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Changing Construction with VR

Technology has become an integral part of our day-to-day lives and is continually shaping how we operate both personally and professionally. For the construction industry, advancements in technology have led to some major changes in how companies operate and what they are capable of achieving.  

One of the most recent, and now widely used, technological advancements to hit the construction industry is BIM. With BIM, specifiers are able to create a fully digitised plan of their building, using digital replicas of the real-life products they wish to install. Specifiers can also access in-depth product information, assisting them with making the correct specification decisions for their project. The detail and precision provided by BIM enables specifiers to identify any issues before the first brick has been laid, reducing the margins for error once construction begins on site. 

However, newer technology could see this process being taken even further. Although still in its infancy, virtual reality (VR) is expected to become a major player in the way that people operate, both in their personal lives and in the professional environment. For construction, this technology could really shake things up. 

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If BIM is able to be combined with VR, specifiers could be able to fully immerse themselves in their projects – they could walk through their designed building and experience its functionality before construction begins. 

These virtual models could also be used to test whether a building will be suitable for its desired end use – this would be particularly useful for commercial or office spaces, which can experience high levels of foot traffic per day. For example, visitor flow could be simulated to test whether the specified access solution can withstand the number of people that are expected to use it each day. 

Although still in its infancy, VR is becoming more popular for business use - many are using it for the likes of HR and training. As VR provides a more practical experience, employees can feel more immersed and engaged – rather than reading about workplace scenarios, employees can experience them more realistically within VR. This could benefit construction companies, looking to educate employees on how to deal with challenges on site. 
VR is still fairly new, and its capabilities have not have been fully uncovered as yet, but it is clear that it could become a real asset to the construction sector. It is therefore vital that construction companies carefully consider how this technology could assist and benefit them.