Aug 25, 2022, 1:28 AM

Virtual Reality is Changing Construction Processes for the Better

Virtual Reality is Changing Construction Processes for the Better

It seems that recently construction crews are working at breakneck speeds to complete projects. Buildings are being renovated or built from the ground up almost overnight. It's a far cry different from what it used to be where crews would labor over several years to complete one project. They, and the general public, have virtual reality to thank for that. Virtual reality has become one of the main focuses of the tech industry. In making it a primary job source for many people the technology has been used to improve completion times and cost. The construction industry is taking advantage of the benefits, and using it to make their jobs safer, easier, and all around better for the workers, owners, and designers. Here are some benefits of using virtual reality in construction.

6 Benefits of Virtual Reality in Construction

Training- Virtual reality is aiming to not only make the job itself safer but the training process safer as well. Virtual reality is fully immersive, meaning that what a person would learn on the job they would also learn by doing in a training simulation. They would have the opportunity to learn everything they would under the close supervision of their trainer, except instead of having the adviser responsible for the trainee's safety and teaching them crucial steps in the building process, they would be handed over as a fully responsible and capable construction worker. This cuts down on the job training time and streamlines the building process itself.

More cost effective- Building supplies are expensive, and sometimes there are leftover supplies that aren't needed anymore. This is a loss of funds for the owners of the construction site and the workers themselves. Using virtual reality to create 3D images of the work space enables the company to get a more realistic idea of the site and more accurate dimensions that help avoid an overflow of supplies. Virtual reality takes away the need for excessive supplies because designers and builders would be able to order just the right amount (with a small amount of overflow, just in case).

Less reconstruction- Sometimes, designers create a model of a building and prepare it, and it goes through the entire process of being designed, edited, built, and completed, only for them to realize that the building or layout doesn't actually work in the space they've been allowed, or the floorplan isn't quite right. Having a virtually recreated model of the project allows project heads to walk through the space, mark down flaws in the design, recreate proportions, and improve overall design before building the structure. This cuts down on time spent building, as well as cost of supplies for reconstruction.

Boost worker engagement and team coordination- Morale is a major part of productivity where humans are concerned, and the gamifying nature of virtual reality can help with worker engagement. Its immersive capabilities ensure that the workers are engaged in training and have the desire and willingness to complete projects and tasks in a timely manner. While a foreman is there to keep workers in line and on task, self-motivation is key in a construction site's general completion process, where workers are sometimes in groups and sometimes working solo.

More effective presentations- Presenting a project for approval and funding is sometimes half the battle in construction, whether reconstructing and restoring an older building or making something entirely new. However, some people just don't have the confidence to stand in front of a board to give an effective enough presentation. But the exciting and engaging nature of virtual reality offers something new and gets funders attention before even beginning. Letting them see an actual full-scale model where they'd be able to walk through the halls and turn corners and really get a feel of the layout might be the grain of sand that tips the no to a yes.

Cuts down on paper costs- Normally blueprints are printed on yards and yards of paper. Not only is this costly, but it's also environmentally unsound. Being able to work and rework a project in VR removes the necessity of paper blueprints. It even allows those overseeing the project to make sure it's going to plan or visiting officials to come in and see the full potential of a project at any point in the process.

5 Real World Use Cases of Virtual Reality in Construction

1. XYZReality launched the ATOM headset designed with AR technology to help construction workers streamline the building process. It's a powerful, custom built construction headset combined with a durable hardhat that has augmented reality displays and its own built in computing power. Construction crews can use the AR displays onsite to get the most accurate measurements and view 3D models to ensure accuracy.

2. XR Guru is using VR to help organizations reduce training time, enhance onboarding procedures, increase user retention, and improve employee performance. Their Immersive Learning Hub leverages virtual reality to develop the skills necessary to work effectively in construction using a safe training environment. With options for individuals, and institutions, users can explore career options in construction technologies. The Auto, Manufacturing, and Construction package offers an overview of the key skills necessary for the construction industry.

3. In March 2020, a construction company in Mesa, Arizona used virtual reality to showcase how a project for their new local high school would come together in the end. This company used VR for not only the blueprints but were able to show city officials (as well as the news reporter covering the story) the final layout of the school. All over the school were QR codes in which curious people could access the layout of the school and get an accurate representation of how it would look upon completion. According to the project manager, Cole Woodward, they consistently came in under budget and ahead of schedule, a promising factor of implementing virtual reality and said that VR is the future of construction. (Source)

4. Program Ace created a building information model (BIM) visualization app that provides interactive virtual tours around construction sites. Using this app, the Singapore business center was created with full layouts of floor design, interior and exterior views of the building, and a virtual walkthrough of the ground. This software was used to address concerns of the project managers, along with the crews who subsequently worked on the project.

5. Reconstruction of historical buildings and major cities is a huge drain on resources including time, energy, and money. Not to mention the displaced people who live and work in the area. Using virtual reality to offer an actual visual representation of the space being worked on would give the city's inhabitants the unique ability to be part of the construction project while staying safely away from the site. Offering them the space to have an opinion on the area being worked on 1. before construction begins is beneficial to everybody involved and cuts down on time and costs.

Virtual reality is reconstructing the way crews, designers, and project managers work to complete costly construction projects. By using virtual reality to train employees, present projects, redesign layout, and boost worker engagement and productivity, it's creating a more effective work flow for everybody involved. Overall, with the advancements made in VR, virtual reality is changing construction processes for the better.

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