AI targeted to assist project management

31 July 2019

International – A group of consultants have banded together in the hopes of using AI to prevent cost overruns on major projects. The companies, Mott MacDonald, Endeavour Programme and WT Partnership have formed what they call a ‘global technology alliance’ to achieve this. WT is a cost management consultancy and Endeavour is an Australian technology firm.

The group stated that major projects regularly underperform due to traditional systems and human limitations meaning outcomes are inaccurately predicted. The increasingly complexity of modern-day large infrastructure design and construction means that major projects will continue to overrun unless a new approach is taken. Octant AI is designed to gather and analyse project performance data to produce improved insights, claiming earlier, more effective decision making.  

Dan Phillips, global practice lead for project, programme and commercial management at Mott MacDonald, said: “There is a huge amount of money and time invested in the delivery of major projects, and despite this, they continue to underperform, deliver less than budgeted benefits and inevitably become the focus of political and media scrutiny. The construction industry lags behind other industries in the use of data and adoption of AI technology will play a big part in helping us achieve better outcomes.”

Will Siganto of Endeavour Programme added, “Here is something to think about for the tunnelling sector: you have a 90% certainty of an average 33% cost overrun and a 23% time overrun regardless of the risk assessments made by the project protagonists.”

Siganto’s data was sourced from Bent Flyvbjerg, professor and chair of major programme management at the University of Oxford. The data, taken from a database of 11,000 projects, also showed that the bigger the project, the greater the risk.