Augmented Reality: First step towards futuristic construction
August 4, 2023, By: Revit BIM Services

Augmented Reality: First step towards futuristic construction

The construction industry has experienced exponential advancements over the last century. This tremendous progress is largely owed to the constant monumental technological innovations and advancements like Building Information Modeling (BIM), 3D printing, Virtual Reality (VR), Drones, etc. in the field of construction technology. One such innovation that has created lot of buzz in the industry is Augmented Reality (AR).

AR has widened the scope of various industries ranging from gaming to product design by opening up numerous possibilities that users had previously only dreamt about. In the AEC industry, it has helped enhance productivity and speed up operations related to the filed.

When incorporated appropriately in the construction industry, AR has the potential to help firms win more projects and clients, aid collaboration between team members and professionals from various disciplines as well as improve safety and security.

What is Augmented Reality?

In simple words, Augmented Reality refers to the ability of a device to use advanced cameras, GPS and sensor technology to superimpose computer-generated images and data on the user’s view of real world through a screen.

It enhances the user’s view of the actual world by adding digital visual elements, sounds and other sensory stimuli and presenting it in real time. It provides users with geospatial information, presenting pertinent data as the user moves through the space around him.

Scope of AR in Construction Industry

The AEC industry is constantly evolving and the integration of AR technology with construction opens up a host of possibilities. Professionals can reap maximum benefit of the AR technology by understanding its potential applying it in suitable areas to keep adding on to its current use in the industry.

Today, AR is being used in the construction industry to enhance efficiency, improve on-site safety and manage time, money and resources as well as optimize teamwork and collaboration by delivering real-time information.

Some of the numerous applications of AR technology in Construction sector are discussed below:

  1. Project Planning and Presentation

The role of AR in construction start from the planning stage itself. It enables the stakeholders to combine elements and details to the building plan thereby providing a better understanding of the project. Combining AR with BIM Services, architects and construction firms can exhibit working models to their clients. It can be used to showcase 3D models and give virtual tours which provides a precise and in-depth perspective to clients about what the building would look like even before construction phase begins.

Additionally, it also allows interior designing professionals to mix and match different designs, patters, layouts, fixtures and fittings, etc. and select what best suits the functional and aesthetic requirements of the clients.

  1. Real-time Progress Tracking

With this feature of the AR technology, professionals can keep updated with real-time developments in the project plan and also in the construction phase. It enables them to access and visualize data such as dimensions, location, style and type of additions to the structure ranging from architectural elements like windows and doors to MEP elements like ducts and pipes.

On-site personnel can utilize this information retrieval technology and visualize it superimposed on the elements that they see through their AR headset or tablet and compare it with the actual work being carried out. This ensures precision and timely delivery of requirements like materials and manpower in order to adhere to the project execution deadlines.

  1. Project Modifications

One of the most convenient innovations brought about by the AR technology in the construction industry is the ability to make changes and updates in the building models directly on site. Using AR enabled devices with a digital overlay of the project, users can make modifications to the project virtually. If and whenever the contractor come across any inconsistency in the physical attributes of the building, the necessary adaptations undertaken can be registered and updated in the 3D model of the building created using Revit Modeling Services.

This will allow them to have an accurate data of the model as it is built and will also aid them to know how such modifications can be integrated into the building project and how they might affect the rest of the structure. This characteristic of the technology will also warn the construction professionals about a problem that might arise in the future because off the adapted modification.

All recent alterations and adjustments are registered in the project plan that is accessible by all construction professionals, thus eliminating the risk of on-site personnel following obsolete plans.

  1. Enhanced collaboration and coordination

It is neither practical nor possible for all professionals to be present at the construction site at all times, causing delays in resolving issues until all parties are present at one place to review plans and register necessary modifications.

This is no longer an issue when AR technology is adapted by construction companies. It allows users to remotely view job site in real-time and capture notes, images and videos which can further be viewed and commented on by other distant users. This enhances collaboration between the on-site and remote team members in turn increasing productivity by eliminating unnecessary delays.

  1. Underground Construction

When carrying out excavation process, contractors need to be wary of the underlying gas lines and other utilities as damage caused to these can result in catastrophic explosions or harm. AR technology enables these professionals to view all the utilities lying beneath the surface, aiding them to avoid such disastrous outcomes. It uses GPS technology to map out and warn users of hidden underground cables, trenches or layers.

  1. Safety Training

In construction, just like in any other industry, safety is of utmost priority. To ensure safety of their own selves as well as that of others, it is crucial for workers to undergo extensive training before being allowed to work on site with real equipment and heavy machinery.

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AR allows for workers to be trained using virtual drills, machine operating guidance, hazard avoidance and control and evacuation protocols in a safe environment without anyone getting hurt. This training method enhances their safety awareness by delivering clear and precise instructions, thus reducing downtime training related expenses and delays.

The road ahead

With the rapid modernization of industries and businesses, adopting the latest technology to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations should be the primary goal of organizations. Early adoption will not only ensure their survival but also earn them a competitive advantage in the market.

In the initial planning stage of construction, AR has the potential to show the client the far and wide of what exactly is going to be built to ensure adherence to their specifications and requirements. It also ensures precise measurements through its ability to compute accurate dimensions. Additionally, it allows inspectors to make sure that workers adhere to building plans and latest revisions by capturing photos, pulling up checklists and retrieving notes on demand.

As mentioned, the benefits of AR in the AEC industry are abundant which is why many firms have begun implementing it in the early stages of development itself. Although the cost to companies for implementing this technology is significantly high for now, they are in the process of becoming more affordable. Thus, it is most definite that soon small to medium sized companies will also be able to enter the high tier competition by investing in this technology.