Can Artificial Intelligence Perform the Role of a Construction Planner?

It seems stories and articles about artificial intelligence are everywhere you look at the moment. A common question is whether AI can eventually replace a human’s job completely.

This got me thinking about how AI might feature in construction. Will it start to replace people in projects? As a project planner, I wonder, will a computer ever be able to do my job?

The construction industry continues to evolve, but it can still be slow to embrace new technology. Construction planning is complex and multifaceted. Tasks can include project management, allocation of resources, risk, and programme scheduling.

Given this, I don’t think robots will be replacing us anytime soon. However, in this article, I discuss how AI could assume the role and responsibilities of a construction planner. Might there be advantages to AI taking over the planning function of projects?

Advantages of AI in construction planning

Automating tasks

Artificial intelligence can process large amounts of data at a faster rate than humans. This means it can automate and speed up time-consuming tasks. By analysing resource requirements for a project, AI could generate schedules, optimise monthly workflow, and produce monthly reports. Of course, we should base these processes on the information inputted. So, we wouldn’t be rid of human involvement just yet. However, if AI were to perform these tasks human planners could focus on problem-solving and decision-making.

Risk Mitigation

Construction projects are inherently risky. Delays, cost increases and overruns are not unusual. AI could help identify all of these risks. If AI could review historical data and simulate several scenarios, this could provide early warnings and mitigation strategies. Having this type of data could increase the success rate of projects.

Disadvantages of AI in construction planning

Human Judgement

AI makes decisions by analysing the data available and choosing the one with the best chance of success statistically. Where it struggles is making judgements around unforeseen events. Human intervention is still required to validate and interpret what AI generates, at least for now. Planning requires making considered decisions. In my view, only human judgement can make these decisions. AI is not there in its latest form, but who knows in the future?  But for now, AI lacks the ability to predict a lot of changes. From adjustments in design to delays due to personal issues, there are some things a computer can’t know.

Records and Data Quality

AI is heavily reliant on data. It needs quality records to produce an accurate analysis and make correct decisions. It is well-known that in the construction industry, record keeping is inconsistent. For AI to work, our data input and record-keeping need to vastly improve.

Changes in Environments

Construction projects are subject to frequent changes. Design changes, unforeseen weather events, changes in resources, events that occur on-site and emergencies are all common. AI needs to have the ability to react quickly to these events and to remain effective. AI needs to handle real-time data and adjust accordingly. This data also needs a way of being inputted into the AI system.


Artificial intelligence shows great potential in being able to improve the role of a construction planner. However, it is not ready or capable of replacing human judgement and expertise in this role – at least in its current forms. The use of AI in construction planning could help mitigate risks, enhance efficiency, and provide valuable insights. This will be an interesting area of development over the coming years.

In my opinion, a construction project still needs planners today and will for a while. Planners make difficult judgments, take stakeholder preferences into account, and adjust to rapidly changing project environments. On a building site, AI is incapable of negotiating and engaging with other humans, at least for now. But we may see AI playing a supporting role in construction planning very soon.

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