What Businesses Need to Know about Modern Slavery Act
Ageing Pipelines Turn to Robotics for Much Needed Repairs
The Anatomy of Requests for Information (RFIs)
Putting Construction Waste in its Place
Why You May Need a Social Licence to Operate – And How to Get It
Reaching New Heights With Sustainability
Australia's Largest Waste to Fuel Plant Opens in Sydney
What Happens to Queensland's Site after Commonwealth Games?
By James Galvin
October 29, 2017
There is an abundance of technology set to disrupt industries across the globe over the coming years: artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain tech, autonomous devices. For construction, however, the chief disruptor could be virtual and augmented reality.
Imagine deciding to build a house one day – no small investment by any standards – and then briefing a construction company on what you desired the house to look like, what materials you like, what colours you love, and what architectural design you are fond of. Then, after just a couple of days, without any investment into the construction as of yet, imagine putting a headset on and being able to stroll through that house, examine the size of each room and the height of the ceiling, inspect the colours, and view the timber and exposed brickwork.
Although previously nothing more than a pipe dream, this practice has become nearly reality thanks to the evolution of virtual reality. With companies like Facebook throwing USD$2 billion into the new tech and some VR companies like Magic Leap being valued at over USD$4 billion without even creating a product, it is safe to say that this new tech is going to become far normalised and widely used.
The construction sector is already undergoing some change. Melbourne’s Deakin University has recently launched VR CAVE. It is an area students can move through and analyse, it serves to help them recognise potential design flaws in buildings and identify hazardous environments. Various other Australian universities including University of NSW, University of Adelaide, University of South Australia and Western Sydney University have begun development of a Situation Engine, where students can experience various different situation and environments to improve their learning and understanding.
Meanwhile, in the United States, McCarthy Building Companies were quick to adopt the technology to facilitate feedback on the design of the Martin Luther King Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Centre in Los Angeles. The construction company gave hospital staff VR headsets and a digital representation of the hospital before construction. This allowed the staff to give feedback as to where equipment should be placed and what amends need to be made to make the building as well-designed and prepared as possible. In hospital environments, small changes to where trashcans, electricity outlets, and load bearing walls are located are critical elements, sometimes saving people’s lives in the race to equipment and facilities.
Another piece of technology that is quite similar to virtual reality, and is already being used on some construction sites to change the way personnel interact with the site, is augmented reality. Using GPS tracking of each device and combined 3D architectural elements, an on-site worker can put on glasses or hold up a tablet/phone and see a three-dimensional concept of an object including labels, place markers, and measurements.
AR gives the ability to visually identify structural objects and how the elements interact. In the case of large-scale building projects like treatment plants, underground tunnels, and high-rise buildings it means greatly decreasing the chance of error, potentially saving millions in constructional costs.
The race is on for software and manufacturing companies, as the technological capabilities and applications become widely recognised to develop the products and reduce the cost.
If you liked this article, here are a few more you may enjoy:
‘Reality Capture’ – Using Photogrammetry in Construction
Altering Reality on the Jobsite
Technology 2017: What’s Hot and What it Means for Construction
virtual reality training
Virtual Construction Training is Emerging Slowly but Surely
The widest used rating system for green building is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It’s no surprise, then, that major U.... Read More
July 1, 2018
Hear Brad Hyatt, Associate Professor at California State University Fresno, discuss what students are learning in school to prepare them for const... Read More
Budget. Schedule. Quality. The trifecta of a project. But balancing that trifecta isn't easy to do. Our webinar, led by construction industry exper... Read More
Building in the "Big Easy" sometimes isn't. The challenges faced by Landis Construction aren't often understood by out-of-towners, because when it'... Read More
Estimating mistakes cost contractors plenty. And, with the demand from customers for estimates on-the-fly, the chances of missing the mark increase... Read More
In all big construction projects, time is money, and few projects drag along as painfully slow as high-rise buildings. A new method of construction... Read More
June 25, 2018
Improving safety and efficiency on projects is an important consideration for any construction company, and to that end, some are turning to unmann... Read More