Ben Bennet, Managing Director of Luminous Group, a pioneering 3D and virtual reality (VR) digital solutions provider, talks us through some of the ways in which VR is transforming the construction industry
Virtual reality was originally designed as a tool to make video games more immersive but, as the technology has developed, it’s become increasingly clear that it can be used for a whole host of other applications, too. It’s now being used in a variety of ways by a huge range of different industries, and one of the sectors significantly benefitting from this shift is the construction industry.
I’m going to talk you through the main ways in which construction companies have started to use VR in their work, and I’ll explain why using the technology has helped to improve their processes.
It’s used in training programmes to make them more engaging and effective
Working within the construction industry can, at times, be very dangerous, so it’s important that employees are given the most engaging and effective training possible. And, traditional forms of training, which often involve hours spent in a classroom watching a PowerPoint presentation, can’t always give staff the practical knowledge they need to keep themselves and others safe on a construction site. This is where VR stands out.
With VR, you can create simulations that put trainee construction workers in realistic situations that can often be dangerous, without the risks they’ll face in the real world. This allows them to get practice with things such as handling tools and dealing with issues that they’re likely to encounter in the workplace. Rather than just being told what to do, they can actually have a go, which has been shown to help workers retain information more effectively.
Certain VR training programmes are also designed to show workers the consequences if they do put a foot wrong — for example, it might show how something could explode, or how they might fall from a height.
It can be used to create and review construction plans
Of course, construction projects require a lot of time and money, so they need to be planned accurately and in the most effective way possible. This is because companies need to be able to consider all of the necessary factors before any building work begins.
When using traditional plans and blueprints, you won’t always be able to see certain problems with a building’s design, which means particular issues may only become apparent once the building work is well underway. This can mean plans need to be changed, blueprints need to be resubmitted, and the work might even be stalled for a while. However, virtual reality can help construction companies to avoid these problems, as the technology allows you to bring your plans to life before any actual building work is started.
VR gives clients, architects, and construction workers the chance to view the completed building from every angle, so they’re able to spot any flaws well in advance. This can save businesses a great deal of time and money.
It can make it easier to collaborate
Another benefit of using VR when planning a construction project is that it makes it much easier for people across the country — or even the globe — to work on the same project quite easily.
There are a number of ways in which you can use VR to simplify this process. For example, you can take the route of using it to allow everyone involved to meet in a virtual conference room. This is likely to be far more engaging than hosting a traditional conference call or communicating via email, and it can allow everyone to get their points across in a way that everyone will understand.
Additionally, a lot of the time, people who are helping to plan a construction project but who live and work far away from the site might not be able to see the building while it’s being constructed, or even once it’s completed. However, if the plans for a project are created using VR, everyone working on a project can be given the chance to virtually admire their work, and might even be able to point out any problems or improvements that could be made that they otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to spot.
There’s no denying that virtual reality is truly changing the way the construction industry works and, if your company is considering adopting the use of the technology, now is a great time to do so. You’ll be ahead of so many of your competitors and will have a tool that can help you to complete your work to an even higher standard.