HomeResourcesLearning CenterENR FutureTech Conference Insights: Transforming Construction with Trunk Tools’ AI Innovations

ENR FutureTech Conference Insights: Transforming Construction with Trunk Tools’ AI Innovations

At the recent ENR FutureTech conference, Dr. Sarah Buchner, CEO and Founder of TrunkTools, and Andy Roy, Superintendent at Gilbane Building Company, shared their insights into the changing landscape of construction technology. Dr. Buchner detailed the innovations behind TrunkText, TrunkTools’ pioneering generative AI product, while Roy illustrated its practical advantages on the construction sites.

Andy Roy's Construction Journey

Andy Roy’s lifelong passion for construction led him to a career in the field. After earning a degree in Construction Engineering from Marquette University, Andy joined Gilbane Building Company, where he now works as a Superintendent. Throughout his career, Roy has encountered inefficiencies stemming from the increasing complexity and volume of project data, a challenge he believes requires innovative solutions.

Introducing TrunkText: The AI Brain Behind Construction

To address these challenges, Dr. Sarah Buchner showcased TrunkText, an AI tool specifically designed for the construction industry. TrunkText enables users to easily query project data by texting a dedicated phone number or via web app, providing answers along with links to the original source documents for accuracy and transparency. 

Real-World Application: Andy Roy's Experience

Andy Roy shared his eight-month experience with TrunkText, highlighting its practical benefits. He asked various project-specific questions, such as the cure time for structural glazing sealant and scheduling requirements for water tests. Each query was answered promptly, complete with relevant source documents. This quick access to accurate information improves efficiency and reduces the risk of errors and rework. Let’s dive deeper into some of these examples below.

Example 1: Information Retrieval and Planning

Question 1: What is the manufacturer-approved cure time for the structural glazing sealant for the east glass facade?

Response 1: TrunkText retrieves the relevant documents, then replies: “The manufacturer-approved cure time for the structural glazing sealant is 7 to 14 days. However, full adhesion time is 14 to 21 days.

 

Question 2: When should all sealants and gaskets be installed to ensure everything has cured before a water test on June 8.

Response 2: TrunkText retrieves the relevant documents, then replies: “To ensure that all sealants and gaskets have fully cured before a water test on June 8, 2024, they should be installed no later than May 18, 2024. This allows for the maximum full adhesion time of 21 days.

 

That’s great! Now your key questions are answered and you can continue building. Let’s try another use case.

Example 2: Translation and Creating RFIs

Question 1: I’m installing the Stellar manufactured fireplace. Are there any requirements in the product specifications, submittals or shop drawings to tape/seal all pipe and elbow joints in the fireplace vent ductwork?

Response 1: TrunkText retrieves the relevant documents, then replies: “Yes, according to the provided document, all pipe and elbow joints in the fireplace vent ductwork must be sealed. This includes the longitudinal seam on the pipe. High Temp RTV Silicone and/or fail tape must be used on each joint/seam. Failure to do so may cause issues.

Question 2: Please answer my last question in Spanish.

Response 2: Returns response in Spanish language: “Sí, hay requisitos específicos en las especificaciones del producto. Cada junta y costura en el tubo y los codos deben estar sellados. Esto incluye la costura longitudinal en el tubo. Debe usarse silicona RTV de alta temperatura y/o cinta de aluminio en cada junta/costura. Si no se hace esto, puede causar falta de eficiencia en el funcionamiento de la chimenea.”

Question 3: Does door 20103-2 require power-actuated hardware and at what voltage?

Response 3: Yes, according to the door schedule, door 20103-2 has power-actuated hardware. However, the electrical drawings do not appear to show a callout for power and a panel designation at this opening. Would you like to create an RFI?

 

TrunkText then suggests the built-in option to create an RFI, and after a few clicks, creates and emails this document to the requested individual.

As you saw with this example, TrunkText has the ability to answer follow-on questions, translate into another language, and create and send an RFI!

Expanding Capabilities: Querying Drawings

Dr. Buchner also announced that TrunkText now includes the ability to query drawings, allowing users to extract detailed information from project drawings, such as assembly sequences and floor clearances. This feature underscores TrunkTools’ dedication to ongoing innovation in construction technology. Let’s dive into the detailed examples below.

Example 1: Counting Rigging Points

Question 1: It doesn’t seem like there are enough rigging points installed to hang the FLOE sculpture in the Atrium. Can you confirm how many upper cables the sculpture contains so I can validate that the quantity of rigging points match?

Response 1: TrunkText retrieves the relevant documents, then replies: “The FLOE sculpture contains 23 upper cables for hanging, as per the provided documents. You can cross-check this number with the quantity of rigging points installed in the Atrium.”

This answer was visible in a table so let’s try another example that would definitely require the computer to read the drawing.

Example 2: "Reading" Drawings

Question 1: What is the assembly sequence of the middle and lower cables for the FLOE sculpture? And what is the floor clearance below the FLOE sculpture?

Response 1: The assembly sequence for the middle and lower cables of the “FLOE sculpture” is as follows:

  1. Pre-assemble middle and lower cables, acrylic, murmuration and school pieces in the shop to the greatest extent possible.
  2. Attach upper cables to ceiling hoist rings.
  3. Attach the frame to upper cables and level using turnbuckles at the bottom of upper cables.
  4. Attach the top of middle cables to the frame after the frame has been leveled.
  5. Adjust grippers below level acrylic pieces after middle cables are installed so that all level pieces hang at the same elevation.

The floor clearance below the “FLOE” sculpture is 14.5 feet.

The Future: AI Agents and Intelligence Augmentation

Looking forward, TrunkTools is developing a suite of AI agents—workflow automation tools that utilize the AI brain built for each construction site. These agents aim to streamline project management tasks, from creating RFIs to ensuring data accuracy across all project documents. Dr. Buchner emphasized that this technology is meant to augment human intelligence, not replace it, allowing construction professionals to focus on critical decision-making and creative problem-solving.

Embracing the Future of Construction

Dr. Buchner concluded by emphasizing the broader impact of TrunkTools’ technology: reducing overall construction costs and addressing the labor shortage in the industry. By keeping humans integral to the process and enhancing their capabilities with AI, TrunkTools is helping the construction industry focus on building enduring, impactful structures that fulfill fundamental human needs.

As TrunkTools continues to innovate and lead in construction technology, its commitment to improving efficiency, transparency, and quality remains strong. For construction professionals like Andy Roy and companies across the industry, TrunkText represents a significant step forward, aligning incentives and transforming the way we build. 

 

 Watch the Keynote Recording Here.

#AutomatingConstruction

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