the progressing advancements of the computer and its components, it can only be assumed that with time computers will be able to manage construction sites more effectively than human beings.
Artificial Intelligence and Construction
Artificial intelligence has been an enticing topic that has attracted the attention and interest of many individuals all over. The prospect of a machine or software that is entirely capable of thinking and making conscious decisions is something that a lot of people want to witness. Similarly, the use of AI’s could overtake the construction industry very soon. A decrease in the costs of hardware has led to a substantial increase in the need for labor-intensive software. The aim of this research and development of software is to come up with a program that can be able to write other programs which would then be able to handle basic and complex construction decisions. The AI once developed would be able to run a whole construction from the planning stages to completion of the project.
Why Use of Computer Applications should be promoted in Construction
The construction industry is highly labor-intensive which has it relying on workers that in most cases belong to unions. Workers are prone to strikes in demand for better wages and better working conditions. In most cases, this leads to a cost overrun. Using workers in construction sites leads to huge costs since 50% of the total coasts set aside for construction go to the workers’ salaries. This problem could be overcome by using robots that have AI systems which would lead them to process information and be able to learn from experience. Though this seems far-fetched, achieving it would mean that the construction industry would save a lot of money. Currently, the most promising computer application is the MIS level AI which would see to it that various management duties can be accomplished by a computer. Though legal and ethical ramifications do exist as a result of the proposed use of various computer applications in construction, they are similar to those of computer use in other fields.
There are very many possible applications of computers in the construction industry. Computers can be used to ease the tasks of a number of professional while at the same time enhancing the quality of the work. In tasks such as drafting, designing, fabrications, quality control, management, and many others computer applications can be used alongside human knowledge and effort to ensure that the results are desirable. Though computers may threaten the jobs of individuals in the future construction personnel should be ready to add on to their skills by being able to incorporate the use of computer application in their duties. This will not only increase their knowledge in construction matters but it will also increase their value within the construction sector making them indispensable. Since the use of computer applications within the construction industry hasn’t fully kicked in when it comes to the education sectors personnel should strive to learn from whatever sources that are available. By being amongst the first to increase their skills they will not only be used as teachers for other construction workers but they will also secure their jobs and even possibly receive promotions. The incorporation of computer applications in the sector of construction could just be the key to reduced accidents, reduced cost overruns and maximized quality.
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