The construction sector in the United States annually constructs structures costing more than $1.3 trillion and employs over 7 million workers. Despite its enormous economic impact, the sector has various communication, design, and project management issues owing to its complex and dispersed structure.
One of the most typical construction issues is discovering design flaws after building has already started, resulting in higher costs and project delays. Moreover, worker safety is a major worry since design flaws or anomalies may result in accidents and even deaths on the construction site.
From pipework installation contractors to engineers and architects, the use of AR in the construction industry has revolutionized the way construction projects are executed. Through advanced sensor and camera technology, augmented reality (AR) has the potential to address these challenges by combining physical surroundings with computer-generated information in real time.
In this article, we’ll cover what AR is and how it is beneficial for the construction industry.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is a technological innovation that brings the virtual world to life, blending it seamlessly with the real-world environment through the use of AR devices. It’s a revolutionary technique that enables computer-generated images and digital information to interact with real-world objects to achieve a specific purpose.
While virtual reality (VR) seeks to create a completely simulated environment that replaces real-life scenarios, augmented reality strives to enhance and supplement reality by adding a layer of computer-generated images, videos, infographics, music, and other multimedia features to enhance perception.
In an AR content creation device, the virtual world is superimposed onto real-world objects based on their topological relationship. The device uses sophisticated technology to determine the exact location and orientation of objects to create a merged image that can be viewed on mobile phones, AR glasses, and other AR devices.
Unlike VR headsets, AR glasses allow users to experience the real world while augmenting it with virtual imagery. By wearing AR glasses, users can overlay virtual objects on real-world entities, such as placing AR markers on machines to indicate maintenance areas, all while still being able to see the actual items or environments around them.
The benefits of AR in the construction industry
Let us take a look at the uses of AR in the construction industry.
One of the most significant advantages of AR technology is its capacity to generate a 3D model immediately from a 2D blueprint, allowing construction companies to create dynamic, comprehensive models of building or infrastructure projects.
Different teams of engineers and architects may successfully cooperate with one another by merging 3D modeling software with Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, limiting mistakes and decreasing time spent on paperwork and rework.
Some technologies overlay 3D BIM onto work sites and enable users to compare project planning with reality to identify any disparities.
AR technology also enables teams to perform virtual tours of the whole project, allowing customers to carefully watch the infrastructure’s components and features. This helps to avoid expensive adjustments later on and keeps customers involved in all aspects of the project.
Measurement accuracy is critical to the success of any construction project. AR may assist in the automation of measurements on the project site, allowing field personnel to swiftly measure components and compare them to predefined measurements in setups.
This allows employees to detect any flaws or discrepancies and promptly correct them to avoid delays or additional expenditures. AR apps allow users to measure any item by simply taking a photo with a smart device and recording real-time measurements, such as width, height, depth, and surface area.
Modification in projects
Users may make adjustments to building or infrastructure models immediately on the construction site using AR technology. Workers may readily examine exterior and interior views of a building using a mobile device or AR headset and make modifications to the virtual plan.
It helps to overlay digital models onto real-world construction sites, as this makes it easier to see how different elements will fit together and identify any potential clashes or errors.
Seamless information exchange
Workers may use AR technology to study information regarding the position of outlets, walls, pipelines, ventilation, and switches. They may move or change between levels to compare a project to the building design and ensure successful construction.
Imagine a contractor working on a massive construction project, utilizing the latest in augmented reality technology to ensure precision and accuracy at every step. With just a simple mobile device, tablet, or headset, the contractor can locate and position each drill hole according to the structural design, ensuring that everything is in its rightful place.
Construction necessitates the cooperation of several cross-functional teams. AR technology aids in the resolution of communication challenges by enabling all parties to exchange real-time videos or notes of design faults or defects. This reduces the amount of time, money, and effort required to address difficulties.
Safety of workers
The safety of construction workers is a serious industry issue. AR-enabled devices may allow access to instructional content, safety situations, and virtual exercises. This direct learning promotes safety awareness and intuition development while decreasing training time and expenses.
AR devices may also provide alerts that motivate employees to get out of the way swiftly or find a safer path out of a risky scenario. AR solutions detect hazards, provide alternatives, and keep employees secure and safe.
Augmented reality has proven to be a valuable tool in the construction industry, aiding in project planning, automating measurements, enabling modifications, providing project information, facilitating team collaboration, and ensuring the safety of workers.
With professionals in the industry embracing AR, we can expect to see further innovation and developments in this field, leading to more efficient and cost-effective construction projects in the future.
As technology continues to advance, it’s essential for the construction industry to adapt and incorporate new tools like AR to enhance its operations and stay competitive.