As a BIM company, we keep a close eye on developments in technology. The massive rise in popularity of mobile phones – specifically smartphones – has meant that Augmented Reality (AR) has also taken off in a big way recently. Some of the largest companies in the world, such as Google and Apple, have begun to invest quite heavily in this area, and are offering not only dedicated AR software but also specialised AR chips as well. But what has this got to do with Building Information Modelling?
Well, BIM technology is currently used by people in many different industries, such as architects, engineers and facilities management. Defining BIM can be pretty complicated, but the easiest way to think of it is as a way to manage and coordinate all the data relating to a building. BIM allows you to create a scale model of a structure using 3D modelling while also being able to identify every foot of wiring, every component used and every piece of material as well. BIM consultants, like ourselves, can help construction professionals to analyse the information they have access to in the system, helping them to improve their building efficiency and reliability while reducing their downtime.
One of the main benefits of BIM is the ability for everyone involved in a building project to be able to collaborate as it allows for easy sharing of information and enables everyone to work from the same plan. This means that buildings are now being built more effectively, as data is being presented in a clear and straightforward way.
The interesting thing about AR is that it makes data much more accessible to visualise – in a similar way to BIM. You can primarily use your phone like a lens to discover data that is tailored to your specific location which could help to transform many a business model. In the particular example of BIM, it could help to shape how building information modelling data is used, especially when it comes to construction and the IoT. This is because AR can be used to quickly convey maintenance information in real-time which will not only help with the collaboration of team members but also will increase the accuracy of plans as well.
The use of AR in helping construction workers to visualise the maintenance data is one of the most useful parts of this technology. For example, there are specialised kits on the market at the moment that will allow workers to look into the wall of a building to identify where water pipes and wiring are, and so on. If you think about this in terms of a large block of flats, then AR is going to be fantastic at helping facilities managers track down specific pipes or wires that need replacing or any other maintenance issues. Instead of having to dig out building plans or blueprints that may not be very accurate, the manager can now just strap on a visor and find the exact pipe or wire quickly. These kits will also allow the information on that exact location to be updated as well, meaning that the facilities manager can log the work that has been completed and the date it was completed on.
AR and BIM also work well together on sites where the construction has only just started or even when it is still in the planning stage. Using a smartphone or tablet with AR capabilities and BIM software, project managers and construction workers can visualise how each phase of the project will work together, meaning that all of the different disciplines such as water and electrical elements can work together to ensure the plan is as efficient as possible. Potential problems and issues can be caught early on in the process and fixed before they occur.
AR will also be a boon for architects and engineers, who may have to explain to clients regarding certain features of the building, that are hard to explain to those who do not have a technical background. With the use of AR and BIM models, they can now show clients exactly what they are talking about without having to go into too much technical detail.
For more information on the BIM services that we offer at The CAD Room, please give the team a call today on 0161 427 0348 or alternatively you can send us an email to email@example.com