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What is Augmented Reality in Construction?
Augmented Reality (AR) is a technological innovation that incorporates virtual elements into real surroundings. This revolutionalized technology is beneficial for construction architects, designers, engineers, PMs, and service providers.
Augmented reality in construction makes it possible to combine virtual architectural designs with the physical reality of a job site. This amazing technology increases accuracy and efficiency by reducing errors related to managing time, money, and resources. There are several applications that augmented reality has to offer in the construction industry but seven uses bubbled to the top of this list.
— Building Information Modeling and AR
— How AR works
— DAQRI smart glasses
— Morpholio AR Sketchwalk
By 2020, The global augmented reality industry is expected to grow by $90 billion. As the adoption of this technology increases in the construction industry, it will become a standardized tool for building projects. Recently, construction companies have been adopting augmented reality technologies as well as BIM (Building Information Modeling) because combined – they reduce the troublesome surprises during the construction process. Augmented reality gives a more accurate view of the building structure because it provides a more precise 3-D view of the 2-D drawings, which are very complex to interpret and understand. According to B1M, “Augmented reality provides a digital overlay of our real-world view, offering a range of data to site personnel – from design information to statistics on productivity and health and safety warnings.”
How Augmented Reality in Construction Works
Augmented reality overlays computer-generated video onto camera-captured video, so it appears in the exact location in the real world. As the camera streams real-world visuals, the computer displays the graphics algorithm that shows what the work is going to look like. In terms of construction projects, AR involves the placement of a 3D model of a prospective design onto the existing space combining BIM and the existing space.
1. Project Planning
The use of augmented reality gives firms the ability to understand the building more in-depth. AR can display the environmental and social impacts of the project visually. The value of augmented reality in construction begins in the planning and permitting stages. It gives firms the ability to showcase the end-product (e.g., completed building) on a very detailed level and how the structure will benefit or impact its surroundings.
In the planning phase of construction, it is crucial to make sure that your project plan aligns with the requirements of the client. By using augmented reality in conjunction with BIM, both the architects and construction firms can truly showcase functional models to their clients. Clients can make decisions based on the current plan and make changes before construction starts. Some applications can be downloaded on smartphones or tablets. Morpholio is an example of an app that can be used by architects to design the project by incorporating CAD in the planning phase.
2. Measuring Accurately
Augmented reality gear and wearables like DAQRI’s smart glasses and Microsoft’s Halolens can measure a space’s physical elements, including depth, height, and width. By incorporating BIM with augmented reality, companies can use models to accurately determine the dimensions and comprehensively view how the project will appear. Determining labor hours and materials needed will be more efficient by using augmented reality because it provides more accurate measurements.
3. On Job Site Revision
The best benefit of using augmented reality is the ability to see how features fit on the site. It gives project managers the visibility to see how everything fits on-site to scale before materials are ordered or the amount of labor needed for installation. Workers will be able to tap and automatically measure built pieces and compare them to the specified measurements from a model when wearing wearables on-site. On job-site revision allows for the discovery of inconsistencies in architecture and the prevention of high costs and delays by quickly adjusting to the changes.
4. Safety and Inspection
Safety is a common challenge in the construction industry. In terms of safety, wearables like the DAQRI smart glasses are used as safety equipment and for augmented reality’s inspection works. SRI, an augmented vision technological research institute, uses glasses (Microsoft Halolens) to transform jobsite operations to help construction inspectors save time, cut costs, and improve safety. Usually, the inspection process is done manually and often requires more than one person. An inspector can accurately align and compare the as-built structures against the BIM model. An inspector can capture photos on demand, or retrieve notes from location sites. On-site, complicated areas, and serious concerns become easier to recognize, identify, and can be shared instantly.
5. Underground Construction
In the excavation process, there is always a risk of potentially hitting a gas line or wrecking underground utilities. One wrong knick of an excavator’s bucket can cause catastrophic explosions or harm. AugView from Augmented Technology is a mobile product that enables users to see things that are underground, such as trenches or buried cables. Augview uses map views from google maps to let users see hidden underground cables or layers.
In the construction industry, there is a lot of machinery involved in the building process, and it requires many hours of training. But in this technologically advanced generation, there is an augmented reality headset that allows workers to receive direct instructions, and then act accordingly. With the augmented reality headset, it reduces the training costs and downtime utilized because the instructions are more intuitive.
Additionally, augmented reality can provide a safer training environment because staff can work with large machinery with reduced risk of injury.
7. Cost Savings
AR can increase labor productivity, reduce costs and improve safety by using it throughout the project lifecycle. For example, timelines are more likely to be met using AR wearables like DAQRI to show the workers what tasks need to be done and when they need to be completed.
With the rise of technology in our digital world, augmented reality is important to keep up with because it is becoming more common in the construction industry. In the planning stages of construction, AR can showcase to the client what is going to be built to ensure their requirements will be fulfilled. AR ensures accurate measurements because they can measure a space’s dimensions, including depth, height, and width. Another benefit of using AR in construction is the ability to have on job-site revisions by discovering problems and fixing them proactively to mitigate rework. Also, AR allows inspectors to retrieve notes, pull up checklists, and capture photos on demand. Finally, using AR in construction is on the rise, not only is it crucial for project management, but it also is a safe and labor efficient utility.