Construction has benefitted from the use of advanced technology like robotics, virtual reality, and augmented reality in more ways than one. In fact today the use of virtual reality in the construction industry has become so popular that almost all aspects of the same is being positively impacted by the immersive experience of virtual reality.
The use of BIM or Building Information Modelling has further augmented the use of virtual reality by its need of making 3D models of the construction project being designed. Virtual reality is defined as an environment simulated by the computer to enable people to create interactive models which appear almost real and physical.
Thus 3D models made within this environment not only present a life-like view of the project that is being conceptualised but also enables people to work in it just like they would in a real world. Thus it becomes easier to spot inaccuracies, make amendments and generally interact with the design. Thus its benefits and impact on the immediate future of the construction industry cannot be denied.
Some ways in which the construction industry makes use of virtual reality to get benefitted are:
- 3D Modelling: The BIM models used by engineers and architects shows the final structure as it would look after completion thereby enabling them to pre-empt discrepancies, obstacles and other problems even before they actually arise and find solutions to the same. The use of virtual reality takes these 3D models to the level wherein they become vivid and almost real. Another advantage of using a VR model is the accuracy with which these models are made. Its ability to make geospatially precise maps from work site data collected is a technological wonder which assists project managers in the designing and building or renovation of the same.
- Collaborative models: The creation of any construction model is a collaborative effort which requires the participation of the clients, contractors, designers, engineers, architects etc. VR has the capability to collect the requirements and expectations of all the collaborative members and create a model which reflects the vision of the client and the practicalities of the construction company. Working on the proposed concept in this way results in lesser mistakes and errors, misunderstandings and unwelcome surprises.
- Customer experience: Buying involves seeing and trying out things before making the final choice. Before the advent of VR, this concept was align in real estate but now buyers and clients are able to virtually see the final product thereby making it easier to make the choice of buying the same. In fact Augmented Reality enables a person to virtually walk through these models making it almost real.
- Professional training: Simulation training is an asset in any field and thus the construction industry too benefits from the use of VR to simulate project models, situations, equipments etc. This helps to impart training to people at rates which are cheaper than using their real alternatives. Thus virtual reality helps prepare students studying subjects related to the construction industry to face the real world in a much better way.
Yet with so many advantages the perception regarding the same is yet to change totally. This is because the implementation of virtual reality has a very costly point of entry. Thus the equipments required to implement VR like computers and compatible handsets etc., are quite expensive and at times beyond the reach of the local contractor. But the benefits attached help to phase out this initial cost in the long run. Additionally with the popularity that is currently being enjoyed by VR especially in the field of construction, most people are hoping for a reduction in the process thereby making them affordable.