There is currently a shift in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction) industry to embrace BIM as a tool that can assist in integrating the fragmented industry by eliminating inefficiencies and redundancies, improving collaboration and communication, and enhancing overall productivity. By adding VR, the BIM solution can address retrieving and presenting information and increasing efficiency on communication and problem solving in an interactive and collaborative project. Architects don’t make buildings. Architects make drawings of buildings. But of course, someone has to make the building. Using techniques like visualization, simulation, and virtual prototyping, BIM allows architects to preview a series of potential scenarios before the process of building even starts, with the aim or foreseeing any potential dangers for crews before they are even on site.
“Don't be afraid to explore the possibilities. Technology can improve accuracy, efficiency and safety of construction projects.”
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) can eliminate the need for architects and owners to make frequent site visits, as well as streamlining the construction process itself. Both AR and VR can help in conducting “virtual site visits,” saving time and money.
Walkthrough is the most popular as the user can view the 3D model in a virtual environment in real time from multiple perspectives of the building, from inside or outside.
Consulting data concerns the possibility to retrieve information centralized in a BIM model, namely, data associated with parameters that compose the parametric objects used in the modelling process.
The investments being made and rapid growth in both AR and VR software and hardware definitively demonstrate these technologies are already playing major roles in design, construction, and operations and will only continue to become more prominent in the future. BIM/VR applications can contribute to reduce costs due to the construction of a real mock-up, and to avoid mistakes on site that generates material wastes. The challenge will be for firms to train their staff on the technology and to use VR to its full potential.
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