Virtual Reality, no longer the sole province of video games, is just another technology that’s on the upswing and, along with it, Augmented Reality. The tools which attract VR and AR to the worksite are becoming more and more ubiquitous (and also more user-friendly) and as this technology becomes more integrated in the electronic workflow, the possibilities that open up appear limitless. Virtual reality in building allows real-time comparison of 3D models to physical spaces; overlay of place and position data (wireframes) during setup; virtual walkthroughs with project stakeholders and these are only the start.

The Daqri helmet, for example, offers users enhanced situational awareness, calling attention to environmental factors, such as temperature differentials and dangerous conditions. It may also be used to boost the accuracy of complex installations, and is developing an entirely new universe of possibilities for cooperation between advanced designers and builders.

What drives these building technology innovations?

What’s driving the adoption of these innovations in the building industry? While many companies are finding it hard to compete on cost, we have to find ways to reduce costs and inefficiencies. We also see a sort of brain drain as experienced professionals start to retire, and considerable amounts of institutional knowledge have been lost with their death.

Technology is giving us a way to catch a lot of the experience and bridge the gap in understanding, particularly as the next generation of digital natives brings new excitement for technology to the office.

Connected electronic workflows also redefine collaboration, allowing owners and stakeholders up-to-the-minute information on job status and decisions. What we’re seeing is a blending of new and old, as we proceed into the future as an industry.