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Adding Bytes to Blueprints: How Vision AI is Revolutionizing Architectural Drawings

Blueprint reading has long been a skill honed and mastered by architects, engineers, and construction professionals. 

However, the introduction of Vision Artificial Intelligence is redefining the rules. And now, automating and enhancing the accuracy of interpreting complex drawings is becoming the new normal. 

This cutting-edge technology transforms how blueprints are read, interpreted, and utilized, marking a significant leap from traditional methods. But how is it significantly impacting the profitability and scalability of construction? 

Gayatri Shahane is the CEO and co-founder of Forefront Builder, a leading software company. 

She is perfectly placed to lead the charge in this new approach, with a background in data science, analytics and construction tech. 

“Vision AI leverages machine learning algorithms to analyze and interpret drawings, identifying patterns, symbols, and dimensions that might take humans much longer to process,”  Shahane explains.

“It’s about teaching machines to see and understand drawings as a human would, but with the added advantage of speed, accuracy, and the ability to integrate vast amounts of data.”

But how can this benefit the estimators and construction team? 

“Vision AI in construction enhances accuracy and efficiency. Errors in 2D drawing interpretation can lead to costly mistakes,” Shahane points out.

“By automating the process of reading and interpreting 2D drawings, we significantly reduce the margin for error, which can save both time and resources.”

Shahane is highly respected in the tech world, renowned for her comprehensive expertise in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Vision and Data Pipelines. She also has an expert ability to lead diverse teams with intelligence and strategic insight.

Shahane showcased these skills during her time at DroneDeploy Inc., where she played a crucial role in developing and successfully launching two key data products. 

Her efforts significantly boosted the company’s annual recurring revenue and earned Shahane recognition in the top 1% of employees for her contribution to business growth.

Previous to this, she was a foundational member of the Data Team at StructionSite Inc., where she played a groundbreaking role in establishing and managing a robust data infrastructure. 

Shahane also developed customer-centric data products and led real-time data pipeline projects, greatly enhancing the company’s data processing and analysis capabilities.

During her tenure as an Analyst at Powerhouse Ventures, Shahane demonstrated her analytical skills by conducting in-depth market research, streamlining database systems, and crafting insightful quarterly energy market reports. Her contributions had a profound impact on the company’s investment strategies.

She says Forefront Builder, and Vision AI in general,  facilitates better collaboration among various stakeholders in a construction project: “With AI-driven tools, architects, engineers, and builders can share and interpret plans more effectively. 

“Vision AI creates a common language for all stakeholders, ensuring that everyone is on the same page, quite literally.”

Shahane, who works principally with construction professionals and commercial construction firms, says her work involves interaction with various roles within firms, from estimators and project managers to field workers.

At every touchpoint, she holds key values within the work process: “It starts with innovation; we embrace cutting-edge technology. 

“When you are working with new ideas, speed in developing solutions and getting feedback is crucial, as is teamwork and collaboration.”

She adds that it is also vital to be authentic: “This is incredibly important, along with demonstrating integrity and transparency. These values are essential in the construction industry.”

Shahane believes the integration of Vision AI with Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems represents a leap forward in construction planning and management: “BIM provides a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility, and Vision AI enhances this with its ability to quickly interpret and update these models.

 “This synergy between Vision AI and BIM is transformative, because it offers a more dynamic and interactive way of managing construction projects.”

However, she adds Vision AI does not have to be limited to the planning phase; it extends to the management of construction sites. AI-driven tools can monitor progress, ensure plan adherence, and predict potential issues: “With Vision AI, we can bring a level of precision to site management that was previously unattainable.”

However, despite its potential, the adoption of Vision AI in the construction industry faces challenges. New technologies have a learning curve, and the industry is traditionally slow to adopt digital transformations. 

Shahane notes: “The key challenge is in demonstrating the tangible benefits of Vision AI to an industry that relies heavily on established practices.

“I would like our technology to be seen as quick to solve problems and innovative with solutions. And I want our clients to feel we are being authentic with our delivery. Just because something is new doesn’t mean it won’t be as effective as previous methods.”

Looking ahead, the future of construction with Vision AI is promising. As the technology matures and becomes more integrated into construction practices, it has the potential to fundamentally change the industry. 

“We are just scratching the surface of what Vision AI can do in construction. As we continue to push the boundaries, the possibilities are limitless,” says Shahane.

However, with AI’s integration, ethical considerations and data security become paramount. 

Shahane adds: “As we entrust more of our planning and operational processes to AI, we must ensure the ethical use of technology and safeguard sensitive data.””

Harshavardhan Kalbhor is an estimator at a national speciality contracting firm.

He says: “Gayatri’s company Forefront Builder is an attempt to apply artificial intelligence to solve construction problems.

“This shows that she can be relied on to find solutions to problems by using technologies not commonly used in the industry. 

‘Gayatri has a unique skill set. I have seen people who are mostly either instinctual but tend to make cognitive mistakes or biases or who have good logical reasoning abilities but are slow and careful in making decisions. 

“However Gayatri can do both. She can switch between instinctive, quick decisions and careful, logical reasoning, showing adaptability that helps her handle various tasks efficiently. 

“She can also produce new connections and ideas and more importantly improve them by offering creative solutions that can create enthusiasm and improve the morale of employees.”

Bhushan Nankar is the Forefront Builder Cofounder and a Mass Timber construction specialist.

He says Shahane’s attributes have significantly shaped her business approach and work ethic at their company: “Gayatri’s resilience has been instrumental in navigating the ups and downs of our startup journey, allowing us to pivot and adapt in the face of challenges. This has been crucial in maintaining our business’s momentum and growth.

 

“Her determination is evident in how she sets ambitious goals and persistently works towards them. This has been a driving force in pushing our company to achieve high standards and continually strive for excellence.”

 

He adds: “Her integrity has laid the foundation for our company’s culture and decision-making processes. Gayatri’s commitment to ethical practices ensures that we achieve our goals and do so in a manner that aligns with our core values. This has helped build trust and credibility with our stakeholders. This approach is essential to creating lasting, tangible products in Vision AI.”

 

The integration of Vision AI in construction, championed by experts like Shahane, is an upgrade of tools and a redefinition of how the industry operates. 

From enhancing accuracy and efficiency to transforming site management, Vision AI adds a new dimension to how blueprints are read and interpreted. 

And as this technological shift is embraced, the construction industry stands on the brink of a new era where digital intelligence will become as fundamental as the bricks and mortar of the building itself.

 

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