Leading heavy lift crane specialists The Men From Marr’s (Marr Contracting Pty Ltd) have collaborated with tech start-up BuildAI to fast-track artificial intelligence (AI) on work sites and take the construction industry into the future.
[Photo: Simon Marr (L)_Kristian Butcher (R)]
In what is the first strategic partnership and significant investment since BuildAI launched in 2019, The Men From Marr’s have taken a minority stake in the start-up and their cranes will be the first in the world to adopt BuildAI technology, a cloud based AI software system that automatically reports construction progress.
The partnership brings together two of the most innovative companies in Australia’s construction industry in what is poised to be a ‘smartphone moment’ that will revolutionise work sites in the same way that apps replaced ATMs and Uber disrupted the taxi industry.
Marr’s Managing Director Simon Marr said adding BuildAI’s artificial intelligence to the company’s cranes would allow Marr’s and its clients to use real-time data to dramatically improve overall project outcomes at an important time when businesses needed to think differently about how to drive productivity and efficiency.
“Despite the massive technological advancements that we’ve seen in other sectors, our industry hasn’t changed much in terms of technology over the last 20 years. Where manufacturing productivity has grown by 3.6 per cent, construction productivity growth is sitting below 1 per cent. This is why we’re joining forces with BuildAI to bring developments in technology on-site to allow us to automatically gather and analyse real-time lifting data. It’s the missing link for us in delivering even safer, faster and more cost-effective solutions for our clients,” Mr Marr said.
Echoing Marr’s excitement about what the technology means for the sector, BuildAI CEO and Co-Founder Kristian Butcher said, “BuildAI will do for the construction industry what Apple has done for phones – our AI technology is a quantum leap forward from current manual methods akin to upgrading from a Nokia to a smartphone”.
“While manufacturing has long been enjoying the benefits of automation, it has taken more time for hardware and AI to become sophisticated enough to respond to the dynamic environment of a construction site. Similar to self-driving cars, BuildAI uses cameras to monitor cranes and the movement of materials and workers, and then relays that data to an AI system which crunches the numbers in real-time onto a cloud-based dashboard,” Mr Butcher said.
“The possibilities for improved efficiency, profitability, productivity and safety are endless, with AI set to boost productivity of the biggest and most expensive equipment on site – cranes – by 25 per cent. It will also support safety controls, such as perimeter edge protection, which are in place to reduce the risk of falls from height.”
All of Marr’s cranes – including the M2480D which is the world’s largest capacity tower crane – are currently fitted with remote data logging and monitoring systems, and with the world-first addition of BuildAI’s technology, Marr’s will be able to access this data from anywhere in the world to see how efficiently their cranes are being used and how they are interacting with the overall project schedule.
Mr Butcher said the technology was designed to support project teams at site and head office level on current and future projects.
“BuildAI won’t just allow project teams to unlock the full potential of their resources and realise some long overdue productivity gains but it will entirely reshape the way work sites are run, allowing for more flexibility and diversity. This technology will allow boots-on-the-ground staff to make it home for dinner, enable an aging workforce to upskill, inspire the next generation (digital natives) to forge a career in construction and facilitate the work-life balance needed to improve diversity and inclusion, bringing more women and primary carers into the industry,” Mr Butcher said.
BuildAI is currently working with other industry leaders that focus on safety, quality and efficiency gains by harnessing AI and site data. And starting with The Men From Marr’s – whose cranes are currently working on some of the nation’s biggest projects including the Sydney Metro, Sydney Football Stadium and Crown Sydney – BuildAI is forming new partnerships and customer engagements within the construction ecosystem to bring this innovative product to the wider sector.