BIM Meets The Reality on the Construction Site

BIM models are mostly used by foremen on construction sites. But what if they could be made available for workers at the press of a button? This question was what the Finnish government-funded KIRA pilot project set out to answer. As a by-product, the project also produced augmented reality (AR) solutions for construction sites.

The research project was called ”Digitalization of a construction project based on role and location information” (RoPa). It was conducted by construction company Fira and engineering consultancy Sweco.

Originally, the goal was to create a paper-free construction site, in which all the information needed on a construction site could be transferred digitally to the workers. This would also help to remove the clutter of notes and papers on the walls.

“A construction site can’t be managed without information, so if there is no access to information where it is really needed, it presents a difficult situation for professionals. There have been attempts to circumvent this problem by looking for a workforce from abroad that is cheaper and less educated instead of enabling professionals to work efficiently,” development director Otto Alhava from Fira states.

The location of the pilot project was a Fira pipe renovation site, where Sweco modeled the bathroom and delivered to workers the BIMs necessary for them to do their work effectively. In addition, an application was ordered from VTT that allowed visualization of the BIM in the location through the use of augmented reality (AR).

“Using AR, the user doesn’t have to compare the 3D model and the physical room because they are brought together on the mobile screen. It facilitates combining the physical and virtual space,” VTT principal scientist Charles Woodward says.

Individual AR views

VTT has been developing different AR solutions for a long time. According to Woodward, a central challenge in AR is to make the digital elements appear exactly where they need to in the real world. Marker technology developed by VTT was used for this.

A new addition to the technology was to combine the marker technology by VTT with Google ARCore technology, which allowed for the BIM 3D elements—such as bathroom furniture and fittings—to stay in their designated locations even when the marker was not visible.

“Together with the AR solutions by VTT and ARCore, we created a system that keeps the BIM elements in the right place to within a few centimeters. This is quite sufficient for visual observations. For example, a pipe fitter can make sure he doesn’t install the pipes before the electricity is installed,” Woodward describes.

From the user perspective, the application is easy to use. All they need to do is to start the application and point it toward the marker on the wall, and then all the 3D elements will appear in their designated locations.

Earlier, BIMs have been mostly used by foremen but now the workers were given their individual 3D views with information related to their specific jobs, such as drilling or wiring.

“Going forward, we intend to develop the system further. Electricians and pipe fitters both found our application promising.”

 

Blog Source: AEC Business | BIM Meets Reality on the Construction Site

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