The New Face of Construction - Virtual Reality
The New Face of Construction - Virtual Reality

The New Face of Construction – Virtual Reality: How Can the Industry Benefit From It?


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Virtual reality is here. And no, I’m not talking about gaming,

Virtual reality has infiltrated the construction trade and is here to stay. Backtracking construction history, the use of virtual reality can be traced back to the early 1990s when innovation was used for visualization and collaboration. However, VR is becoming more accessible and widely adopted thanks to the more advanced technologies surfacing and the falling cost of hardware used to create VR for construction.

For all its sci-fi-looking appeal, Virtual reality is not just another techno trend. Virtual reality offers real benefits to people working in all aspects of the construction industry, from project management to building processes.

Virtual Reality and Construction


For the first time, architects and engineers can render a building design at a 1:1 scale now in a three-dimensional space with the adaptation of virtual reality. This up and upcoming technology enables architects and designers alike to show contractors and clients their plans visually in fully-immersive environments, giving them the advantage of conveying a more accurate portrayal of their initial design and vision. Additionally, the construction team members can wear smart helmets to help them better grasp complex building plans. It can also enable them to drive large equipment to plumb-align building materials remotely.

As virtual reality technology continues to develop, it can be truly a game-changer for the construction industry. Unfortunately, most business owners are skeptical about how virtual reality in construction will impact a business due to the cost implications and amount of time needed to learn this new technology, making them reluctant to adopt this innovation. Despite this uncertainty, many architects and construction professionals have shown that this breakthrough technology can offer a wide array of benefits to those working in the construction industry.


Benefits of Adopting Virtual Reality in Construction Management


1. Win More Bids

Traditionally, we are used to seeing plans in 2D blueprints and in pictured rendering if we are lucky. However, with the help of Virtual reality, we can now see a project in an immersive environment and get a glimpse of the structure before it is even erected, a million miles away from the blueprints and renderings we’re used to. By virtually interacting inside a digital model of a completed structure, designers can better understand how their visions will come to life, giving them the advantage of seeing potential challenges before they have a chance to become an issue in real life.

In that same scenario, Virtual reality is also being used in the bidding process, allowing companies to show off their proposals more compellingly. Contractors and clients can also get virtual guided tours of what the space they’re commissioning for will look like once finished.

2. Better Visualization Saves Time and Cost

The construction software that is most prominently used in the industry is building information modeling (BIM). During the BIM rendering process, digital models can be produced by 3D laser scanning and from photos collected by drones or other innovative tools and are assembled to create an accurate set of life-like, three-dimensional photos that, altogether, form a simulated environment. By adding a set of virtual reality glasses, users could see these 3D models come to life and fully immerse themselves in the finished building design.

This technology is very useful during the pre-construction phase, which can be of immense value in time and cost savings for the overall project. Construction professionals can use Virtual reality to better depict the design plans, identify any potential construction challenges, and make alterations and suggestions as early as the pre-planning.

3. Engage New Talents

Construction’s skilled labor shortage is one of the most documented problems in the industry. Seasoned construction veterans are retiring faster, while the number of young workers stepping up to replace them is slow. The industry hopes to attract digitally inclined young workers with this up-and-coming technology. Young people today were born with a smart device in their hands, so they are expected to be more comfortable with new construction software and technology than any previous generation.

Incorporating Virtual Reality into training and real-world construction operations could attract younger generations naturally drawn to high-tech industries.

4. Lessen On-Site Visits

Oftentimes, it’s just not the on-site construction personnel who must be present at a construction site; supervisors and managers must constantly monitor the project too. Other key team members, such as architects, engineers, and even shareholders and company representatives, can be benefited from visiting the construction site. Now, the utilization of Virtual reality enables any individual to inspect the project site without needing to travel to its real-life location.

When a certain problem arises during construction operations, it can be resolved even more quickly- this can be a huge advantage in construction time management. Instead of halting progress for hours, days, months, or even years waiting for the project manager to attend the site in person, the needed manager can wear a VR headset, assess the problem in real-time, and provide a solution. Maximum efficiencies can be realized through this, freeing them to work on multiple projects at once simply by lessening the frequency of visits they have to make to the construction site.

This becomes particularly helpful as larger companies operate on a wider and more global scale; the inputs and recommendations of experts can be obtained without having to make experts physically available at the site location. Thus, Virtual Reality is good for visualization and efficiency and can also act as a construction process improvement software for companies adopting it.

5. Better Project Tracking

Virtual reality can help improve construction management in a myriad of ways. One way is in project progress tracking. Virtual reality can be used to make virtual models of the project site and allow project managers to see a project’s progress and identify any potential issues as they arise. This can improve overall communication and coordination among construction team members and ensure the project deliverables stay on track. For instance, Virtual reality can be used to make a virtual model of the project site with updated progress data shown in real-time, allowing project managers to track the status of various tasks and identify any potential delays and issues.

6. Aids in Inventory Management

Virtual reality, in another spectrum, can also be used as construction inventory software because it can create virtual models of construction equipment and other assets, giving project managers the advantage of tracking their usage and maintenance needs. This can help in optimizing the use of project resources and prevent any equipment downtime. For instance, VR can be used to make virtual models of any construction equipment, allowing project managers to track the current usage and maintenance needs of each inventory equipment in real-time.


The future of virtual reality is unsure, but only because it’s still impossible to predict how immensely it can change the current things in the construction industry. However, there is no doubt that virtual reality is about to make a big difference in construction operations; it is only that no one knows how far this new technology will take us. It is very likely that in the next few decades, virtual reality will become the standard for how all construction projects are designed and built. No construction project will start or finish until it has been built in three-dimensional space first. Still, there is a lot more to it than that. 

Currently, only a few construction companies use virtual reality to improve their business, at least in meaningful ways. Only a few architects and engineers are adopting this technology either, but that will not be the case anymore. Firms are now slowly starting to see the value of this technology, which is one of the reasons why the industry response has been slow. Another reason that companies have been hesitant to adopt virtual reality is that the technology still needs to be perfect. However, that will change in the next few years as the technology fidelity slowly catches up with mainstream renderings. Virtual reality will be a nearly ideal innovation; everyone will use it for many applications.

In a nutshell, virtual reality has the potential to revolutionize the industry by winning more bids, better visualization, engaging new talents, lessening on-site visits, better project tracking, and aiding in inventory management. The adoption of VR in construction is most likely to continue to grow as the technology becomes more accessible and as the benefits of Virtual reality become more widely recognized. 

While there are challenges and limitations to the use of Virtual reality in construction, it is clear that it can increase productivity, reduce errors and rework, and improve time management in construction… and it starts today.

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