4 Applications for Augmented Reality in Construction Management
Augmented reality in construction management might seem like a huge expense. However, early adopters are finding the time and financial benefits to using augmented reality and building information modeling on their projects. More companies are investing in applications and wearables for augmented reality. And many are focusing specifically on how it will benefit construction and building gear to fit the job. From seeing how things will look before ground breaks to accurate measurements, there are many different applications augmented reality has for construction.
How it Works
Augmented reality is the incorporation of a computer-generated image on a person’s view of the real world. It provides a view of both what the world and work actually look like and what it could look like. The most popular augmented reality wearable in construction is the Microsoft HoloLens, but there are a growing number of companies developing their own wearables. One of the big reasons why construction companies choose the Microsoft HoloLens is the price and the fact it’s now certified as basic protective eyewear. Users can use computer-generated models both on the site and in the office to see what the final product will look like, proving the value of augmented reality in construction management.
Showing Plans to Local Governments
Between building information modeling and augmented reality, architectural firms and construction companies will know how a building will fare over time. Firms can use augmented reality to fully explain the building. They can explain the environmental and social impacts of the project in a visual way. The visual aspect of the building plan, plus time lapse of building information modeling, help officials understand the impact of the building. The value of augmented reality in construction management in the planning and permit stages is and will continue to be incredible. It gives firms the ability to showcase what it is that they’re building (seeing the end-product) and how the structure will benefit or impact its surroundings.
Showing Plans to Clients
Clients see computer-generated images or drafts, and they might have a slightly different image or vision for what they expected. 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. Construction companies like Mortensen and McCarthy Building Companies are incorporating more augmented reality to engage clients. By engaging clients early on it prevents costly fixes later and keeps clients interested in the project. They can see their vision, they know they’re heard, and they know work is being done. It makes augmented reality in construction management a major investment in reducing costs for re-work.
It might sound odd, but augmented reality actually helps measure spaces more accurately. Augmented reality gear collect data on a space’s height, width and depth. This means using augmented reality in construction management projects incorporates all dimensions into usable models. When using augmented reality, many companies use drones to take near perfect measurements of the space. Then using a building model or computer model of the structure with an accurate measurement, project managers know what it will look like. They have accurate measurements of the equipment and other parts of the building and can see how it fits on the jobsite. Especially in construction, accurate measurements are crucial to work performance (labor, time and materials) and can be improved by augmented reality.
On the Site
The best benefit to augmented reality is the ability to see how things fit on the site. It gives project managers the tools to see how everything fits on site before parts are ordered or assembled. Gilbrane Building Company saved thousands of dollars thanks to errors caught by project managers with a HoloLens. While most companies are using VR helmets, glasses and other wearables on the sidelines for safety, it looks as though it will soon be available to walk through the site. It helps projects managers know how the plumbing, electrical and other utilities will fit into the structure so they can plan for it.
Future of Buildings
Augmented reality is gaining speed in construction as it is one industry that will clearly benefit from it. Construction companies that have implemented augmented reality are already seeing the financial benefits. As the technology gets better, augmented reality will be more common on jobsites and in meeting rooms.