With the recovery of the Middle East construction output, Saudi Arabia is considered as the ‘top-performing construction market’. The Saudi Arabia construction market that was valued at $120.4 billion in the year 2021, is projected to continue its recovery over the period of 2022-25, registering an annual average growth of 4% in the forecast period – stated the “Construction in Saudi Arabia – Key Trends and opportunities to 2025 (Q3 2021)”.
The report further held that the expected growth shall be supported by the investment made by the government towards infrastructure and housing development projects. Also the government shall continue to maintain its commitment towards Vision 2030 goals, especially in the field of housing programs, quality of life program and mega projects.
However, amidst increasing investment of the government on infrastructure and housing and the growing importance of the construction sector in the country, the Saudi Arabia construction sector continues to remain confronted with safety risks in the jobsites. This blog thus attempts at having an overview on the safety challenges faced by the Saudi Arabia Construction Industry, and how advanced technologies like AI can boost safety in construction in the country.
What are the major challenges engulfing the Saudi Arabia Construction Industry?
In Saudi Arabia, construction is one of the fastest growing as well as the most important industries. A huge number of local and foreign laborers compose the workforce in the industry. In fact, workers from foreign countries make up the majority of the workforce in the construction industry, with their involvement in almost all the categories starting from management to contracting and subcontracting to labor.
However, most of these laborers are either unskilled or untrained, making them unfit to perform the difficult construction activities and putting them at a higher risk of accidents. The harsh environmental work conditions – generally hot climate – further add on to the difficulty of performing construction works outdoors. In addition to this, lack of awareness about occupational health & safety amongst both the employee and the employer, lack of proper supervision and unsafe workplaces are some other factors that makes the Saudi Arabia construction industry even more vulnerable to jobsite fatalities.
Even studies have shown that, lack of awareness and experience has been the top most cause behind accidents and injuries in the Saudi Arabia construction industry, followed by machinery defects and errors, lack of PPE, absence of supervisor and unsafe work environment.
Thus, it is highly evident that the growing construction sector in Saudi Arabia has been plagued by high risks of jobsite fatalities and thus is in a dire need of an effective solution that can help mitigate this challenge so that its pace of growth does not get hampered.
How AI in Construction can Boost Labor Safety in the Saudi Arabia Construction Industry?
Advanced technologies like AI/ML, vision intelligence, robotics, automation and the like have been offering solution to various problems that the construction industry has been facing and for which it has been criticized since a long time. These technologies have also been offering the industry with unprecedented levels of efficiency. Just like other fields in construction, AI has a lot to offer towards augmenting safety in construction and relieving the industry with the stigma of being “the most dangerous industry” that it has been long associated with.
AI and its various subsets like Machine Learning (ML) and computer-vision can help the construction firms in Saudi Arabia to boost safety in their jobsites in the following ways:
AI for Workers’ Safety in Construction
Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is the most basic safety measure that any construction firm adopts to ensure safety in the jobsite. But merely providing the PPE is not enough. What is equally important is to supervise that proper PPE for proper work has been used by the workers. Moreover, in order to ensure holistic safety in the jobsite, another measure that Saudi Arabia Construction Industry needs to undertake is by making sure that no worker enters any danger zone. However, manual supervision is not efficient and involves errors.
In contrast to this, the AI systems have the ability to observe, assess and communicate instances of worker(s) not using (proper) PPE, or entering danger zones like holes or fencing that too with a speed and efficiency that no human can match. Not only this, they can also detect and alert any instance of close proximity of workers with a machine or vehicle. Thus, through efficient PPE detection and danger zone detection, AI can help the Saudi Arabia Construction Industry to boost the holistic safety in jobsite. In fact, the use of video analytics for fastening HAZOP in Saudi Arabia is a trending example of the use of AI for construction safety in Saudi Arabia.
AI for Streamlining Transparency in Construction Jobsites
Transparency in any jobsite is the key to reduce costs, while at the same time maintain integrity of work. By accumulating insights from cameras, IoT devices and sensors into a single platform, AI can help in maintaining transparency in the jobsite. This can help the construction managers in the Saudi Arabia construction firms to have access to all the elements of their site safety and at the same time identify the problems more easily and instantly and accordingly take actionable insights to mitigate those problems.
AI for Construction Labor Management
Another way how the Saudi Arabia Construction Industry can avoid inefficiencies and mitigate risks is through effective labor management. Labor management in simple words can be understood as those wide-ranging activities related to the workforce. However, manual labor management proves to be very expensive, especially in a labor-intensive industry like construction. But AI has made construction labor management as easy as it never has been. The capacity of AI to analyze lumps of data along with the power of predicative AI can enable the Saudi Construction Industry to handle various labor-related concerns such as scheduling and forecasting.
Thus, AI can be very helpful for the construction sector in Saudi Arabia to avoid the risks of accidents and enhance jobsite productivity, in turn helping it to continue with the pace of its growth.
3 ways how viAct can help in managing Saudi Arabia Construction Industry?
viAct is a one of the leading ConTech startups in Asia, headquartered in Hong-Kong. Since its very inception, it has leveraged the power of its proprietary scenario-based AI coupled with computer vision to bring up solutions that can help the construction firms to mitigate various safety, productivity and ESG challenges that they face.
After its success in various construction jobsites in different parts of Asia, viAct is all set to take its Construction Management Software to the Middle East with Saudi Arabia as one of its prime target markets. In consonance with the challenges faced by the Saudi Arabia Construction Industry, viAct’s AI and computer vision can offer the following solutions to boost safety and productivity in construction:
viAct’s Construction Safety Solutions
The various AI & computer vision enabled safety modules created by viAct can offer the much needed safety solutions to the Saudi Arabia Construction sector. The various safety modules like PPE Detection, Collision Detection, Danger Zone Intrusion Detection, Confined Space Work Safety, and the like are well-trained and tested to detect and immediately alert any instance of safety non-compliances in the jobsite, say worker without (proper) PPE or worker entering danger zone or colliding with any vehicle/machine and the like.
Further, by employing HAZOP (Hazard and Operability Analysis), viAct possesses the capability to detect issues in the initial phases of project advancement and also pinpoint potential risks within the existing systems. Not only this, viAct’s smart AI Monitoring System can also monitor SIMOPs (Simultaneous Operations), and prevent interference/clash between two or more operations/activities occurring at the same time, in turn minimizing risks. Thus, with viAct, the construction firms in Saudi Arabia can detect minutest of safety errors and prevent it before taking place, thus boosting the jobsite safety.
viAct’s Construction Productivity Solution
Just like safety, viAct has also designed several productivity modules that can help the stakeholders in the Saudi Arabia construction firms to uphold and enhance the productivity in their jobsites. With its immense R&D over a vast period of time, viAct has brought about a wide-range of productivity solutions for the construction industry starting from Construction Fleet Management to Construction Progress Tracking to Worker’s Productivity Monitoring to name a few. Thus, these productivity solutions can help the stakeholders to better plan men, materials and machineries, in turn up scaling the jobsite productivity.
viAct’s Solution for Labour Management and Transparency in Construction
Not just safety and productivity, the construction companies in Saudi Arabia can also be benefitted from viAct in terms of labor management and transparency in construction. Its AI is smart enough to perform several functions like worker’s counting at entering sites, detecting over time work, maintaining high rise work safety, detect worker’s idealness and much more.
Moreover, its AI monitoring platform - viHUB - provides a common platform for all the stakeholders to view their jobsites from anytime, anywhere. Also the stakeholders can find the recorded insights of all elements of their jobsite safety that they can view anytime later for training their workers. Since all the insights captured by the AI camera are recorded in viAct’s cloud platform, it can also ease the task of construction documentation.
Thus, with viAct’s Construction Management Solution, the Saudi Arabia Construction Industry can easily augment their jobsite safety and productivity, that too in a manner that is 10X faster and way more efficient than manual monitoring.
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