Artificial intelligence meets downtime factoring in construction


James Banasik, MetSwift’s CEO, explains how and why machine learning is revolutionising not just downtime management but how short- and long-term forecasting can fluidly integrate responsive weather prediction into all project stages

Weather-related downtime is one of the most problematic and cost-escalating aspects of any construction process, severely impacting and involving all elements and parties involved. In the UK, approximately 20% of overall build budget is lost due to weather delay.

Meanwhile, planning, building and construction are driving to integrate innovative digital technology. The aim is to integrate machine learning where updated data is continuously analysed, providing guidance to everyone involved in a development about what should be done at any given stage.

With a platform utilising meteorology, mathematics and machine learning to instantly interrogate intelligent weather data, MetSwift’s award-winning AI – developed for weather and natcat risk calculation – brings smart digital tech to counter downtime.

Risky business

Today, acute issues face competitive construction. At all stages – planning, operations and contractual analysis – projects find themselves at the risky edges of safety, cost and loss.

Nowhere more so than with hazardous and detrimental weather conditions lasting for days or weeks. Rearranged schedules, cancelled machinery, material issues, health and safety are all affected, and the fallout is notable.

In construction, weather and environmental conditions are one of the most acutely impactful areas of risk.

Clearly this equates to downtime and collective value cost.

Yet in this industry weather is too often seen as an intangible threat: The ways in which it will damage or deter planned processes are perceived as too challenging to precisely quantify, let alone predict.

Innovation now: The last great unreformed industry

It is essential that construction embraces the innovative tech now emerging – especially artificial intelligence – and realizes the value that is emerging, or it will be left behind by industries that prove to move faster and smarter.

In relation to innovation – investment, interest and a drive towards integration are all there. The pressing driver now is for all parties to identify and implement innovation – not an easy task. Sam Stacey, the challenge director of the Transforming Construction Challenge at UKRI Transforming Construction (recently backed by £170m in research and innovation in investment and £250m by industry) describes how, at £110bn, the construction industry is bigger than aerospace and automotive combined but, “has been trapped in a cycle of low innovation and productivity”.

However, Stacey goes on to identify that “longer term, it is through the application of machine learning (AI) that digital technology will have the greatest impact on construction”.

What will this application and impact will look like?

AI meets downtime

We are an award-winning innovating team of data scientists, forecast coders, mathematicians, meteorologists and business specialists. We are continually developing a new meteorological AI that calculates your downtime probability percentiles both retrogressively and up to five years in advance. Our expertly evolved statistical and predictive weather models, drawing on cleansed, global and continuous big data, have been developed via in-industry consultation.machine learning, downtime, weather and natcat

At each stage, in just three clicks you can secure site-specific results:

Your thresholds…increased efficacy…collaborative, responsive, resilient

Our AI is designed to be smoothly assimilated into build planning, operations and contractual analysis. This allows you the ability to incrementally adjust your thresholds to ensure downtime likelihood can be calculated as an ongoing concern throughout, at any point.

The ability to continually, easily input specific thresholds of weather-risk concern informs planning such as when to pour, when to work at height and where to locate skilled workmen; helping to align the aims of clients, suppliers, workers and designers. This answers the call for a more integrated approach: as recognised by the Construction Innovation Hub, which is currently encouraging companies to collaborate, share data and develop AI use in construction. Use of the platform also answers the Gemini Principles created by the Centre for Digital Built Britain, calling for digital to enable value creation and provide insight into the built environment.

A changing image…

This is how AI can enable greater value-based procurement for all parties at the bidding stage, assessment at claims stage, and feeds into other digital configuration tools, assisting the entire value chain and all aligned parties.

Incorporating technology can enable you to take back control of processes where adverse weather events seem inevitable.

MetSwift – Award-winning AI: The Best Use of AI in Underwriting

Last month, we were awarded the Best Use of AI in Underwriting at The Insurance Time’s Tech & Innovation Awards.

Insurance underwriting is an industry where the interrelation of accuracy and cost in risk projection is central. It is also an industry driving new generations of digital transformation and innovative tech in commerce. As a sector overlapping so integrally with insurance, peril and cost – construction should take note. We believe delivery of faster, smarter prediction in one will demand a corresponding need in construction.

Ahead of the game

The judges described our AI, developed to enable weather and natcat planning, as, “a potential gamechanger for underwriting weather risks across complex supply chains”.

Like insurance, construction is moving towards a new tech era. New research and platforms are enabling Risk Directors in both underwriting and construction to efficiently harness, utilise and understand data. We are at the forefront of this when it comes to weather.

When data and intelligence become tangible and people utilise the resulting tech and insight, things start to change.

Embracing innovation means businesses see benefits where it counts most: in cost savings, increased profits, labour repurposing and increased revenues.


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