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New Technologies in Construction: Virtual Reality

Virtual reality was originally conceived as a gaming tool, but the gaming industry is not the only one that can benefit from the ability to immerse into a new reality.

Many problems in the construction industry stem from the inability of architects, designers, engineers, and field personnel to actually experience a project before it is built. Computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D modelling and Building Information Modelling (BIM) can present systems, spaces, and formats during the preconstruction phase, but certain faults related to construction and design only appear when the process has already started. When this happens, plans have to be changed and blueprints resubmitted, all of which can bring work temporarily to a halt. Construction virtual reality is a growing immersive technology that can solve this dilemma.

BIM programs and 3D modelling can now be adapted to create a fully virtual representation of a design or concept. The client or user dons a headset and can ‘see’ everything by turning their heads and looking up and down. They experience the project virtually, meaning that they can see if the finished building looks and feels like they imagined. This ability is a major advantage for several reasons:

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  • There is an opportunity to review small details, like whether a piece of furniture or equipment will fit in a particular space, and advise the contractor accordingly.
  • Collaboration and communication between client and contractor are greatly improved. The possibility of misunderstanding is reduced, preserving the relationship, and everyone has the opportunity to provide input.

Construction virtual reality also makes it much easier for people across the country and even the world to work on the same project. Everyone involved can meet in a virtual conference room, which can be a more engaging medium than communicating via email or hosting a traditional conference call. In addition, those who help plan a project but don’t live close enough to see the work in progress can be given the chance to virtually survey their work and point out any improvements or issues that they would not have spotted otherwise.

VR technology is in its early stages of development, but more and more construction firms are integrating it into their design processes and strategies. As time passes, it’s becoming more apparent that construction virtual reality is changing the way that the industry works, so any firm that adopts it will be ahead of most competitors and have a powerful tool that allows it to complete projects to an even higher standard.

Specialists in Construction Insurance

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