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Using Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality in Construction

Using Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality in Construction

Ruslan Kapustin, Head of R&D in AR/VR Department at Skywell Software

24/09/2020

8 min read

ar vr in construction industry

In the not too distant past, construction engineers, project managers, designers, and any other parties involved had to come up with a blueprint for the entire project. This would include the general characteristics of the building or house, as well as some of the finer details such as the electrical wiring, plumbing, air conditioning vents, and many other essentials for everyday life. Such methods were very time consuming, and even the slightest errors and miscalculations would mean that entire chunks of the project had to be redone. Augmented and virtual reality are now being used to manage construction projects better, making certain processes more efficient and increasing the construction’s pace and accuracy. Let’s take a look at how AR and VR simplify the construction processes. 

The Technology That Powers It All 

Project managers are always looking to create coordinated, consistent, and complete models based on the design. Revit is a software owned by Autodesk that allows for greater efficiency throughout the project’s duration, starting from ideation to visualizing the object and analyzing the design. This includes things like inspecting and adjusting floor plans, elevations, and any other details as your model develop. The digital representation is created through Building Information Modeling (BIM), which allows all of the stakeholders to visualize every detail of the design, including functional systems such as the HVAC and electricity, and the aesthetic aspects such as the walls and the windows. This is a lot more efficient than using FTP sites of Office file sharing apps since Revit and the BIM 360 Designs allow project teams to better collaborate anywhere at any time. 

using augmented and virtual reality in construction

If Revit allows for greater efficiency in collaboration and BIM files, contain all of the data about the project, what produces the models in augmented and virtual reality? This is where Unity Reflect comes in. You can bring all of your BIM files to life with all of their metadata and maintain a live link between them. Unity Reflect allows you to keep using your design tools, such as Revit, and transfer all of the data in real-time 3D to make any changes to the design as needed. It also makes it much easier to develop AR and VR representation of the construction projects, allowing all stakeholders to share ideas and get a unified experience. 

augmented reality construction

Real-World AR/VR Applications for Construction

Over the course of a construction project, the stakeholders want to get an understanding of how well the project is advancing and whether all of the deadlines will be met. You can create an AR model of the object to show what you have done so far and when the project is over, you can superimpose the AR over the real-world one to show that you have created what was originally designed. Imagine the stakeholders would like to get a visual tour of the inside of the unfinished project. With conventional construction methodology, something like this would be out of the question, but thanks to Unity, this is possible as well. All of the parties involved would put on VR glasses, and they can actually walk through the hallways of any other parts of the site, which gives them invaluable insights into whether all of the aspects of the project were done correctly. 

ar construction

Let’s say that you are walking through the site, and you would like to make a change to the floor plan. The designer would need to make the change in the software, and with the press of a button, the change is made. Previously, every time a change was made, it had to be imported into Unity, which wastes a lot of time, but thanks to Reflect, everything is done in real-time. Imagine having an idea for an improvement to an existing project and better communicating it to the rest of the team to get better feedback, ultimately making the entire building better. Such enhanced communication can save overall time and costs in terms of fixing mistakes. 

virtual reality construction

Stop Using Archaic Methods 

If we look at the history of architecture, first people started with hand drawings, 2D drawings, then computers came along, and CAD started being used to make 2D drawings faster. Then 3D modeling started being used to expedite the process even more. How do you bypass sending construction documents to a general contractor who will then send them to a subcontractor, who will send them to get a set of drawings done and then send them back to the original architects for verification? Unity Reflect allows you to skip this giant process loop and go straight from the architects to the original fabricator and save you all of the time and costs associated with this process. 

ar vr construction

Why Use AR and VR in Construction 

Skywell Software provides comprehensive AR/VR development solutions to meet all of your business goals and objectives. AR and VR are dynamic, fast-paced technologies that are always evolving, which could make it difficult to choose the best tool for your project. Thanks to our extensive track record of successfully actualizing AR/VR projects, we can consult you on all aspects of project development and use insider best practices to create the solution you need faster. Regardless of your project’s complexity or how bold your vision is, we will create a solution that will allow all stakeholders involved to make it a reality. 

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