Artificial intelligence: Does it have a role in the future of the construction industry?

As technology continues to evolve over time, so does artificial intelligence (AI). What were the stuff of sci-fi novels and movies a couple of years ago is becoming more and more a reality today. Various industries nowadays take advantage of the convenience and usefulness of AI. In the construction sector, those who use the technology have found their projects completed more efficiently and with increased safety and higher quality.

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Contrary to common belief, AI in the construction industry is not just limited to robotics in job sites replacing human-operated machineries such as bricklaying, concrete dispensing, welding, and more.

AI is roughly defined as a machine that mimics human cognitive functions, and these include problem-solving, recognition of patterns, and learning from data that it is fed with. Because of this, AI can be used in various applications, which can be categorized into four perspectives, namely, equipment, administrative, construction methodology, and post-construction.

There is also a widespread concern, however, on whether people will lose employment opportunities as construction tasks become more automated. This was like the apprehension people have when the first construction machines were developed. As time has proven, though, these machines have opened new doors of opportunities for specialists and jobseekers.

Furthermore, construction companies see AI as the solution to the current labor shortage in the construction industry, particularly in the U.S.

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Reddy Kancharla is a civil engineer who has had more than 25 years of experience in various construction projects and senior management. Read more about him here.

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Recent Noteworthy Trends In Civil Engineering

As innovations in technology continue to affect our daily lives, civil engineering adapts to the rapid changes and develops more ways to improve quality of life. From the construction of high rises to sturdy structures for drainage and disaster prevention, civil engineering is shaping our modern world.
Recent developments point to an increased interdisciplinarity, as the field marries traditional engineering methods with the other sciences. The idea is to promote sustainable and resilient infrastructure. In the traditional sense, civil engineering is turning its attention to so-called “smart” materials like recycled rubber pellets, geopolymers, fly ash, and concrete reinforced with fiber.
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Energy efficiency is the current direction, and progress in nanotechnology has led to enhanced materials geared toward energy conservation. Shape Memory Alloys, previously used only in aircraft and automobiles, are now being deployed for such enhancements, as they have high damping and fatigue resistance capacities.
Computers are now being heavily used to understand the structural health and resiliency of structures. Vision-based techniques are now being maximized for civil engineering work like oil explorations, corrosion detection, and construction progress monitoring.
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Pretty soon, sensing techniques in roads and bridges that study crack propagation and structural vibration will intertwine with advances in data interpretation and the growing fields of virtual/augmented reality and robotics.
Reddy Kancharla has more than 25 years of experience in projects involving civil construction, geotechnical consultation, and construction QA/QC. He has extensive knowledge of budgeting principles relating to both civil construction projects and building management. For similar reads, visit this blog.

Construction Technologies That Help Buildings Resist Earthquakes

The not-so-good news is that the world is even more inclined today to suffer the effects of earthquakes than in the past. This is primarily because a lot of people have moved to the cities, to modern environments with many structures like elevated superhighways, bridges, and buildings. But there’s no need to fret, as architects and civil engineers are continuously working on innovations to make our living and working spaces more earthquake-resistant. Here are some technologies of note.

Image source: civildigital.com

Base isolation

The concept is to separate a building’s substructure from its superstructure. A building can then “float” above its foundation, using lead-rubber bearings with a solid lead core wrapped in layers of rubber and steel. These bearings are attached to the structure with steel plates, allowing the base to move during an earthquake without shaking the structure above. Japanese civil engineers are even using cushions of air to expand on the idea, with seismic sensors that prompt a compressor that pumps air into the base, allowing the building to be temporarily lifted.

Damping

This innovation is taken from the automobile industry. In principle, it acts like a car’s shock absorber, slowing down and reducing vibrations by transforming kinetic energy into heat. This damping process then dissipates the heat using hydraulic fluid. Engineers now put dampers at each level of a building, with the ends connected to a column and a beam, respectively. These absorbers are made up of pistons in cylinders filled with silicone oil. During an earthquake, the pistons push against the oil and diminish the shaking.

Rocking core-wall

Core-wall construction means placing a reinforced concrete at the middle of the building, surrounding its elevator banks. This technology is often used in modern high-rise structures to deal with seismic activities at a lower cost. However, the core-wall concept is ideally applied in conjunction with base isolation lead-rubber bearings, as rocking core-walls tend to leave walls deformed after significant seismic activities.

Image source: youtube.com

Reddy Kancharla has 25 years of experience in civil construction, geotechnical consultation, and construction QA/QC, and more than a decade in senior management for civil engineering firms. For similar reads, drop by this blog.

A Historical Ballpark: Fun Facts About The Yankees Stadium

The Yankees Stadium has become a landmark in New York. As one of the structures that people from different generations have come to appreciate, the famed ballpark has gone through changes and significant events. Here are some interesting facts about the Yankees Stadium:

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1. The old Yankees Stadium that was built in 1923 was nicknamed “The house that Ruth built.” The project cost $2.4 million and was financed by owner Jacob Ruppert.

2. During the Second World War, Yankees president Ed Barrow offered the use of the old Yankees Stadium to the Civil Defense as a place for evacuation in case of a bomb attack.

3. Aside from sports events, the old Yankees stadium became the venue for some conventions of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When Pope Paul VI visited the U.S. for the first time, he celebrated mass with 80,000 devotees at the stadium.

4. The new stadium was opened to the public on April 2, 2009. The new stadium was meant to look like the original one, including the dimensions of the playing field during the old stadium’s last reconstruction.

5. The new Yankees Stadium is believed to be the most expensive sports stadium built and took three years to be completed. Construction started in summer of 2006 and ended spring of 2009. Aside from being the home of the New York Yankees, it is also the home of New York City FC.

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The Yankees and its homes are considered to be a part of the New York culture. For many sports fans, these stadiums are the site of many memories. Despite the changes the stadiums have undergone, sports fans still gather and flock to the site to watch their favorite teams play.

Reddy Kancharla has worked on projects such as the USTA National Tennis Center, Yankee Stadium, the Giants/Jets Stadium, and Terminals 1, 4, 5 and 7 of the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport. In his many years of service, he has acquired extensive knowledge of engineering theories, principles, and practical solutions to engineering problems relating to civil engineering and the construction industry. For more civil engineering updates, follow this page.

Beyond Aesthetics: Engineering Strength Through Geometry

Geometry is fundamental to all aspects of engineering. Basic geometric principles play a key role in planning and estimating construction projects. An understanding of the perimeter is vital to calculating the amount of material, while an understanding volume and area is a crucial factor in the design of the project.

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Indeed, advances in our understanding of geometry have often led to significant innovations in engineering and the related fields of construction and architecture. The advent of fractal geometry, for instance, allows modern civil engineers to understand the effects of soil porosity and material clumping, which would need to be factored in when creating a building.

The geometry employed in the structural supports of a building is perhaps the most familiar to the layperson. Different shapes accommodate and distribute the weight of an object differently. A few shapes, such as triangles, squares, and semicircular arcs, for instance, have all been found to be effective distributors of weight, thus lending to their ubiquity in many engineering projects.

The semicircular arch, for instance, distributes the pressure and weight in its center to its sides, which serve to strengthen the curve structure. The familiar vaulted ceilings, arched colonnades, flying buttresses, and elegantly curved domes of buildings in the past were not only easy on the eye but also structurally sound.

Geometric knowledge can also help engineers design structural systems to allow builders to think out of the box. The unique and daring shapes of many contemporary buildings and bridges were made possible due to the engineer’s understanding of the role of geometry in maintaining structural integrity, creating a mesmerizing marriage of form and function.

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Image Source: reference.com

Currently based in Briarcliff Manor, Reddy Kancharla obtained his bachelor’s in civil engineering from Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, and his master’s from Texas Tech University at Lubbock. Visit this page for more updates on engineering technology.

Three Of The Most Common Civil Construction Misconceptions

Quite surprisingly, the construction industry is shrouded in mystery. Whatever it known about the field is mostly bad — with most people thinking that all those who are in construction do not care about the environment. This is neither fair nor true, as certain fields, such as those in civil construction or the geotechnical field, are constantly looking to improve the industry through sustainable and eco-friendly practices. This is just one of the many myths that surround construction. Below are three more misconceptions.

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It is extremely dangerous: There is no sugarcoating this, but construction work is dangerous — but not as dangerous as most think. Working in the construction industry do mean working with heavy tools and machinery and being exposed to dust and debris, but health and labor groups have ensured that safety protocols are followed diligently. This includes stipulations on the type of protective clothing to be used and enforced regular training on how to operate machinery and relevant first-aid. Companies that do not strictly adhere to these guidelines are extensively fined and in some cases, permits revoked.

Construction work is only for those who fail in school: Where this misconception originated remains a mystery. In fact, higher education is necessary for certain jobs in the industry such as architects, civil engineers, and even geotechnical consultants. These professionals had to train for several years to ensure that any designed building or monument can withstand heavy weights or even extreme weather. This is a great responsibility that these professionals take very seriously.

It is only for men: Several studies have already proven that the wage gap no longer exists in the western world. Along with this is the denial of women in any industry. Construction may have more men working in the field, but that does not mean that it is not intended for women. There are highly successful women professional in the construction industry. Many hope that there will be more women thriving in this field.

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Indeed, the construction industry is a fascinating and industry field to learn and understand. Hopefully, debunking these myths will shed more light on what the construction industry really is.

Reddy Kancharla is a geotechnical consultant and a professional in the civil construction industry. Follow this Twitter account for industry-related news and updates.

The rock-solid role of geotechnical engineering

Every structure built on the ground requires the expertise of a geotechnical engineer to ensure its stability and ability to withstand external forces. The extensive and significant scope of the roles of this field of engineering can include the following:

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Geotechnical investigation

An assessment of the ground and the environment should be conducted even before the structure is designed. Included in the evaluation of geotechnical properties are the exploration of both the surface and the subsurface, measurement of water content, and analysis of soil properties.

The investigation can involve a simple physical observation of the site or a battery of tests, such as penetration tests, soil sampling, Atterberg limit tests, water content measurement, grain size analysis, and much more.

Foundation design

The design of the foundation, its depth, and type, depends on the planned structure and the following ground properties:

  • Bearing capacity, or the ability of the ground to fully support the loads and weight of the structure or buildings;
  • Settlement, or the tendency of the soil to move downward due to the vertical strain the structure imposes on the ground; and
  • Ground movement, or the movement underneath the structure caused by climatic changes, shift in temperature, slope instability, and others.
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For more than two decades, Reddy Kancharla has been involved in the civil engineering and construction industry, geotechnical consultation, and construction quality assurance. Learn more about the Osmania University alumnus by visiting this LinkedIn page.