The architectural, engineering and constructions (AEC) industry is the foundation of every man-made structure around us, from bridges and motorways, to high-rise skyscrapers. For this industry precision, quality and safety are the defining values. Every project must be accurate down to the millimeter.
To help professionals build better projects with increased accuracy and efficiency, over the years various software suites were developed and enhanced by the IT industry. Now the latest technologies join in the efforts to build a stronger future: augmented and virtual reality solutions.
When Reality Is Best Built with Augmented and Virtual Reality Solutions
The real world around us is being shaped by AEC professionals using VR/AR tools. Before they lay the first brick, they need to step into the immaterial and immersive world of 3D models in order to make sure that their design is safe, according to the specifications and in line with the customer’s demands.
There is no room for mistakes in this industry – everything must be double checked, tested and approved when the project is still in the design phase. CGI objects displayed on computer screens are no longer enough to perform all the necessary tests and to inspect every structural element.
This is why architects, constructors and engineers now put on headsets and step inside the 3D models of their creations with the help of augmented and virtual reality solutions.
Let’s discover some of the best tools AEC professionals use in their work:
This is one of the most complex virtual reality solutions for the AEC industry. Once the 3D model is uploaded into the software, architects and engineers can take a walk through the entire building and perform changes to it. Each change is recorded and time stamped – thus the team working on the project can know who made modifications to the design and when.
For increased realism, Enscape also allows adding natural elements (grass, trees and water) as well as sounds and backgrounds to create a full picture of how the finished project will look in its designated location.
Virtual reality solutions are mostly connected with the visual space. However, Arup Soundlab uses VR to help AEC professional understand the sound their project will generate. From a new railway to a busy commercial center, every type of construction has a specific noise which blends with the other sounds and noises around it.
Given the need to reduce noise pollution and the regulations imposed on the maximum noise level in various areas, this VR solution is very necessary for professionals who are planning a new building or construction project.
ARki is an Android and iOS augmented reality app which allows AEC professionals to overlay an architectural project onto the real world terrain it will be built on. This solution is very helpful especially for home builders, who can show their clients a preview of their future house.
Using augmented reality in architectural design is very useful for reducing the number of modifications to the project and keeping it within the agreed timeline and budget.
Virtual reality solutions work best when teams can collaborate by meeting inside a virtual environment. This is exactly what InSiteVR does: it allows teams of architects, engineers and constructors to step in the 3D model of the project they are working on, perform various tests and make changes to it.
The VR suite also allows the users to scale up and down the 3D model, from a tabletop version to a real life size.
This augmented reality solution is compatible with software suites used for creating architectural designs. The projects are securely stored in cloud and can be loaded directly onto the device, in another cloud storage platform or email client.
SightSpace Pro allows AEC teams to visualize their project in its real life location. It also records all annotations and suggestions made by the client to help professionals perform these changes and test whether they are feasible before the project moves on to the construction phase.