AI in Preconstruction: How to Use AI Prompts to Streamline Your Workflow

Digital effects with the text "Artificial Intelligence"Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming the construction industry by automating and optimizing various processes, from design to execution. In the preconstruction phase, AI can help you create more accurate estimates, reduce risks, and improve collaboration. But how can you leverage the power of AI in your preconstruction workflow? One way is to use AI prompts to generate useful insights and suggestions based on your project data. In this blog post, we will share some ideas for AI prompts that you can use to enhance your preconstruction process. 

Before using any AI platform, it is best to use caution and not input any proprietary details about you, your business, or your clients. The information you input, the data received, and output generated from AI tools is not protected and you lose control over who can access it. A good rule of thumb is to ask, “do you want a competitor having this information?” before inputting prompts with sensitive info. 

What are AI prompts?

AI prompts are short questions or commands that you can input into an AI-powered tool to get a specific output. AI prompts can vary in length and complexity, depending on the AI tool and the desired output. Some AI tools work well with simple keywords or phrases, while others require more detailed descriptions or references. AI prompts can help you save time, increase efficiency, and avoid errors by automating tasks that would otherwise require manual work or human expertise. 

There is an art to writing an AI prompt and it takes practice. Harvard University’s Information Technology department offers some great pointers on creating solid text-based prompts here = Our favorites are “act as if” and “ask it to create your prompts and what else it needs from you”. 

For example, a prompt you could use is “Act as if you are the mechanical sub for this project and point out the items in the scope of work that you need more details on before providing a bid.” The output could help you tailor your communication with subs ahead of your bid day. 

An AI prompt is only as good as the request. It takes some practice to teach the AI tool how you want information delivered to you as well as educating it on what matters to your construction process. Build on top of your prompts to get more details, more precise answers, and uncover some ideas that maybe you wouldn’t have thought of without the help of these useful tools. 

How to use AI prompts in preconstruction? 

There are many ways you can use AI prompts in preconstruction, depending on the type of tool you are using and the stage of your project. Here are some examples of AI prompts that you can use in different preconstruction stages and scenarios: 

  • You can ask an AI tool to look for important details regarding inclusions, exclusions, materials, scheduling issues, etc. in your documentation. This prompt will bring sometimes missed details to light at the beginning of the estimate vs. trying to locate these items throughout the preconstruction process. 
  • AI can help highlight what has changed between project revisions, versions, and addendums. This quick AI review can save you a lot of time and headaches from figuring out what has been altered. 
  • Platforms like Togal.AI can perform a large portion of takeoff automatically through machine-learning. Because Togal integrates with DESTINI Estimator, that takeoff can automatically get added to your estimate in a fraction of the time it would take you to complete the manual takeoff and data entry. 
  • Using an AI tool as a brainstorming partner, you can ask it to optimize the project schedule and resource allocation using a critical path method.  
  • Keeping on the brainstorming partner track, you can ask the AI tool to create a risk analysis report based on the project location, design, and materials. 
  • Value engineering is going to pop up on your project. Using an AI tool, you can ask it to generate a list of potential value engineering opportunities and their impact on the project quality and cost. 
  • An AI tool can also assist you with creating a contingency plan for your project based on scenarios of disputes, changes, and delays. These plans can be in your back pocket but ready to go should you need them. 
These are just some of the examples of how you can use AI prompts in preconstruction to streamline your workflow, provide more benefits to your project owners, and improve your project outcomes. Of course, there are many more possibilities and applications of AI in preconstruction that you can explore and experiment with. The key is to find the right tools and software that suit your needs and goals.

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