Using Machine Learning to Improve Cost and Duration Prediction Accuracy in Green Building Projects

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Journal of Construction Engineering and Management


A major source of risk in green building projects (GBPs) is inaccurate human prediction of the final project cost and duration, which in turn results in cost and schedule overruns (i.e., poor project performance). This paper presents promising new models to mitigate such risk based upon machine learning (ML). Historical data from 198 GBPs in Hong Kong were used to develop and train two fully connected deep neural networks (DNN) models to learn and predict cost and duration, respectively, based on green building rating (GBR) and other project parameters. The models can predict cost and duration with mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) values of 0.07 and 0.09, respectively. They were then integrated with support vector regression (SVR), and results indicated that the integrated DNN-SVR models improve prediction accuracy, decreasing the MAPE from 0.07 to 0.06 (cost) and 0.09 to 0.07 (duration), respectively. The validated models were for the first time deployed as a ML-based web application for automated, fast, and accurate GBP cost and duration prediction. The feature importance analysis results revealed that the most influential parameters on the GBP cost and duration are project area and weather, respectively, not the GBR. Theoretically, the outcomes of this study provide new insights into the impact of GBR on project cost and duration, which are useful for the promotion of GBPs to improve sustainability. Practically, the study provides policymakers and practitioners with novel ML-based models and a web application to improve GBP delivery performance.

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