14 Ways Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in Construction Will Rule the Industry In 2022

14 Ways Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in Construction Will Rule the Industry In 2022

If you’re in the construction industry, your AR/VR technology options were limited to just looking at a screen or walking around a site. However, that changed when augmented reality mobile apps (e.g., ShopifyAR) and virtual reality (VR) apps (e.g., Seedmore AR) entered the commercial market.

Thanks to such applications as Layar, Oculus Rift, and Google Cardboard, you can use an iPad or iPhone app to scan the area around the project site and see what the job will look like finished.

Moreover, you can see how it compares to others or build it virtually while in VR mode, with no need for any equipment other than your smartphone and a VR headset. Augmented reality in construction is not just the future.

It is happening right now. Construction companies are adopting augmented reality rapidly with the recent technological innovation in this field. Employees and contractors are already using augmented reality technology to simplify their jobs and boost productivity.

The Power of AR/VR in Construction

Augmented reality and virtual reality are changing how we do business, including in the engineering and construction industry. We are currently seeing many companies investing in these technologies to make projects more efficient, safe, and cost-effective for their employees and clients.

The engineering and construction sector is also shifting towards increased use of offsite manufacturing techniques with components being manufactured in a controlled environment, often for multiple projects simultaneously.

This shift has changed how we work with our clients to design buildings, and how we assemble project elements has shifted from a sequential process onsite to a parallel process offsite.

In addition to the efficiencies this approach offers, such as improved quality, reduced waste, improved safety, and minor site disturbance, it also opens up the potential for using AR/VR technologies onsite.

Such technology could rapidly overlay virtual elements onto physical structures in real-time to help assembly teams understand how components should fit together without relying on costly physical templates or mock-ups.

14 Ways Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Will Rule the Construction Industry

1. Project Presentation

If you work on a construction site, you’re probably used to seeing architects and engineers coming to visit every once in a while. They usually take pictures of the place and make some notes before leaving. It’s a standard practice because they need accurate information to keep working on their plans or drawings.

In the future, it might be possible for them to get that information without ever leaving their office. Thanks to AR and VR technology, it might be possible for them to see how things are going through virtual reality goggles or some advanced version of Google Glass.

There are already companies building virtual models of construction sites based on real-world data. These models can be used by architects and other professionals who don’t have time to go out and check on every single project every week.

2. Progress Capture

When working on a large-scale project, it’s easy to lose track of progress. As a result, delays often go unnoticed until something goes wrong—and then you’re scrambling to fix problems that could have easily been avoided if they’d been caught earlier.

The ability for stakeholders to “visit” a construction site from anywhere in the world using an HMD will improve project coordination, reduce travel time and costs, and increase the speed of decision-making, thereby compressing project delivery schedules.

3. Training & Safety

To improve training and safety in construction, VR lets people experience site conditions without being there. For example, trainees can work with heavy machinery equipment in an immersive environment where they can make mistakes without fear of causing harm or damage to equipment or property.

And companies can use VR to train workers from different countries so they can share a common understanding of how things are done before they even arrive at the job site.

Safety is another area where AR and VR will transform construction over the next five years. For instance, imagine a worker wearing smart glasses that alert them when something is near their blind spot — like a forklift backing up — so they can avoid injuries on site.

4. Design & Planning

Architects and engineers also use virtual reality to design new buildings and structures before construction begins. Using VR, teams can see their designs in 3D, inside and out, which helps catch errors in advance. Ultimately, this speeds up project delivery while reducing costs.

5. Better Collaboration

We’re All Familiar with the Concepts of Remote working and teleconferencing. But it’s not just offices that are going remote; even warehouses are going remote. Recently, Amazon opened its first fully automated grocery store in Seattle without cashiers or checkout lines.

The only employees were restocking shelves and cooking food for the deli counter. Customers enter the store using an app, after which sensors track what they take off the stands for billing when they exit.

This is essentially remote shopping with no need for in-person checkout or customer service. How can this apply to construction? Construction teams can work collaboratively from different locations worldwide without traveling to the site or meeting in person before beginning a job.

6. Design

Designing buildings may seem like it doesn’t have much room for improvement, but that’s what people thought about drafting before 3D modeling happened. Architects learned that computers don’t just make drafting easier; they also make it possible to design things that are impossible to draw by hand.

Bentley Systems has been working on a program called ProjectWise Augmented Reality that lets architects see what a building site would look like from above and from the street, then add their designs to the real world using a tablet or even Google Glasses.

They can “see” if their finished building blocks the sun at a particular time of day for a nearby park or towers over a neighbor’s house. They can walk through their designs with clients and potential buyers or take them on virtual tours of historic buildings they’re restoring or remodeling.

7. Socially Distanced Jobsites

Until there’s a vaccine for COVID-19, companies will be required to maintain social distancing and other health measures on job sites.

This means that AR and VR headsets can take the place of workers who would otherwise be required to travel to the site. Workers can use these headsets to perform tasks, monitor progress, and collaborate with other workers.

8. Attracting New Talent

Younger generations are far more comfortable with digital devices than previous generations, and they can use these devices to learn how to operate heavy machinery or perform other tasks virtually.

This should help attract them to the industry while also improving safety on job sites because new workers won’t need as much onsite training.”

9. 4D Modeling and Visualization

This is part of BIM, Building Information Modeling, which is a process that involves creating digital representations of the physical characteristics of places. The reason it’s called 4D modeling is that 3D models were typically used before.

With 4D modeling and visualization, contractors can create a virtual timeline of the project, which allows them to plan and avoid potential problems and check for safety issues and other risks.

10. Smart Glasses

Smart glasses like Daqri Smart Helmet and DAQRI Smart Glasses are already used in the construction industry for hands-free access to information onsite, remote expertise support, training, quality assurance, safety checklists, data entry, asset tracking, and more.

As smart glasses become smaller and cheaper, this technology will become ubiquitous in the construction industry in 2022.

11. Reduce Time Spent On Revisions

Let’s imagine that you’re working on a large project, and your client decided they wanted to make a change to the design. You have to re-create all the designs by hand, which takes time and resources to use traditional methods.

But if you’ve already digitized all your plans in a 3D model, you can virtually update them instead. This way, you save time and eliminate errors that come with manual data entry.

12. Provide Content Reusability

You can use AR and VR to create simulations of a project with 3D models of all components like walls, windows, pipes, etc., giving you a complete view of all elements. This can also be used at other locations for future projects since it provides content reusability.

13. Boost Worker Engagement

Construction is one of the least attractive careers among young people who want to work with cutting-edge technology.

One way to make construction safer while attracting tech-savvy employees is to implement VR training solutions.

A study by PwC found that immersive technologies like VR help workers learn faster and retain information longer than traditional training methods like video or manuals do.

With VR training, workers can practice handling materials and operating equipment safely before applying those skills to real projects.

14.  Save On Costs and Materials

Before a single brick is laid, AR and VR technology helps designers visualize structures from every angle possible, even down to the smallest detail of window placement or trim color. This means less waste of materials in the long run because there are fewer errors during the building process.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, AR and VR are poised to impact the construction industry dramatically. And it won’t stop at floors, walls, and objects: these new technologies will eventually be used in the development of full-sized buildings.

There’s a bright future ahead for this technology, and construction businesses will want to watch how all of this shapes up.

Finally, even as we peer into the future to see which construction trends will dominate over the next four years, one thing remains confident: will construction continue to remain a pillar of our society?

We’ll be only slightly facetious by saying that we hope this article decreased your anxiety regarding the industry’s future. Now it’s up to you to get on board with the trends mentioned earlier and make sure that construction in 2022 is not distant but right around the corner.


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