Technologies that were either impossible or not feasible can now be used in your daily Architecture, Engineering, and Construction workflow. two such technologies are virtual and augmented reality, virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation, it blocks out your real world view, replacing it with a digital world whereas augmented reality gives you a mixed reality of both 3D and the Real world, it’s more enhancement to the real world, and can be a great tool when used in the industry.
a bunch of innovation and new uses have since sprung up, one of them is the use of VR and AR in Architectural Design and Construction, the technology has the potential to grow, and it’s only a matter of time before the now bulky hardware will shrink in size.
Why VR and AR
Convincing a client is becoming more difficult, it used to be you designed a building, show the client a 2D drawing, and they would be satisfied even though they might not have understood what you were trying to convey, today they want to see what they get,
it’s not fun having to redo stuff over and over again, wouldn’t it be great if you could get to the construction site, put on your headset, and voila, you see what you have to build before you build it. These are only a few ways Augmented and virtual reality empowers you to be efficient, opening up new frontiers, possibilities, and new ways to be productive, so let’s look at what you can do with what might be the biggest innovation in design, construction, and industry.
Augmented Reality is making designing more intuitive, the way I use it is with BIM (Building Information Modeling) software, BIM Modeling enables me to see both the 2D and 3D Building Simultaneously, you normally, get to a point where you had to present some type of prototype to your client, this was a process that took some time to complete, extending the timeline of the project,
especially if the client did not approve the design, Augmented reality makes it possible to present the project on-site or even in the design studio without any physical work, some applications are so intuitive that they allow the client to add and remove items from the design, time is critically reduced because you can then simply go back to the CAD software and change your design immediately.
Applications like Unreal Engine, Unity, and Twinmotion, make turning 2d CAD drawings and 3D Models into VR and AR a bit easier.
2. Virtual Walkthroughs.
You can show your client exactly how their house will look like, Augmented reality and virtual reality gives you that added advantage of putting on the headset and walking around the building, the client gets a scope of the building,
the size, placement of objects, color changes, and much more, you can now communicate with someone miles away, by simply sending them a small file over the internet and then explaining the design changes while the client participates.
3. Understanding 2D Drawing
The biggest challenge is to convince someone that the 2D drawing from AutoCAD In front of them makes sense, we perceive 3-Dimensional objects better than 2-Dimensional drawings, there’s a large list of tools on all software platforms that will enable you to do so, you don’t always have to use the headset, you could simply scan the drawing and then view it as 3D on your phone.
You can overlay 3d in real-world scale on the construction site, this not only helps the developers and site manager to see the scope of the project but also allow the construction team to do on-site testing, your team can preset the procedures that are going to be used when the actual work starts.
Augmented reality can also be used while the project is ongoing to check your progress, Microsoft’s Hololens Claims you can easily pin a screen while you are working on something for example pipes, color code them, see who worked on them before, the possibilities of both virtual and augmented reality is virtually enormous and will only increase as companies like Magic Leap and Microsoft improve on their devices.
5. 3D Scanning
3D mapping supplement’s the use of augmented reality headsets on the site, you can get the site scan of the adjacent buildings and make a convincing 3d model of the buildings surrounding your site, this not only helps with the visualization but also with the design process,
it can also be used to scan MEP objects like pipes and pumps, make changes to them, and then show the changes through the AR device you are using.
Safety on the worksite is very important, especially if it’s a large project, it can get dangerous to train with things like fire and acid, it’s equivalent to the type of simulated training pilots get before they can be certified,
the advantage of VR and AR is that you introduce a variety of Real work situations to the training simulation, to ready your workers for all eventualities.
We are at the beginning of the technology, and it will keep on growing, companies that are using the tech at the moment swear by it and encounter only small challenges like the limited field of view and some design issues.