The application of Building Information Modelling (BIM) has already eased the life of construction professionals. The BIM generated 3D models of the construction project can not only speed up the project but also help designers and architects to identify and address design problems before they can become real-life issues. Additionally, by providing a 3D model of the project, BIM can help the client visualize their project even before the laying of the first brick.

Further, by applying animation to the 3D model thus generated, the clients can have a virtual walkthrough of the entire building. The 3D movie can help the client to have a feel of the proposed project before it has been constructed. However, this is not the end of the road as the capabilities of BIM can go a notch higher with the application of Augmented Reality (AR).

Augmented reality can help architects and designers to view the construction project in 3D hands-free. Some of the benefits of applying AR to BIM generated 3D models are listed below-

Designing- The application of AR can provide designers and architects with a more immersive experience of their project’s 3D model. Architects and designers can have a real-life feel and check for the feasibility, aesthetics and functions of the project- helping them to more easily identify issues in the design phase itself.

Enhanced project control- By overlaying the 3D BIM model on the real world through the application of AR it is possible to track deviations from the project schedule. Further, AR helps to keep track of the performance and progress of the project in real-time and make necessary adjustments to address issues.

Construction- By using AR to access 3D project models the workers can have greater clarity over the placement of building materials, placement of doors or meeting of the walls. BIM can also help in routing services like piping, duct layout, HVAC, etc. Further, the application of AR can fasten the execution of construction projects and drastically reduce errors.

Operation and Maintenance- Integration of AR can mean that the workers can readily get information about the models without the need to wait for models or other technical documents. Thus the application of AR can lead to an improvement in efficiency and performance accuracy. Additionally, the workers can work with greater ease as AR offers them a hands-free experience where they can directly view the information without referring to manuals.

Inspection- AR helps users to compare the built model with the designed model for identifying flaws and issues. Additionally, AR helps the user to visualize faults with underground or overlaid installations that are hidden from the naked eye. Post identification of any such issues, the same can be market in the AR model with appropriate comments for further corrective actions.

The application of AR in BIM can open new dimensions in the construction industry and facilitate active collaboration between team members. Application of AR makes it possible to track the progress of the construction project and identify issues by comparing the designed model with the physical project. The application of AR can help the industry realise a host of other benefits and bring in a paradigm shift in the industry. Thus, it is imperative for the construction industry to adopt to AR and bring in a paradigm shift by achieving higher efficiency.