New innovations are poised to influence how construction and design professionals operate in a big way.
Emerging technologies make it easier to envision designs and projects by presenting a working model that designers can review and tweak as needed to improve design or functionality, during or after, construction. Manufacturing elements of a project—or an entire structure—will be faster and less expensive thanks to inventions that will automatically take blueprints to construction.
Here are three technologies that are likely to shake up Building Information Modeling:
- 3D Printing: No single innovation in the last five years has made a bigger splash in the public mind than 3D printing. Using this technology, specific elements can be made in a shop by going from designer to printer. For one-off, unique pieces, 3D printing can significantly cut the production time. The technology is essentially limitless. Currently startup companies are building 3D “printed” homes using a 5-ton “printer” that uses models to lay concrete to erect the walls for a new home. NASA has a 3D printer on the International Space Station to manufacture replacement parts in the event of an emergency. From large buildings to small parts, 3D printing speeds the building process while reducing errors. Having programs, apps and plug-ins over numerous computers in a firm can lead to mismatched versions of the software, causing compatibility issues.
- Digital Twins: With an integrated array of sensors and smart devices, future construction will provide a wealth of data to designers, contractors, and stakeholders. A Digital Twin utilizes all the data produced by these instruments to create an exact digital replica of the structure using real-time information. Precise models can be created during construction to not just measure the progress of the project, but also to create models of the site updated on demand. Upon completion, a digital twin can be used to monitor building HVAC functions or alert building management of dangerous shifting of structures. Modifications can be incorporated into a digital-twin version to test aesthetics, function, and stability. Digital twins can also be incorporated into emergency responses, where firefighters may need information about a structure before entering a burning building.
- Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR): The ability to tour a perfect simulation of to-be-completed project through Virtual Reality will soon become standard. BIM data fed into a system will project (through goggles now or a “holodeck” technology a la Star Trek) the design for stakeholders to examine. Changes can be made—from wall placement to furniture choice—before a girder is put up. Augmented Reality takes that technology and incorporates it into existing structures. When you’re making changes to a building’s plumbing or wiring system, for example, you’ll be able to view the changes in the walls and ceilings using AR. The technology also can provide you with real-time data and information about specific elements. For example, you can get data on an installed window’s thermal rating through an AR device.
Stay ahead of the curve. Contact eVolve to learn how you can benefit from innovation.