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Virtual Reality for construction projects & Architects

January 19, 2022

During Architectural Planning and Design

CAD design plans, image

VR (Virtual Reality)  can be immensely useful at the earliest stage of a project to help teams perform an end-user study and gain insight from those who will be using the space. The team is then able to incorporate end-users ideas and feedback into the design/ drawings.

Users can provide valuable insights into the moods of various spaces, furniture layouts for offices and lobbies, medical equipment layout for hospitals, the workflow of staff, check visual line of sight for nurses and security guards, safe access for facility managers, etc.

Advanced VR Systems also extracts the metadata from users, tracking where users focus their gaze in the virtual space and foot traffic through heat maps.

In the place of retail space, the gaze tracking feature of VR gives tangible benefit, where the owners will be able to direct store planning accordingly which will increase the sales. This helps reveal patterns in which users are interacting with the building, which can help influence space utilization and provide data for the development and validation of architectural features.

During project brief community outreach

Using VR in a team meeting, image
During the project briefing stage, VR can be used to show how the architects and town planners approach the project and tackle the citizen challenges.

This helps key project stakeholders better visualize and understand the logistics around their projects, as well as allows for better communication among team members.

VR can also be used to create excitement and get feedback from the public and end-users, showcasing the project.

During coordination/construction

Using VR to explain the building information model, image

VR can be used to create virtual mockups in lieu of physical mockups that enable better visualization of distinguished finish features and complex installations, which are sometimes misinterpreted when only viewed on screen. This immersive VR environment or the extended reality (XR) helps to align expectations for the installation of complex or high-end finish work among owners, designers, and contractors

During the MEP coordination process, facility managers can use VR to review the layout of access panels to gain a realistic sense of their location and accessibility. Facility managers are also able to review equipment access panel locations to determine the most efficient equipment location and orientation for access and maintenance. This feedback can be tied directly into changes in the BIM to be adjusted accordingly.

During safety planning, the EHS team can use VR to review the safety points and coordinate major crane picks over occupied facilities that cannot be typically shut down for construction work. The extended reality environment in this context allows for an effective way to visualize and communicate the impact of major construction events in existing facilities that could potentially be missed when viewing through traditional methods.

During site logistics planning, field teams can use VR to communicate the impact and disruption of construction activities to the communities in surrounding neighborhoods, those in adjacent buildings, and those in the same building.

During facility management and operation

Using VR for planning a building, image

The hand-over of a VR model can enable building owners and facility managers to better understand how building systems work and act as a metaverse copy of the building. Consequently, it helps them to provide training to building staff and personnel; to provide better maintenance through a clear understanding of access requirements, location of equipment, etc.; to create safety plans for areas that cannot be easily accessed (ex: lab spaces, clean rooms, fabrication rooms, operating rooms, nurseries, etc.); and much more.

The final hand-off of the VR model to facility managers also can include metadata that contains the names and properties of equipment as well as operations and maintenance documentation. This further enables facility managers to better inform and train their staff as well as provide valuable building information in the context of where equipment is actually installed.

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