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Implementing AR into Construction

02/03/2021

Studio Victoria

4 minutes

Since we have already explored what Augmented Reality is and the benefits of Augmented Reality for Construction. In today's article we are going to explore why and when you should be incorporating Augmented Reality into the Construction Industry by answering the following questions: What is Augmented Reality? Why should the Construction Industry incorporate Augmented Reality? And when should you implement Augmented Reality into your Construction projects? Keep reading to find out how Augmented Reality can help you to #ONEUPYOURBUSINESS!

WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY?

Augmented Reality, also commonly abbreviated to AR, is defined as an interactive experience of an existing real-world environment where additional objects and information are overlaid on top of the already existing world. For example, a method of experiencing AR is by using a specialist smartphone application that has access to your phone’s camera, where you can point at an object that you would like to learn more about or interact with, and additional information and elements will appear. Augmented Reality applications you may already be familiar with include: Pokémon Go, IKEA Place, and Google Lens.

Therefore, when compared to Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality enhances the user's interaction with the real-world via their mobile or tablet that gives them extra layers of data, whereas Virtual Reality enables the user to immerse themselves in a computer-generated environment using headwear.

WHY SHOULD THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY INCORPORATE AUGMENTED REALITY?

The technology is useful for construction architects, designers, engineers, and so on, as AR makes it possible for the Construction Industry to combine virtual architectural designs with a job site's physical reality. With Android’s ARCore and Apple’s phenomenal ARKit, developers can easily incorporate the benefits of AR into smartphone applications for the Construction Industry.

Augmented Reality applications are a great way to give your managers and clients additional information when conducting visual inspections. AR allows them to make better-informed decisions and maximise their efficiency, and therefore it will help you reduce your costs. All you must do is simply point the camera to the object that you want to inspect, and additional layers of information will pop up e.g., videos, external links, CAD floor plans, thermal reports, etc.

In a previous article, [Augmented Reality for Construction](/blog/augmented-reality-for-construction/ Augmented Reality for Construction"), we outlined in great detail the benefits of AR for the Construction Industry and below, we outline the top advantages mentioned that explain why you should be incorporating AR:

  • Increases safety
  • Improves project planning
  • Optimises design
  • Enables construction site monitoring and tracking
  • Provides accurate measurements
  • Compatible with [BIM](/blog/why-you-should-implement-bim/ BIM")
  • Supports better decision-making
  • Increases efficiency
  • Speeds up time and saves money on projects

WHEN SHOULD YOU IMPLEMENT AUGMENTED REALITY INTO YOUR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS?

There is no right or wrong answer for when you should implement AR into your construction projects as it will depend on what suits your needs. However, as BIM Level 2 is of high importance and mandatory for government construction projects in the United Kingdom and other countries, implementing AR in construction processes and BIM, will increase collaboration amongst everything working on a project, helping to create less errors, save time and money, as well as deliver higher quality projects. And so, using AR and BIM is possible for all stages as we explain below:

BEFORE ANY CONSTRUCTION TAKES PLACE

As AR provides the ability for everyone involved in a construction project e.g., designers, architects, stakeholders, engineers, and project managers etc., the ability to see the end-product in high detail, they can identify the impacts and benefits the construction project may have on its surroundings and make any necessary changes before any construction takes place.

By merging BIM and AR together, all parties involved in the project will have access to all the information they need in a centralised location improving collaboration, decision making, and therefore with access to real-time visualisations of the project adjustments can be made and designers and architects as an example can receive accurate measurements to optimise design plans

WHEN CONSTRUCTION BEGINS

When construction commences, AR wearables such as Microsoft Hololens can be worn as safety equipment helping onsite inspectors work more safely and save time. AR wearables allow workers onsite to get instant access to information, capture photos and document information on demand that can be easily shared to the relevant people, and so on. This eliminates the need of carrying around manuals and making written notes and the information presented can be compared to the Building Information Modelling (BIM) to quickly identify any concerns and enabling you to detect any issues early on.

Implementing AR when construction begins therefore, can help you to prevent making mistakes; provide you with ease of access to additional information; identify any issues early on; ensure that your construction project is going according to plan; all whilst helping to ultimately reduce risks and allow inspectors to work more efficiently.

AFTER THE PROJECT HAS BEEN COMPLETED

Once the project is finished, AR can be incorporated to access the building and all the components. For instance, AR allows you to monitor the environments and view equipment hidden away in areas such as ceilings and walls eliminating damage or knocking down walls, monitor equipment and view an environment's lifecycle etc. This can then ensure all the requirements for the project were met.

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