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Mace employs AI issue detection to track onsite progress

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Mace has become the latest contractor to adopt an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered issue detection system which tracks onsite progress.

The move comes after construction tech start-up Disperse piloted its product concurrently with Canary Wharf Contractors (CWCL) and Kier.

Disperse’s system employs safety-trained site scanners which use 360 degree cameras in every room across all floors to capture progress on a project, before the firm's Computer Vision technology detects changes week-on-week, measures progress, and identifies anomalies.

So far, the pilots have covered a 327-unit residential tower in London for CWCL and a 120-room hotel in Reading for Kier, with the system analysing the projects using the 360-degree imagery. Disperse said its goal is to create an issue detection system comparable to those used in manufacturing plants.

It is now due to be used on 15 largescale projects by the end of 2018, including new projects with CWCL and Kier, as well as with Mace.

Tony Lonergan, associate director at CWCL, said: “At Canary Wharf Contractors, we are continually looking at innovative ways to improve productivity. The use of Computer Vision technology is assisting our site teams to effectively manage complex projects and make the right decisions.

“The ability to integrate this data directly into the construction programme ensures we have accurate as-built data, supported by high quality images and reports. This not only means we can assess where we are against planned progress, but also provides clear evidence of both quality and performance week on week.”

Mark Austin, innovation director at Kier Group, said: “We have been working with Disperse to help drive and improve productivity across Kier. Embracing technology and innovation, like Disperse, helps us find solutions to common business challenges.”

Paul Connolly, director of Mace Residential Technical Services, added: “As part of our digital strategy and in the pursuit of a better way, the residential business of Mace Group has reviewed the innovative technology and reporting that Disperse can provide across our projects.

“This has proven to date to be a great success, and the computer vision technology to accurately measure the status of the individual components that have been installed in the apartments has been beneficial to not only measure productivity, but also to give a 360-degree clarity on the installed works.”

Disperse was co-founded by Felix Neufeld in 2015 straight after his postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics LSE and has been developing a solution tailored to the construction industry since 2016.

Neufeld said: “Having grown up on construction sites, I'm very aware of the good and bad sides of the industry. The good ones being primarily the people who run things and the bad ones the systems and processes that are supposed to, but often fail to support them. It is time for us to rethink the relationship between technology providers and construction companies.”

Disperse is backed by London-based Kindred Capital, Dublin- and London-based Frontline Ventures and several angel investors.

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As part of our digital strategy and in the pursuit of a better way, the residential business of Mace Group has reviewed the innovative technology and reporting that Disperse can provide across our projects. – Paul Connolly, Mace Residential Technical Services