While the technology has been a boon for design professionals, virtual reality in construction is also making waves. Quality, safety and collaboration are key areas where construction professionals are benefiting.
Quality assurance measures stand to make big gains with virtual reality’s impact on construction. Providing contractors the ability to review and approve designs before they’re installed allows for the chance to catch errors before they happen in the physical world. This presents the potential for massive cost savings in terms of labor costs, reducing change orders and timelines for project completion.
W.M. Jordan Company offers a first-hand experience on virtual reality’s impact on its quality control measures on its company blog:
This technology has proven valuable for quality control in the field. At the Christopher Newport Library expansion project in Newport News, VA, we scanned the cupola frame for proper installation before the roofer began his work. We scanned the library’s mechanical room before and after coordination efforts, and prior to installing mechanical piping and chiller equipment. These tools improve our ability to perform quality control checks in the field while minimizing risk to workers.
Virtual imaging provides a view previously only available to a man on a scaffold or ladder. At the South Bay Inn & Suites project in Myrtle Beach, SC, we scanned the plumbing installation above the architectural ceiling in the main lobby to be sure everything fit as planned. After construction, we use this technology to coordinate as-built drawings, documenting the finished structure.
With virtual reality, safety, training and efficiency measures can be adopted before work starts. Machinery training can be done off-site through a virtual set-up, enabling workers to be better prepared, bringing costs down. Per ForConstructionPros.com:
This means that now, instead of sending workers straight to the worksite putting them directly on the machine for training, individuals have the chance to practice using the machine through the use of the VR headset prior to ever stepping on the machine or arriving at the worksite.
It also allows employers to give each worker a specific and detailed plan on how to improve based on their current strengths and areas where the worker may not be up to par.
Other safety measures include helmets that bring the user’s attention to unsafe aspects of their environment like temperature changes and nearby heavy equipment. The device can also transmit information to construction managers who can view their entire workforce in real time, potentially alerting them to conditions that may arise.