By: Grace Ballantine

October 12, 2022

Artificial intelligence and its role in the residential construction industry was the main topic of the 2022 Residential Summit, hosted by the M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management. The biannual event, which took place for the third time Sept. 23, 2022, inside the Florida Room of the Stephen C. O’Connell Center, featured University of Florida students learning from and networking with dozens of UF alumni currently working in the residential industry.

Dr. Karla Saldaña Ochoa, an assistant professor from the UF School of Architecture, presented her research on how artificial intelligence is playing a role in the construction industry and how the latest trends in AI will make an impact moving forward.

“I think AI will be applied in every single design and construction class,” she said. “AI can help maintain current capabilities.”

Saldaña Ochoa went on to say she was really excited to speak at the summit and hear feedback from professionals in the residential building circuit on their thoughts about AI’s role in the industry.

The students at the event were very interested in hearing about the AI advancements that have been made in the industry. Jacques Zoungrana is a fifth-year student in the UF Department of Landscape Architecture, and he said the changing perspective on AI is something he’s making note of and finds very beneficial. The senior said having data in just a matter of hours instead of waiting on others to get back to him is one of the greatest benefits of AI in his field.

As a landscape architecture student, Zoungrana said it is exciting to be at an event surrounded by so many people in different parts of the industry.

“I am excited to be here and see what other people in the community have to say,” he explained.

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There were a wide variety of students from the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning, including Kristen Haughley, a third-year sustainability and the built environment major. She said the summit was a great way to learn about other parts of the residential building world.

“It is awesome to be able to meet a lot of people working in this field and see about other aspects of it,” the sustainability major explained.

There was an endless feeling of gratitude and Gator pride throughout the summit. Lauren Jamieson, a first year construction management major, was no exception to that.

“I think it is super important to come to events like these and make connections with people and get advice,” the freshman said. “Someone I spoke to today told me it would be good for me to minor in real estate. I think it is really good to hear because if I didn’t come to this event, I would not have known that.”

Past President of the NAHB and Chairman Emeritus of Arthur Rutenberg Homes, Barry Rutenberg, started the summit with some great insights to the current and future of the residential industry.

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