The advent of the digital age has triggered a technological revolution within the construction industry. This article investigates the use of virtual reality in construction today.
What Is Virtual Reality?
Human beings experience the world through highly advanced perception systems. Schoolchildren are taught the five senses: sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell. Yet human senses are far more complex, featuring many more sensory inputs, such as balance, temperature, vibrations and pain.
The word “virtual” means as near to reality as possible. Humans experience reality through a complex combination of sensory information as our brains compute vast amounts of data through sense-making mechanisms. Virtual reality is essentially the process of presenting the human brain with a virtual environment that it can explore; a virtual world generated by a computer that is as close to reality as possible.
How Is Virtual Reality Used in Construction?
Every project is different as every construction is unique. Scaling construction projects has always been challenging, until the development of virtual reality technologies.
Creating 3D models of construction sites was a laborious, complex process, requiring specialist materials and lots of space. Creating miniature model construction sites was invaluable in terms of orienting the project, but this method lacked detail and was plagued by inaccuracies.
3D modelling technologies changed the construction industry forever, enabling architects, planners, contractors and clients to access minutely detailed models quickly and inexpensively. Not only are 3D models created through digital technologies more accurately than their traditional, handmade counterparts, but 3D modelling technology facilitates collaboration and cohesion between parties. This form of virtual reality enables contributors to immerse themselves in the project as though they were there physically interacting with the environment. Explore the PDF to find out more about 3D construction modelling.
Virtual reality enables project participants to see the site without travelling to it. This promotes real–time collaboration, enabling contractors to point out details, ask questions and flag up any areas of concern. Collaborators can strategize and problem-solve immediately, promoting project fluidity and cohesion between all parties. In the attached infographic, find out the key benefits of using virtual reality in construction.
As Chairman of the Mid Group, Sahel Majali has extensive knowledge and experience of the construction industry. The Mid Group is one of the UK’s fastest–growing construction companies, implementing cutting-edge digital technologies like BIM and virtual reality to keep ahead of the market.
In a recent interview, Ben Bennet, the Luminous Group’s Managing Director, explained the many applications of virtual reality in construction today, particularly in training. The Luminous Group is a pioneering virtual reality and 3D digital solutions provider. Find out more about how virtual reality is used in construction training in the video.
From a client’s perspective, virtual reality enables them to experience the finished construction before the first brick has been laid. Potential buyers can explore prospective properties and customise interiors to see how their new home will look in reality.
Freedom Architects is a Japanese company that builds around 400 custom–designed homes annually. Their clients receive a virtual tour around the property through 3D technologies.
Makuto Nagasawa, the company’s Director of Development, explained that virtual reality enables designers to immerse themselves in their creations in a matter of hours. Potential clients can see layouts and how interior spaces are used, adding furniture and paint to plot their dream home.
Virtual reality has helped to overcome many of the challenges traditionally associated with construction. It can be used not only to plan buildings, but to sell them, as well as to train new and existing employees.
Construction is a highly competitive industry. Many construction companies are turning to virtual reality technologies to streamline construction planning, giving them a competitive edge over their contemporaries.