Virtual Reality (VR) has made major advances over the last few years, and practical applications for the technology outside the entertainment industry have begun to appear. In construction, VR is far more than just a novel way to visualise 3D models, providing opportunities to improve designs and increase site safety.
There are three main areas where VR can provide major benefits to construction projects:
- Collaboration and Design Iteration
VR allows clients and contractors to view models at a human scale and perspective, making it much easier to examine details and understand how the space will look and feel when the project is finished.This means contractors and designers can advise onsite teams and alter designs remotely based on a clearer picture of how the site currently looks and what the end result will be, reducing miscommunication between onsite teams, remote teams and clients. This is especially useful for sites being built in difficult to reach locations.
Viewing a construction model in VR is the most intuitive and accessible way to experience a construction model, and allows contractors using differing design tools and standards to communicate and stay on the same page when discussing changes and problems. It is even possible for contractors to enter a shared VR space remotely. Being able to do this means designs can be iterated and errors corrected before construction even begins, rather than halting work to alter the design and making expensive, time-consuming changes to completed work. This results in faster projects, and higher client satisfaction.
- Training and Safety
Training new workers can be a time-consuming and monotonous task. There are many tasks and situations that cannot be fully taught in a traditional learning environment and are too dangerous or unsafe to practice in real life. VR can provide workers with practical, hands-on experience without risk, for example teaching workers to operate heavy equipment and vehicles.
VR’s risk-free environment allows instructors to simulate dangerous scenarios and safety procedures without any risk of injury or damaged equipment. Normally, training workers to use heavy equipment and vehicles can be expensive and has practical considerations such as providing the space, spare equipment and materials with which to teach and practice. Supplementing training with practice and lessons in VR can significantly reduce these costs.
- Marketing and Communication
When trying to attract investors to a project or find buyers and tenants before a project is completed, it can be challenging to convey how the end result will look and feel. Enabling clients and investors to take a virtual tour of the project before or during construction helps them to know exactly what to expect and gives them more confidence to invest.
For buyers and investors who are not experts in the construction industry, it can be very difficult to build a picture of what a project will look like from drawings and designs. Even 3D models and video pale in comparison to being able to experience it at a 1:1 scale complete with accurate lighting and the surrounding views.
Sahel Majali UK
Sahel Majali has been involved in the construction industry for more than three decades, and has always pushed to implement the latest technologies and techniques to improve construction projects. Mid Contracting Jordan was founded by Majali in 1991 to focus on dynamic construction and development. In 2015 he became Chairman for the Mid Group, one of the fastest growing offsite construction businesses in the UK. Follow Sahel Majali on LinkedIn for news updates about VR being used in construction.