This is the third part of our three-part series where Pauli Keinonen, Technical Director for MagiCAD at MagiCAD Group discusses the potential of VR and AR applications for MEP design and the central role of BIM-methodology in their adoption.
In Part 1 we looked at the importance of accurate and comprehensive product data.
In Part 2 we looked at the transition from Revit to VR and examined some key benefits of VR applications
The full promise of augmented reality in building projects close to becoming reality
Augmented reality will in many ways realise the true potential of BIM in bringing forth the possibility to access real-time data tied to specific locations in the building.
“There is still room for development in augmented reality systems in terms of matching specific details of the building’s BIM model to specific coordinates reliably enough to achieve the full potential benefits of these advances, but the industry is likely to reach this point soon enough. One current restriction is still also the processing power of AR devices themselves, as the location-specific data should ideally be updated in real time based on the BIM model when moving from location to location”, says Keinonen.
“When the AR view of the building’s systems can be updated in real time, it will also mean a leap forward in terms of utilising the time dimension of BIM. Not only can the installer see where the duct should be installed, but also see which sections should be installed first, for example to accommodate for other installations that will happen in the next phase”, Keinonen continues.
“It will also be possible to use this information in project scheduling, as the progress of the installations can be monitored by examining how things should look in reality compared to a specific project phase in the BIM model. For instance, when certain installations are scheduled to be carried out by midday, the actual work phase can be easily compared to the scheduled phase using a BIM model, which includes the time dimension. MagiCAD Group is part of the Glodon Group, which has developed a software called HiveNEX for BIM-based project management and scheduling. With HiveNEX, the progress of a building project can already today be analysed on a timeline in detail“, says Keinonen.
Bringing the building’s MEP systems to life in Facility Management
When the building’s BIM model can finally be efficiently connected to the intelligent sensors that are already today part of many building’s MEP systems, the full promise of AR can be realised also in Facility Management and maintenance.
“The prices for these types of sensors have gone down and nowadays you can find them in many systems already. When the BIM model is connected with the sensors via the Internet of Things, data on the operation of various parts of the MEP systems can be monitored in real time. Furthermore, the sensors can send notifications when maintenance is needed. For example, when a sensor notices that the intensity of light in a particular room space has reduced, it can notify the maintenance personnel to go and fix the problem proactively before the luminaire even dies out completely”, Keinonen says.
“At the same time, AR can make it easier for the maintenance personnel to find the device in need of maintenance by showing directions to the device. Also, for example with a control valve in a piping system, AR can provide them with all the needed product-specific specifications, real-time data on the current operation of the valve based on the sensors, and even with advise on the optimal settings for the valve”, concludes Keinonen.
You can revisit all the parts through the links below.
Part 1 – Importance of product data.
Part 2 – From Revit projects to virtual reality.
Part 3 – Augmented reality in project and facility management.