5 ways AR can be used in construction
By Daniel Martin
May 13, 2021 | 4:18 pm CDT

Image by Borko Manigoda from Pixabay

It is interesting to see how far the construction industry has come. Before, the design plans would be in the form of sketches and drawings on paper. Generating proper designs depended on the experience and training of the planners. The possibility of errors and inefficiencies was very high.

Now, augmented reality, 3D models, and interactive experiences are taking center stage. This article will look at five applications of how AR is finding use in the construction industry.

Augmented reality in the construction industry
Augmented reality superimposes a virtual world on the physical one. With the proliferation of smartphones, AR is now easy to access. All you need is the right app, and you are good to go.

This is unlike virtual reality (VR). This needs specialized equipment like headsets and goggles. There’s so much to explore with VR and there’s even more to come according to AR VR news.

AI in the construction industry presents a wide range of possibilities and opportunities. You can impose architectural designs on a physical job site.

The amount of savings in time, money, and human resources are quite significant. So how can those in the construction industry best use AR?

1: AR in project planning
The construction team has to have a good understanding of the building and construction process. They must also consider social and environmental impacts. You have to develop layouts. These are critical for planning and getting the relevant permits.

The amount of detail that goes into project planning is immense. Ideally, anyone looking at the plan should have a good idea of the final output. You must satisfy the client that you have captured every detail as per their needs.

Before, you had to depend on imagination and excellent design sketches. You needed to capture everything so that everyone was on the same page. In case of any changes or errors, you had to go back to the drawing board.

But now, AR allows for a realistic presentation of the layout. Imagine the cost of having to make changes to a structure once it’s already built up. You lose money and time that could impact the bottom line of the business.

With AR, you can make changes to the virtual model. You do them before implementing them on the actual building. It can also be a fantastic aid when doing renovations. The team can make the changes on the virtual building first. You get to identify and fix any errors before making changes to the existing structure.

2: AR for measurement applications
A typical construction process incorporates a lot of measurements. It is not uncommon to find construction teams whipping out tape measures. AR applications like the BIM app bring precision to measurements.

The digital rulers take real-time measurements. It gives a better understanding of the design and construction projects.

3: Better interaction with the project
With AR, teams get an opportunity to interact with the building before it’s even completed. Instead of using mental visualization, you can have the actual thing right in front of you.

Using your smartphone or tablet, you can walk around the project site to get a feel of the room and space. An interior designer can, for example, start visualizing where to place furniture and decorations.

The client can also give immediate feedback to the teams. It saves time because the teams don't need to wait for the final building to start work.

The visualization also helps identify areas that may present some level of risk. Underground utilities like electricity or gas lines can cause problems. If by bad luck the teams damage them, it could cause a lot of damage. The cost of repairs and delays to the project could be significant.

Some AR technologies like AugView allow the teams to see what is underground. It uses information from Google maps to provide visualizations of what you can’t see.

4. Better team collaboration
If you have ever been to any planning meeting, you know how much back and forth happens between teams. It can be challenging if you are depending on someone's imagination to understand what you're saying.

Incorporating the use of AR in planning can help streamline some of the processes. With visuals, everyone will be on the same page.

Collaboration is also critical during the actual construction process. But how many times will you get the whole team on the ground at once? Sometimes a project can grind to a halt as everyone waits for feedback from one contractor.

AR provides real-time feedback that is accessible by every team member, no matter where they are. The remote working capabilities help with efficiency. Remote team members can view photos or videos and make decisions.

AR can give support to field service engineers. Most of the time, they have to travel to sites to do their work. But AR allows for remote surveillance and maintenance. A company can handle many projects without incurring the cost of travel every single time.

5: Safety training in construction sites
One of the most critical considerations in any construction site is safety. Reputable companies spend a lot of time training workers. They must learn how to navigate around construction sites and equipment.

They also learn safe handling of machinery and so much more. While critical, training can be time-consuming and costly.

Companies must find areas to simulate different scenarios that could happen on site. AI allows for the simulation of equipment, tools, and different scenarios. Companies can provide a safe learning environment.

Even if the trainees make a mistake, it is in a virtual world. You don't have to worry about anyone getting hurt or pay for damaged equipment.

In summary, augmented reality in the construction industry provides a lot of benefits. There is higher efficiency in the processes. It helps in communication by providing visualizations that could help with decision-making.

The construction teams cut down on the time it takes to come up with layouts and designs. Other benefits are better accuracy with measurements, job revisions, and remote access.

Companies can also save a lot in training and on-site safety. Without a doubt, there is a lot of potential for AR in the construction industry.

Author: Daniel Martin is editor at ARVRTips. For information visit arvrtips.com.

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