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Virtual reality and 3D printing could help industry hit targets, says report

A picture of a woman using virtual reality

Virtual reality could be an asset for the construction industry, according to a new report

A NEW report says the construction industry could cut its waste and achieve the government’s 2025 targets if it adopts virtual reality (VR) and 3D printing technology.

An article in Building magazine this week reports that a study for the British Council of Offices by Arup and Arup Associates said: “If the UK construction industry is to come close to the ambitious targets in the government’s 2025 construction strategy, there needs to be a rethink about how we design, procure and construct buildings in the future.”

The report added: “Design change is a real problem in the industry and contributes to major delays, significant re-work and a wastage of material resource.”

Virtual reality = faster decisions?

Building magazine reports that virtual reality could help with making decisions faster by enabling quicker design comparisons, early identification of design issues and changes before significant work is done, improved understanding of construction sequencing and logistics, and better training to help reduce the cost of mistakes and accidents on site.

The report does say, however, that the VR experience “can be isolating and less collaborative if poorly managed.”

According to Building magazine, the report says that the technology could become a valuable part of the visual mock-up process, enabling stakeholders to make a first assessment about aesthetics and the qualitative aspects of the project before anything is built, shortening the process and reducing time, labour and material costs.

Prospective tenants could experience property

It could also enable prospective tenants to stand in the shell and core and experience the fit-out.

The report says that 3D printing has the advantages of zero material wastage, quicker build time, cheaper bespoke parts, and a reduction in transportation time and cost. However, it also identifies several limitations, including the immaturity of 3D printing, limited quality assurance, and the large investment needed for commercial use. Potential construction applications could be bespoke furniture and fittings and bespoke structural connections and printed façade panels, according to the report.

For Building magazine’s full article about the report click here.