BIM/AI research to tackle £24bn cost overrun problem

abstract image for cost overrun story
Image: Wrangler |

Three universities are working together to develop a cost-planning and management system that combines BIM and generative AI.

The combination of Birmingham City University (BCU), London South Bank University (LSBU) and Leeds Beckett University (LBU) are developing the system with £1.2m of backing from UK Research and Innovation.

Experts from BCU’s computing and the built environment colleges will collaborate with researchers from LSBU and LBU in the development of an existing BIM-generative AI cost-planning prototype into a market-ready product for SMEs.  

BCU quotes research showing that not only does the UK economy lose £24bn annually from cost overruns, but also that this is expected to rise by 15% before 2030.

The combination of BIM and generative AI can be deployed to more accurately estimate how much construction projects will cost, boosting productivity by as much as 25%, BCU claims.

Using AI for good

Dr Damilola Ekundayo, principal investigator and project lead and associate professor in built environment at BCU, said: “Cost and time overrun is a common phenomenon. It costs the industry billions of pounds. 

“This research will shape the future of construction cost planning by leveraging the pros of generative AI as a force for good, to improve what we do.”

“Our aim is to establish a costing process that takes less time and gives the client an accurate figure, empowering them to allocate budget and resources more effectively and avoid costly project creep.”

Dr Ogerta Elezaj, a lecturer in computer science and co-investigator in the project, added: “The significance of generative AI in construction lies in its ability to revolutionise design processes, optimise resource utilisation, and enhance project efficiency. 

“By harnessing advanced algorithms, generative AI, we aim to transform the industry, paving the way for innovative solutions, cost-effective designs, and sustainable construction practices.”

As well as the three universities, the project will involve several local and multinational construction, consultancy, accountancy, and IT organisations. The research will also be reflected in the curriculum of BCU’s MSc Quantity Surveying conversion course and “create future-ready graduates equipped with the AI expertise the industry needs”.

Don’t miss out on BIM and digital construction news: sign up to receive the BIMplus newsletter.

Story for BIM+? Get in touch via email: [email protected]

Latest articles in Technology