The University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC) and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre with Boeing (AMRC) in Sheffield are working with commerce to research, demo and implement new AR and VR technology for use in the construction industry.
Working with Glasgow-based design visualisation company Soluis Group and modular building designer and manufacturer Carbon Dynamic, the consortium has successfully built a demonstrator for the use of AR and VR in the construction industry.
Like X-Ray Vision
The technology was first trialled on a 2.2-metre plasterboard wall which, when viewed with a Microsoft HoloLens, showed a 3D rendering of the plumbing and wiring behind the façade.
The system can also be used to examine different wall parts to ensure there are no gaps in insulation before being sent to a construction site. This presents significant cost-cutting and time-saving opportunities, as well as the enhancement of quality assurance on modular construction projects.
Before, During And After Construction
Speaking about the project, David Grant, Partnership Development Leader at the AFRC said, “This new technology has a role to play before, during and after construction of both domestic and commercial properties.
“Prior to work commencing on site, those involved in a construction project will be able to accurately visualise and walk through a building before the foundations are even dug; this will help in identifying any potential issues before they occur.
“It could also help during a build as contractors will be able to accurately see what’s behind walls and under floors, potentially leading to improved health and safety on sites as all guess work could be eliminated.
“Post construction, it will help with remedial and retrofitting work – even years down the line – as all of the information relating to a building, from where electricity cables and pipe work are installed to the guarantees and instruction manuals for boilers, light fittings and showers will be accessible using this technology.”
Need To Create Tools
Looking to the future of AR’s uses in construction, Grant told us, “Projects like this can inspire hearts and minds in the construction sector to accelerate their adoption of new technologies – the potential for AR and VR in the industry is vast. Of course, this is just the first phase; demonstrating what could be achieved if the right platform was developed as a standard for the industry – the tools still need to be created.”