How Virtual Reality is Changing the Construction Industry October 30, 2017 | Kris Lindahl

A recent study from ARC Document Solutions found that construction industry professionals identified virtual reality as the most important emerging technology within the industry. Virtual reality technologies have made great strides in recent years, and enterprising construction firms have begun using VR to bring new life to an old industry. Here are some of the ways that VR is changing the construction industry.

 

Virtual Reality for Immersive Walkthroughs and Increased Client Satisfaction

Forget architectural drawings or 3D models, virtual reality technology brings new projects to life. One California commercial builder has been using Oculus headset technology to create immersive renderings of their developments. The virtual immersion headset allows clients to move through a scaled-up 2D model, experiencing it in three dimensions.

The switch to VR saves them time by allowing their clients—primarily health care and medical facilities—to make faster decisions about projects by seeing and experiencing the layout in three dimensions. Not only were projects approved quicker once the team started showing clients projects in virtual reality, but clients reported higher overall satisfaction and enjoyed more positive interactions throughout the building process.

Virtual reality technology can help with new construction as well as home renovations. On a smaller scale, a contractor can use 3D modeling and virtual reality glasses to bring to life a home addition or bathroom remodel, so clients can see how the proposed plan will add value to their home. When used in the pre-construction, planning phase of development, small-scale virtual reality modeling approaches can help the client and contractor get on the same page to ensure the project moves forward in the right direction. 

 

3D Modeling to Decrease Errors and Scope Creep

Construction industry professionals know how quickly one mistake can bring a work site to a halt, potentially undoing several days’ worth of labor and eating away at the bottom line. 3D modeling acts as a crystal ball, allowing contractors to look into the future and spot errors before they’re made. Simply by exploring the 3D model with virtual reality glasses, professionals can spot errors and tweak designs before the work crew starts to build.

With projects that are complicated and require interaction among a team of specialized workers, using 3D modeling to identify and troubleshoot errors before the project is in construction is a major game-changer. This saves money by reducing the number of workers needed on projects and reducing delays and material waste. 

Virtual reality modeling is also useful in situations where clients change their mind often. Rather than have another argument about scope creep, contractors can allow their clients to explore the project in VR, then make adjustments based on immersive feedback. It’s much easier for clients to understand something when they can experience it for themselves, rather than by looking at a drawing. Even the best-written plans require a client to use their imagination to see how the new construction project will come together. This often means that, once the project is underway, the client changes their mind as the build inevitably differs from the picture in their head. Since scope creep is a major problem across the industry, construction professionals will love VR technology for its potential to cut off scope creep before it occurs. 

Virtual reality has the potential to streamline the build design process, increase collaboration between contractors and clients, boost satisfaction, and positively differentiate your business from other companies. As more companies realize the benefits of integrating VR with their construction company, expect to see these use cases evolve in new and exciting ways.

About The Author

Kris Lindahl is a Minnesota native and owner of The Kris Lindahl Team with RE/MAX Results.