Construction has been one of, if not the most, digitalised industries for decades. Because it was and still is heavily reliant on human labour. Technology has not been effectively integrated into it– the most significant thing to hit the industry. To improve productivity was heavy-duty vehicles. Until the twenty-first century brought a flood of technological advances that have advanced the construction industry in various ways. Construction scheduling software and subcontractor scheduling software are two examples of small innovations that have significantly improved project management.
Managers and contractors can ensure that the project runs smoothly and efficiently using a variety of platforms. With a builder schedule, they can keep track of their crew and store important documents all in one place. On a larger scale, the industry has been undergoing a technological revolution. The integration of augmented reality is one of them.
What is Augmented Reality, and how does it work?
Augmented reality (AR) is a virtual reality in which the physical world is enhanced by digital information layers such as sounds, graphics, and other visuals. Designers created AR to allow digital content to respond in real-time to changes in the user’s environment, most commonly movement.
Virtual Reality vs. Augmented Reality vs. Mixed Reality
Augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality are all terms that are frequently used interchangeably. While they all have the same goal in mind, which is to change reality, they each have their own characteristics.
AR – Users can interact with digital elements that find places in the real world in front of them via a digital screen. Interactivity between users and components in augmented reality is frequently limited.
VR – Rather than bringing digital objects into the real world, the user immerses in a different reality, replacing the physical one. Users can interact with the “new” reality using a virtual reality headset.
MR – MR combines AR and VR in a way that allows digital objects to interact with the physical world, with elements anchored to a natural environment.
Construction Applications of Augmented Reality
Construction, which was once the least digitalised industry, is now slowly embracing the benefits of modern technology. Whether it’s small innovations like project management tools that have aided managers greatly or larger devices like robots and automated vehicles that have increased productivity, today’s technology has improved the industry. Even though it is still in its infancy, augmented reality has already proven a valuable construction tool.
2D projects were once common in construction projects and were essential during the planning and design stages. On the other hand, modern technology has enabled designers and engineers to create fully interactive, collaborative models with great detail.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) and advanced 3D modeling software, for example, has revolutionized the design and planning process. It allows users to virtually walk through buildings that are still undergoing construction and see how changes are possible without causing delays or other problems.
Managers, contractors, and engineers can use this technology to visualise the effects of any changes in real-time. This will then aid in detecting errors and prompt responses, reducing project risks, and ensuring everyone is on the same page.
Training and manuals
Construction can be perplexing if you fall into it blindly, as there is a lot of heavy machinery and hand tools to operate. That is why workers must undergo training to learn how to use each piece of equipment, taking several hours. Physical training may also pose some safety risks because the person receiving it has little to no prior knowledge of the subject. Fortunately, AR can give direct instructions and act appropriately. As a result, training costs are lower, downtime is low, and instructions are more intuitive. Furthermore, workers can receive training in a safe environment to learn how to operate heavy machines without risking injury.
The inspection process usually occurs manually and requires at least two people. On the other hand, Inspectors can use AR to precisely align and compare a BIM model to the structure currently under construction. They can also take pictures and retrieve notes from websites on demand. AR is beneficial for quickly identifying sites, problematic areas, and potential issues.
Get real-time project information
While the best construction management software is a game-changer for storing documents and information, augmented reality takes things to a whole new level by allowing all digital documentation and information to appear in the physical world. For example, the location of pipes, outlets, switches, and other similar items are directly accessible and superimposable on-site, and they can toggle on and off with ease. This method of retrieving data aids field workers in effectively monitoring and comparing the structure plan to the actual structure to ensure that it ends successfully.
AR adds another management level by virtually showing the building’s progress compared to its schedule, in addition to being a helpful information database. Managers can see if they are behind schedule and make adjustments in real-time to get back on track.
Working together in groups
Construction is not a one-person show; it is a field where collaboration and teamwork are essential. There will be times when contractors and managers are important to be on-site but cannot do so. Thanks to augmented reality, they can now virtually and remotely inspect work sites as if they were present. AR enables real-time team collaboration to identify problems, find solutions, and correct errors without needing decision-makers to be physically present.
Construction of a tunnel
When working underground on a construction project, there are a lot of safety concerns. Workers may, for example, hit a gas line, damage utilities, or even cause a massive explosion while laying cables and pipes. AR, on the other hand, mitigates this risk by providing all necessary information before beginning work. Construction projects, like anything else, don’t always go as planned and frequently undergo changes. Designers can make any necessary changes to the virtual model without having to touch the physical structure.