Virtual Reality, Laser Scanning and the Future of Design and Construction

By Jeff Ortman, PE
Executive Vice President

When you work in a field that is always evolving, it’s key to remain up-to-date on the latest trends and issues in order to remain relevant in a very competitive industry. As an MEPT engineering firm, we knew we’d find the Ohio Construction Conference, hosted by Builders Exchange of Central Ohio, an excellent experience due to this year’s focus on the use of new technology in design and construction. Some of the particularly interesting topics included:

Virtual Reality in Construction: VR and its counterparts Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) are not just trendy new techniques – they are a valuable tool in the design process. While BIM can provide a highly detailed 3D model of a proposed project, the use of VR and AR technology can take that to the next level. A VR headset can enable designers to immerse themselves in the project and feel as though they’re actually standing inside the space, while an AR headset can superimpose important information over the user’s view of the real world, such as instructions on how to complete a task while they are actively working on it.

Laser Scanning/Modeling: 3D laser scanning is the most accurate method of building information modeling and is becoming the standard in the construction industry for documenting existing conditions. A laser scanner can produce a complete 3D model of a building as well as precise topographical maps, providing engineers with information needed to make optimal design decisions. Furthermore, laser scanning does no damage to the existing structure and creates no disruption to building operations.

Lean, Sustainable and Flexible Design and Construction Options: These seminars were a continuation of the ongoing discussion on improving the design and construction processes through reducing waste, improving productivity, optimizing workflow and maximizing value. From schedule predictability to modular building, these processes save time and money as well as contribute to sustainability efforts.

As always, the last session of round table discussions between design and construction professionals put a great final touch to the event.

At HAWA, we recognize the importance of continually improving our processes to provide better design solutions for our clients. After the conference, I was able to go back to my team and share some of the new methods and technologies covered with the goal of researching and implementing some of the more applicable ones in our own work.

I’d like to thank Deb Murphy and her support team for another successful Construction Conference, and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event. Whether or not you attended the conference, I invite you to reach out to me to discuss the exciting future of MEPT design and what it means for the construction industry as a whole.

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