Purpose: This study aims at proposing a hybrid model for early cost prediction of a construction project. Early cost prediction for a construction project is the basic approach to procure a project within a predefined budget. However, most of the projects routinely face the impact of cost overruns. Furthermore, conventional and manual cost computing techniques are hectic, time-consuming and error-prone. To deal with such challenges, soft computing techniques such as artificial neural networks (ANNs), fuzzy logic and genetic algorithms are applied in construction management. Each technique has its own constraints not only in terms of efficiency but also in terms of feasibility, practicability, reliability and environmental impacts. However, appropriate combination of the techniques improves the model owing to their inherent nature. Design/methodology/approach: This paper proposes a hybrid model by combining machine learning (ML) techniques with ANN to accurately predict the cost of pile foundations. The parameters contributing toward the cost of pile foundations were collected from five different projects in India. Out of 180 collected data entries, 176 entries were finally used after data cleaning. About 70% of the final data were used for building the model and the remaining 30% were used for validation. Findings: The proposed model is capable of predicting the pile foundation costs with an accuracy of 97.42%. Originality/value: Although various cost estimation techniques are available, appropriate use and combination of various ML techniques aid in improving the prediction accuracy. The proposed model will be a value addition to cost estimation of pile foundations.
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