Adaptive Learning for Zero Defects

Tailored learning to help workers understand tasks and deliver them right first time.

Last updated: 22nd June 2021

Date uploaded:

Approved for use

Innovation Lead: Mat Colmer
Project number: 104792
UKRI funding: £192,647

Website:
trcontrolsolutions.com/


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Summary

TR Control Solutions has created BIMformed™ Adaptive Learning Engine - software that helps ensure construction tasks and installations are carried out correctly first time, and every time. It uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to check in with an operative and assess their understanding of a task in hand. Depending on their level of understanding, it can then adjust the instructions to their individual needs so they can confidently learn on the job and carry out the task correctly. This supportive software will minimise errors and defects and lead to more productive projects and the delivery of buildings that perform as they were designed.

Innovation type: Digital
Organisation type: Innovative SME

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Project pioneers

TR Control Solutions is a digital SME focused on helping construction use technology, automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) to ensure project tasks are correct first time and every time. It aims to support maximum efficiency and effectiveness on all elements of the industry, whether human powered or software powered.

The problem

There are numerous software solutions that check if a construction task has been carried out or not, but none that track how effectively communication or training is being delivered or that flag if a task has been properly understood. As a result, it's not always clear if site workers have correctly understood the tasks given to them. Operatives can be reluctant to ask questions or may have to use many different sources to get information they need to work with a new process or system. Or there may not be the time or resource in place to help them learn new processes on the job. This can lead to errors, snagging and rework, which is a key challenge for the construction industry as it undermines the performance of a building and can impact the reputation of the supply chain and the industry as a whole.

Vision

Adaptive learning processes can help employees complete tasks correctly first time and ensure they clearly understand the job they are trying to do. It has the capability to highlight when errors might occur and check that a task has been properly carried out. And because it can adapt to an individual worker's needs, it can ensure the learning and assessment of their understanding is tailor-made to the person receiving it. Adaptive learning like this will not only eliminate chances of errors but empower a workforce to use new technology, systems and processes with confidence and, in turn, increase job satisfaction. BIMformed also helps ensure knowledge is retained so that subsequent training acts more as a refresher rather than new or repeated learning.

Key Insight

Research commissioned by the industry-led Get It Right Initiative (GIRI) found that error is costing the construction industry between £10–25 billion per year (or 10%-25% of project cost) and that a significant cause of this was employees not completing a task correctly due to a lack of understanding. It was this research that prompted TR Control Solutions to investigate how they could apply adaptive learning to help construction employees get a better understanding of the tasks they were being asked to do, learning how to better communicate with employees, and also to predict mistakes that are likely to be made.

First step

Support from the Transforming Construction Challenge allowed TR Control Solutions to connect with Anglia Ruskin University to draw on its Machine Learning / AI expertise and develop the first prototype of its BIMformed™ Adaptive Learning Engine.

Barrier

Ineffective or infrequent training can leave workers missing the information they need to do a task onsite correctly, and individuals may not feel empowered to ask for support to help them understand the job. There is also no guarantee that they will retain the information for the next job. This lack of understanding can lead to errors and rework which makes projects more labour intensive and expensive, or errors get missed and buildings do not perform as designed.

Digital Innovation

Adaptive learning is able to provide instructions to construction workers, tailor-made to their skills and needs. It can enhance their understanding of the job they are doing and therefore limit the likelihood of errors occurring. TR Control Solutions applied this approach in the development of its BIMformed™ Adaptive Learning Engine. It works like a teacher checking in with a pupil. First BIMformed™ assesses the level (or lack) of understanding that the construction worker has of the task in hand. It can do this as soon as the task has been set. Then, through adaptive learning, BIMformed™ can adjust and moderate the learning to the worker's level of understanding so instructions are tailored to that particular person and their individual level of understanding. By testing understanding at the point of delivery of the instruction, it will ensure that the job is completed correctly not only the first time, but every time.

Whole life innovation

Defects impact the performance of buildings which can impact the whole-life value of the people who use them. And worse, an undiscovered defect could endanger the occupants of a building. Recurring on-the-job learning will lead to correct installation and ensure projects are right first time, improving productivity, reducing waste and allowing systems to work appropriately and buildings to perform how they are designed.

Collaborators

TR Control Solutions led the development of the BIMformed™ Adaptive Learning Engine. Anglia Ruskin University provided expertise in AI/Machine Learning. The Get It Right Initiative provided a platform to promote the project to the industry as a whole.

  • Anglia Ruskin University
  • Get It Right Initiative (GIRI)
  • TR Control Solutions

Lead support

Transforming Construction Challenge supported the development of the software.

Long Term Vision

Quite simply the goal of the BIMformed™ Adaptive Learning Engine is to ensure that every worker at every stage of the construction process is completing tasks right the first time, and every time. This will reduce errors, minimise defects and lead to buildings that perform as they were designed.

Human Stories

BIMformed™ Adaptive Learning Engine adjusts to a worker's individual level of understanding and tailors instructions to their needs. As a result they feel empowered and supported as they learn, and become confident in using new technologies, systems and processes to their maximum capabilities. It has the potential to create an informed workforce and help improve job satisfaction.

Powerful Processes

The BIMformed™ Adaptive Learning Engine works like a teacher checking in with a pupil. First it assesses the level (or lack) of understanding that the construction worker has of the task in hand. Then through adaptive learning, BIMformed™ can adjust and moderate the learning to the worker's level of understanding so instructions are tailored to that particular person and their individual level of understanding.

Fascinating Facts

The Get It Right Initiative (GIRI) research identified that errors related to a cost of £10-£25 billion per annum equating (or 10%-25% of project cost).

Benefits

Assurance
Improved learning on the job will ensure tasks are carried out correctly first time and every time, and will help ensure that buildings are delivered safely and for the purpose they are intended.

Cost
Research by the Get It Right Initiative estimates that errors cost the industry between £10-£25 billion (or 10%-25% of project cost).

Productivity
Doing things right first time and eliminating defect resolution enables an operative to be more productive in their assigned activities. It will also reduce the need for rework which costs contractors time and money.

Whole-life Value
The Innovate UK Building Performance Evaluation shows that a significant aspect of poor performance in buildings arises from a lack of understand and/or poor implementation of products, systems and services. Completing tasks right first time will ensure systems work correctly so buildings are handed over to their end users with the confidence that they will perform as they were designed. And the reduction in rework means there is less wasted materials.