A new survey by Association for Project Management (APM), the chartered membership organisation for the project profession, has revealed that the majority (70%) of project professionals working in the construction industry think the latest advancements in AI technology will have a positive impact on their sector, such as improved decision-making, cyber security and reporting.
The most popular reasons given on how AI will positively impact their sector were:
- Assisting in decision making
- Stronger cyber security
- Produce more consistent and/or timely reports
- Free up time for construction project professionals to work on more strategic areas of the job
Only 8% of respondents who work in construction-related roles said it would have a negative impact, with 22% feeling its impact will be neither positive or negative.
Among those respondents (8%) who said AI will have negative impacts, the reasons given included:
- Disruption to projects while new systems and technologies are implemented
- Reduced budgets due to the expense of implementing and maintaining AI systems
- Job losses
The survey revealed the extent to which AI is already being used in construction projects. Almost a third (32%) of project professionals working in construction say their organisation is already using AI in projects, and 43% say their organisation is planning to use it in the near future. Only 24% of professionals working in construction say their organisation does not use AI and does not plan to introduce it.
The survey also revealed the impact AI is already having on individual project practitioners. Of those respondents whose company is already using AI technology as part of their project delivery, the majority (83%) say that it has caused a change within their role or their team.
The most common changes are:
- “It has necessitated training/upskilling for people in my team.”
- “It has required me to recruit people with specialist skills into my team or organisation.”
- “It has enabled me to plan ahead more effectively.”
- “It has given me more free time to concentrate on other priorities.”
Industry must invest in people, as well as AI tools
Professor Adam Boddison OBE, Chief Executive of APM said: “Our latest survey shows project professionals in construction and other sectors are embracing AI and the impacts it is having.
“This is encouraging to see, but the implementation of new technology means project professionals will need to adapt and keep themselves updated with the rapid advancements we are seeing and adjust their skills accordingly to stay abreast of the change. Many survey respondents are telling us the arrival of AI has already necessitated training for them or their colleagues. We strongly urge business leaders and senior project managers who are considering implementing AI to factor in training for the intended users, to ensure desired improvements to project delivery are realised.
“APM, as the chartered membership body for the project profession, recognises that AI has potential to become a significant tool for aiding project delivery now and in the future.”
APM’s recent Salary and Market Trends survey (of over 2,000 project professionals) highlights the increasingly important skills which project professionals will need to develop to take advantage of the introduction of new technology. Communication skills (44%), project leadership (38%), stakeholder engagement (34%), people management (29%) and strategic planning and monitoring (24%) – with AI language models providing more accurate risk analysis and insights, project managers will need to be skilled at strategic planning and risk management.
APM surveyed over 900 project professionals working across industry sectors, including construction, engineering and transport, in a poll carried out by research company Censuswide. APM is currently reviewing those findings and will share the data soon. Check the APM website’s news feed for the latest updates.
*All figures rounded to the nearest 1%