Traditionally reluctant to embrace technological change, the construction industry has begun a digital transformation. BIM technology has become more commonplace in all phases of a construction project resulting in improved efficiency, cost and quality. Yet, what may sometimes go unnoticed is how underlying these measurable factors are the improvements that BIM technology has produced in terms of collaboration, information sharing and inclusiveness.
It is possible to see, perhaps counter-intuitively, how the adoption of modern technology has placed an even greater emphasis on the human experience during construction projects. BIM modelling has already enabled the various sides of a construction project to communicate their needs more effectively. Improved communication and information sharing has produced a better understanding of the specific needs of design, construction and installation teams.
Technology empowers people in all stages of a project
As BIM continues to develop into an established practice, people have already started looking towards the future to see what the latest technologies can add. Various Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) applications have already made their mark in different fields, such as, entertainment, healthcare and media. In construction, ambitious builders have employed VR modelling to allow people to experience how a project will look and feel once complete.
Virtual solutions will allow the voice of the end-users of a building project to be heard at an early stage when their feedback is at its most valuable and easiest to accommodate. As people are able to ‘inhabit’ a building model, they will be able to communicate their own needs more effectively, ensuring that construction choices correspond with real-life user requirements.
In addition to empowering end-users, virtual technologies also benefit construction personnel during different stages of a project. Virtual exploration allows building professionals to simulate their working conditions, to plot out work sequences and see how their workspace will evolve during construction.
In effect, BIM-modelling, together with new VR and AR technologies, allows us to make tangible the end-results of design and construction choices, whether they be for the person sitting in the meeting room of a completed office building or for the person in charge of installing MEP systems in the midst of construction.
Indeed, one of the notable advantages of modern technology may lie in the way that it allows for greater human participation throughout. It seems obvious that increased contributions from people who are directly affected by design choices will only help in developing more effective construction practices and more responsive spaces. After all, it is people who create buildings and it is people who use them.