The Future of Virtual Reality in Construction

July 22, 2017

As the entire world moves further into a digital age, virtual reality is already beginning to take hold of the construction industry. Serving architects and construction contractors, virtual reality allows companies to save time, money and even lives by simulating tasks that allow developers to view and show environments to clients before spending millions of dollars in development.


Existing Virtual Reality Technologies

The technologies that currently exist in construction presentations use a combination of Building Information Modeling (BIM) and other immersive elements that allow developers to review 3D environments of their designs. This allows them to avoid costly changes, unhappy clients and pinpoint flaws to create a smoother, more precise building process.

In regards to augmented reality for contractors, the biggest benefit is the way it provides architects with the ability to view the real world in a way that allows them to overlay their designs onto it to view structural and design elements as they would look when finished. This also aids in the sales process, as clients are able to visually see how their construction would look when finished.


While existing augmented reality technology is still up and coming, Microsoft has released a conceptual idea for an application that would accompany their HoloLens AR-enabled glasses. The application would serve as a guide to a construction project by eliminating the need for physical blueprints.


The Benefits Continue to Grow

As construction logistics animation continues to grow in popularity and precision, owners and employees are seeing an improved pace at which clients make decisions. The ability of the architects and construction companies to show their clients the finished environment before it is constructed allows clients to make decisions at a faster pace and helps eliminate future changes they might want to make before it is too late.


While this serves any industry, it is particularly important to customers that want to virtually walk through a room or building so they can envision the project, decide what they want, and feel comfortable throughout the construction phase. The virtual reality experience for construction is much more immersive and user-friendly for clients than looking at blueprints or even 3D models on a computer screen.


The future of virtual technology in construction looks as bright as the rest of the technology world. As technology continues to advance in precision, developers will be able to provide more accurate and immersive renderings that will help do away with blueprints, 3D models and second guessing from clients.


Design Visualization Leads to Increased Client Satisfaction

Fortune published an article detailing the ways in which virtual reality is reshaping the construction industry. Among these was the ability to allow clients to make changes to a building before construction commenced. By utilizing virtual reality, clients can make as many changes as they want before construction begins, which leads them to feel like they are more in charge of the process and under less pressure in the pre-construction phase.


The article provided a case study from McCarthy Building Companies out of Roseville, California, which has begun utilizing a gaming computer with an Oculus VR headset and Xbox remote to show their clients what a blueprint would look like in real life. The vice president and CIO Mike Oster said, "When we started embracing VR in the design and building process, we began seeing faster project approvals, increased positive client interactions and higher client satisfaction."


The time is now. Investing in virtual reality and presentation training for contractors has proven to increase client satisfaction, avoid billions of dollars in costly construction changes and lead to an overall more precise design and final construction.

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