Your experience of VR or brush with virtual reality, by and large, is limited to gaming like most other individuals. VR technology, which can simulate and augment a real environment or setting, initially found extensive applications in the gaming industry. However, VR has evolved and developed hugely over the years so much so that the technology is now being extensively used in several industries.
Of all the commercial or industrial segments that are increasingly exploiting virtual reality, the construction sector is one industry that stands out. VR can transform 2D and 3D designs and drawings into interactive and dynamic ones, thanks to standalone features like surround sound and haptic feedback. No wonder the construction industry is adopting VR along with AR (augmented reality) and MR (mixed reality) for improved safety, better design and client satisfaction, and, most importantly, monetary savings.
Several studies and surveys conducted on VR in the recent past have pointed out that architects, interior designers, and construction industry professionals consider the technology to be the most crucial budding technology.
How Can VR Benefit The Construction Sector?
The gradually increasing application of VR in the construction industry spells numerous benefits for the latter. One bright and straightforward advantage is the creation of more efficient and accurate designs. Until architects started tapping VR, they had to rely on 2D and 3D models of building projects that often did not seem realistic to clients.
Additionally, architects and interior designers had a hard time convincing potential customers that the projects, once complete, would look exactly like the blueprints. Moreover, hitherto once construction of a structure started, effecting changes suggested by clients used to be very time consuming and expensive.
And this is precisely where virtual reality comes into play. The technology can be instrumental in helping spot problems, get rid of errors, and fine-tune the concept or design before the blueprint is approved. Consequently, construction companies and builders can keep a rein in cost overruns by ensuring that the proposal is perfect in all respects for execution.
Additionally, contractors and builders feel confident that they’ll be able to complete the project without overshooting the deadline, thanks to the perfectness of the plan. VR can also go a long way in facilitating realtors and real estate agents to promote a project under construction.
Reinforcing a 3D building project with VR enables prospective clients to undertake a virtual walk-through, resulting in better customer experience.
A VR-enabled design allows the potential end-user to take a virtual tour of the project right in his home or office. The prospective client is spared the trouble of visiting the upcoming project in person, thus saving him both time and money, mainly if the site is remotely located. Last but not least, a VR-oriented construction model makes it easier for the client to make an informed purchase decision.
VR can benefit every stakeholder involved in a new construction project in the following ways:-
Promotion of New Construction Projects
A building plan or project may appear perfect and accurate to the professional who has conceptualized it. Nevertheless, the problem arises when the architect or the promoter needs to market the proposal to future clients. 2D or 3D design renderings may not appear realistic and practical to customers as they may not be well-versed in architectural concepts.
However, VR technology enables clients to observe the project almost in the same way they’d have surveyed the site in person. Currently, designers and architects have access to various VR design software applications and packages that help in creating projects that will allow potential customers to take a virtual tour. As an architect or urban planner, if you’re not very conversant with digital design software, VR design apps can appear somewhat intimidating initially.
However, once you become acquainted with the hardware and software associated with VR design, you’ll be reaping huge benefits. You’ll be able to showcase your project to your clients in a manner where they’ll see everything precisely in the way you want them to notice. Once you become adept at developing a plan using the VR design app, you’ll never again have to struggle to convince your clients about the practicality of your design concepts.
You and every other professional engaged with the project will find it easier to transform your 3D blueprints into VR-compliant ones for presenting to clients using VR technology. Advanced VR design apps and software let prospective clients to not only explore the entire surroundings virtually but also customize the setting as per their preferences.
VR design apps such as Visidraft, Pair, Enscape, and Augment allow architects, interior designers, and clients to tweak the floor plan, modify a room’s décor, and so on. The growing interface of VR with the construction industry is leading to a situation where architects can create a virtual 3D representation that is in perfect sync with the actual built environment. One hopes that the gradual evolution of VR will make accessing the technology more affordable, ultimately benefiting everybody having a stake in a construction project.
Immersive Walkthroughs Leading to Better Customer Satisfaction
VR technology can make new building projects appear lifelike and lively in a way that 3D and 2D architectural renderings can never accomplish. VR design software, together with Premium VR headsets like Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, and Valve Index, allows designers and architects to produce virtual and immersive project plans. On the other hand, clients can use a very pocket-friendly VR headset(like Google Cardboard) for exploring the 2D/3D project in the same way as the architects do.
A client, by observing the VR version of a three-dimensional or two-dimensional project, may be able to appreciate the project in a better manner. Simply put, the client might have a fair idea of how the proposal will look in reality once construction is complete. The customer will find it convenient to make a practical decision sooner than later once he perceives and experiences the 3D plan in virtual reality.
VR has a vital role to play in boosting the overall customer experience by allowing the prospective landlord or property owner to explore the space without having to travel fully. The technology offers future clients a sound understanding of how a property will appear post-construction and how it will feel like living within the space.
VR may come in handy not only with new projects but with reconstruction and restoration as well.
Higher Possibility of Meeting Deadlines
Construction delays and missing deadlines time and again is a notorious stumbling block plaguing the real-estate sector throughout the world. There’s no gainsaying that even the slightest of alterations in the project could delay or holdup completion by several days or even months. Virtual reality allows project managers to oversee the work progression in real-time and make changes right away if necessary, thereby minimizing the chances of time overruns.
Savings on Labor Costs
VR technology can prove extremely useful in bringing down labor costs in the long run. Project managers and supervisors can harness virtual reality in conjunction with smart construction equipment, thus enabling only relevant work to be carried out using a limited number of workers. For instance, site supervisors can exploit virtual reality to estimate in advance the number of rebars to use in a specific area.
After that, the site manager can deploy the appropriate machinery and operators instead of dispatching the same without assessing in advance. Thus preempting what exactly needs to be carried out using VR not only helps in saving upfront on labor costs but also inefficient time management.
Updated Visibility Means Less Rework
Virtual reality offers a simulated view of the latest state of affairs of the Jobsite. Simply put, VR enables project developers and managers to double-check whether everything is proceeding according to plan. This dramatically minimizes or reduces the likelihood of negligence and oversight, which could lead to costly rework.
Even a trivial error in constructing a structure can turn out to be disastrous with work coming to grinding in the worst-case scenario. VR-enabled 3D project designs permit building contractors to make out well ahead of the likely errors that might occur in the future. VR can help in identifying and troubleshooting miscalculations and mistakes, especially when it comes to implementing intricate designs that call for the excellent coordination of all concerned.
It does not bear emphasis that professionals and workers engaged in the construction sector have to work under life-threatening conditions. Construction industry professionals more often than not find themselves working in high-risk situations, and therefore, providing them high-quality training is crucial. Micro-learning and VR training apps are now finding extensive applications in the construction sector, which are eventually facilitating better training of workers.