Lucrative project delivery is based on Building Information Modeling (BIM), and decisive collaboration. Along these lines, the visualization of a BIM model through immersive technology or VR is the most effective method to gain a greater perspective in the world of construction.
Various project issues can be addressed in construction such as operational feasibility, time, cost, and more. As BIM contains visual and well-informed information, it can improve project efficiency, productivity, cost, and time. In this article, we discuss the integration of Virtual Reality (VR) to augment BIM projects through VR based workflows and project collaboration.
A positive & successful BIM-based project delivery is based on mutual collaboration. This primarily relies on high-quality & information-rich 3-D models. The ability of a BIM model to augment project delivery requires much more than large computer display units, it requires project stakeholder presence as well. An immersive medium like Virtual Reality is a high-impact solution to visualize a 3D model. A Virtual Reality simulation eliminates most of the onsite problems like installation, feasibility, and more. Furthermore, various Virtual Reality tools have been introduced in the market, but little is known about their adoption in the world of AEC.
This article focuses on a VR based workflow to augment BIM projects through collaborative techniques. This includes using immersive technology to solve various on-site challenges using actual BIM models. AEC projects have long been exposed to project delays and growing building costs. The need to eliminate unnecessary costs can be challenging, but the adoption of new technology can significantly reduce this risk through new Virtual Reality (VR).
Challenges in the adoption of a VR based workflow
- Inability to adopt new technology based on an old working mindset
- The inability of the workforce to understand new immersive processes and tools
- The inability of a firm or enterprise to invest in VR devices
Benefits of using a VR based workflow
- Better project coordination – onsite and offsite
- Identify potential challenges in project design
- Greater efficiency in building up a robust information model for a digital twin
- Better chance of winning bids or tenders
- Reduce project cost and turnaround times
The adoption of BIM in the AEC sector
The true adoption and value of BIM were initiated a decade ago in the US & UK. Looking at the potential value that BIM has to offer, other countries in Europe and the Middle-East followed in the same footsteps. But, there were potential challenges in the adoption of BIM –
- AEC companies and professionals could not understand the actual process
- The inability of enterprises, owners, and stakeholders to change building mindset
- Inability to understand long-term benefits
- Skill-set inadequacy
- Inadequate investment to adopt the BIM process through its process and technology
- Collaboration issues between various departments or trades
But, through greater adoption of BIM on a global scale, owners, AEC enterprises, and various engineering professionals embraced the world of Building Information Modeling (BIM). Every company or owner adopts BIM at various levels, viz. BIM level 1, BIM level 2, or BIM level 3.
(Based on research conducted by Market Research Engine, the global BIM market would reach a market value of 13.2 billion US dollars, by the end of 2024.)
There are many reasons why a VR based workflow should be adopted in a BIM project, but there are 5 principal opportunities that project owners, AEC firms, and stakeholders need to leverage through VR based workflows.
As modern construction technology is shaping new project processes and workflows, it is pretty evident that it delivers greater value with smaller device sizes. From apps on mobile to hand-held laser scanners, and VR glasses, technology has set the road on solving major construction problems, and embrace BIM projects with substantial rewards.
Virtual Reality workflows are the next best thing in 3D BIM modeling, as it places project stakeholders right inside a 3D environment using modern immersive technology.
Enhanced Model Interaction
Workflows based on Virtual Reality have the potential of augmenting 3D model experiences for Architects and Designers. It allows them to interact with models more intuitively, thus creating project designs that are built on software before the final product is ready to be built. The reasons it has greater viability in the construction sector would be –
- It displays high interactive capabilities or the ability for users to interact in an immersive medium
- It can create spatial characteristics or 3D
- Users can leverage data or information from 3D models in real-time
With the technology to garner and use information directly from a 3D model, collaboration can move from an interdisciplinary to multi-disciplinary mode.
High-end visual representation
Virtual Reality provides users a highly accurate spatial-visual representation for the exploration of a digital model. Immersive technologies deliver in-depth perception through high image quality based on head-mounted devices that provide users with the experience of being present in a virtual environment.
This helps project stakeholders understand the project in totality with all the elements and objects present as intended by the owner, architects, etc. This is one of the principal reasons why VR technology is adopted very early on in the BIM process to understand the interpretation and perceptions of various minds involved in the BIM project.
High Scalability improves project turn-around times
As every project is unique in its way, VR helps project stakeholders stay up to speed on relevant issues through project collaboration. By creating and using accurate 3D models of a large and complex project, it becomes imperative for project personnel to review it based on a collaborative basis.
The adoption of VR takes it to an all-new level by making people interact in a virtual environment through project walkthroughs and examine the site in real-time.
Collaboration is key when it comes to BIM – VR partnerships
VR makes it easy for team members to collaborate in real-time. They can work in a shared environment whilst making interpretations, taking crucial decisions, asking questions, and more. The presence of collaboration reduces turn-around times, rework, and enhances accuracy, and the level of communication at all trade-levels.
Adopting a VR based workflow helps remote teams work on the same page, and understand project requirements very early on in the design phase. Furthermore, during the construction phase, it helps provide a high-level of input for on-site installations and deliverables.
VR based workflows push customer reality to the next level
The presence of a VR based workflow helps building owners and stakeholders push customer perceptions to the next level. Instead of using 2D paper drawings, consumers can get inside their 3D project models and get a 360 view of their deliverables and the final project.
This creates an environment where owners and stakeholders can project complete transparency in front of the customer, and make informed decisions based on client expectations. Customers can see their project unfold at every step of the project that includes viewing layouts, lighting, spaces, real-time objects, and more.
Virtual Reality is at a fundamental state when it comes to BIM projects and collaboration. It allows various users to feel the space in real-time, as opposed to just viewing it. With VR workflows at the helm, users gain the ability to feel certain objects and environments through devices based on head motion or movements.
A VR based BIM workflow helps owners, stakeholders, and users understand complex geometry in the field of architecture and deliver value & definition for every project. By using modern processes and technology, a BIM VR workflow helps engineering firms tackle various challenges and add greater profitability, value, and gratifying construction experience.
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