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4D/BIM model linked to VR technology

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The potential of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to support a transformation of the processes of design and construction has been evident in the construction industry. A current BIM topic that requires attention is the integration of BIM with Virtual Reality (VR), where the user visualizes a virtual world through interactive devices or a total immersion. VR combines several devices for interaction, creating virtual environment, and this must followed by studies concerning how to use devices or how to establish links for the presentation of information contained in a BIM model. By adding VR, the BIM solution can address retrieving and presenting information and increasing efficiency on communication and problem solving in an interactive and collaborative project. The text presents a review of actual perspective of the use of VR applied in 4D/BIM models.
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4D/BIM model linked to VR technology
Alcínia Zita Sampaio
Dep. Civil Engineering
University of Lisbon
Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon,
Portugal
zita@civil.ist.utl.pt
ABSTRACT
The potential of Building Information Modeling (BIM) to support
a transformation of the processes of design and construction has
been evident in the construction industry. A current BIM topic
that requires attention is the integration of BIM with Virtual
Reality (VR), where the user visualizes a virtual world through
interactive devices or a total immersion. VR combines several
devices for interaction, creating virtual environment, and this must
followed by studies concerning how to use devices or how to
establish links for the presentation of information contained in a
BIM model. By adding VR, the BIM solution can address
retrieving and presenting information and increasing efficiency on
communication and problem solving in an interactive and
collaborative project. The text presents a review of actual
perspective of the use of VR applied in 4D/BIM models.
CCS CONCEPTS
Multimedia Information Systems Artificial, augmented,
and virtual realities
KEYWORDS
BIM, VR, 4D model, construction
ACM Reference format:
A.Z. Sampaio. 2017. SIG Proceedings Paper in Word Format. In
Proceedings of ACM VRIC, Laval, France, March 2017
(VRIC’17), 4 pages.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3110292.3110298
1 INTRODUCTION
Building Information Modelling (BIM) is defined as the process
of generating, storing, managing, exchanging, and sharing
building information in an interoperable and reusable way [1].
BIM represents the process of development and use of a computer
generated model to simulate the planning, design, construction
and operation of a facility [2]. The resulting product, a Building
Information Model, is a data-rich, intelligent and parametric
digital representation of the building project. So, BIM can be
considered as a digital representation of a building, an object-
oriented three-dimensional (3D) model, and a repository of
project information to facilitate interoperability and exchange of
information with related software applications. Therefore, BIM
data-rich model allows views and data, appropriate to various
users’ needs, can be extracted and analyzed to generate
information that can be used to make decisions and to improve the
process of delivering the facility.
BIM can generate and maintain information produced during the
whole life cycle of a building project—from design to
maintenance—and can be applied to various fields. Due to the
consistency of design data with quality data and construction
process with quality control process, the potential of BIM
implementation in quality management lies in its ability to present
multi-dimensional data including design data and time sequence.
BIM and its applications in project management are considered
nD/BIM models, namely [1]: 3D/BIM model refers to all 3D
building components (architectural, structural, mechanical,
electrical. . ., etc.) and it incorporates all the building aspects,
including geometry, spatial relationships, properties and quantities
[2]; 4D/BIM model concerns the construction process that can be
visualized by building the 3D product model through time
according to the critical path network (the model supports
dynamic construction site safety management, preparation of
schedules and estimates, tracking and managing changes, and
managing site logistics) [3]; 5D/BIM model is related with costs
(take-off material quantities, cost planning and estimating, safety
checking integration for dynamic safety analysis); 6D/BIM model
is created to support management facilities and maintenance along
the post occupation lifecycle of the building [4]. The nD
directions of BIM use must be based in an adequate relationship
between the team members improving a better collaborative
project, supported in an efficient interoperability of specific
software.
A current BIM topic that require state of the art technology, is the
integration of BIM with Augmented Reality (AR), combining the
real world with virtual objects (partial immersion), and with
Virtual Reality (VR), where the user visualize a virtual world that
is not real (total immersion), through special glasses. This field is
interrelated with other fields that can make use of the visualization
allowed by the BIM model, such as facilities management related
with the visualization of data included in a BIM model, in real
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VRIC '17, March 22–24, 2017, Laval, France
© 2017 Association for Computing Machinery.
ACM ISBN 978-1-4503-4858-4/17/03…$15.00
http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/3110292.3110298
VRIC’17, March 22–24, 2017, Laval, France A.Z.. Sampaio
2
time following the interaction made possible by VR technology.
BIM provides an opportunity to analyze a model namely for:
constructability conflicts; ways to reduce energy usage; validating
energy reducing design ideas; or improving life safety. As such, it
is expected to be further explored in the near future. The objective
of this paper is to report the improvement of BIM uses with the
addition of interactive capacities allowed by VR technology. A
bibliographic and software research was made to support the
study.
2 4D/VR MODEL AND 4D/BIM MODEL
4D CAD models, that integrate physical 3D elements with time,
have been used to visualize construction processes in several
projects worldwide. 4D models have been used during the
construction phase and have been shown to have benefits over
processes that span the entire lifecycle of a project such as
collaboration with stakeholders, making design decisions,
assessing project constructability, identifying spatial conflicts in
construction [5]. Concerning the creation of 4D applications, as a
support to follow construction planning, several studies can be
found, linking VR technology to 3D geometric models and reports
related with the generation of 4D/BIM models without the
addition of VR (Fig. 1):
Figure 1: Screen shots of 4D/VR simulation processes [6] [7]
and of 4D/BIM application [8].
Dawood et al. (2002) [6] report the development of an
integrated database to act as an information resource base for
4D/VR construction process simulation. A comprehensive
core database of building components was designed, using a
standard classification method (Uniclass), and integrated
interfaces between MS access database, AutoCAD drawings
and MS project schedules were developed and implemented.
The research team was focused on the development of 4D/VR
prototype simulator using VBA modeling supported on the
database of AutoCAD 3D models;
Sampaio et al. [7] implemented a prototype based on VR
technology applied on construction planning. The geometrical
AutoCAD 3D model of distinct steps of the construction
activity is linked to the construction planning schedule,
defining a 4D model. VR technology allows the visualization
of different stages of the construction, and the interaction with
the construction activity, resulting in a valuable asset in
monitoring the development of the construction activity. The
prototype makes use of MS Project, AutoCAD and EON
Studio software. The 4D/VR application clearly shows the
constructive process, avoiding inaccuracies and building
errors, and so improving the communication between partners
in the construction process;
Sampaio and Mota [8] created a 4D/BIM model using
Autodesk software (Revit and Navisworks) and MS Project.
The 4D model allows the addition of time associations to the
3D elements, grouped in sets related with each task, allowing
the visualizations and analysis of the activity sequence for the
construction. The Navisworks software allowed the
interconnections amongst the 3D models created in the
planning where this solution built the interconnection of 3D
models with planning in MS Project. The ability to navigate
through the model allows analyzing each corner and each
location of the model. Navisworks also has the potential to
provide support in the analysis and detection of conflicts
amongst the specialty projects;
3 4D/VR/BIM MODEL
Recent developments in virtual reality have encouraged the
utilization of interactive architectural visualization in the design,
construction and facility management of building BIM projects.
Du et al. (2016) [4] find that the interpersonal interaction in the
VR environment is more critical to the effective communication
in a building project, as it creates a shared immersive experience,
and developed a BIM-enabled VR environment to realize
multiplayer walkthrough in virtual buildings. The multiplayer
virtual walk allows real time interactions of remotely located
project stakeholders in the same environment, with a shared
immersive walkthrough experience [9]. CAVE-like platforms
have been developed for immersive VR experience as they track
user’s head and control wand usually with 6 degrees of freedom,
to navigate inside the virtual environment and interact with the
contents. Due to its immersive experience and intuitive
manipulation capability, it quickly gained popularity in both
research and industry community [10].
4D/BIM model linked to VR technology VRIC’17, March 22–24, 2017, Laval, France
3
The basic concept of BIM is a consistent 3D model of buildings
containing all main data as base for collaboration for all
disciplines. Since BIM-software is normally run on single
workstations, the potential for direct collaboration is somehow
limited. The focus of research conducted by Kieferle and
Woessner [11] was to provide a platform for development and
optimization by combining BIM and VR (linking Revit with
COVISE, a VR software). They have been able to implement a
range of interactions but however they detected some limitation in
the process.
Some progress has been made on VR techniques such as
registration on tracking and display hardware, but only recently
the link to BIM methodology have being made. However, a VR
system should be more convenient and combined with in-use
applications to support multi-disciplinary users throughout
construction lifecycle. Jiao et al. [12] presents a pilot cloud
framework regarding an environment utilizing web3D, BIM and
BSNS (business social networking services). Technical solutions
to key issues such as authoring, publishing, and composition are
designed. The proposed environment is seamlessly integrated into
in-use information systems and therefore enjoys greater usability.
Combining BIM with VR is expected to envision efficient
collaboration, improved data integrity, intelligent documentation,
distributed access and retrieval of building data and high quality
project outcome through enhanced performance analysis, as well
as multidisciplinary planning and coordination [13]. VR research
considers not only the technological development; a very
important part of the research also concerns the application of the
technologies and their adoption by the practices. In BIM, while
the potential benefits of the technologies may seem evident, the
industry adoption rate of BIM varies and now the importance of
adding VR benefits must be a research point.
The BIM includes semantics into the construction process (e.g.,
structure, air conditioning/ventilation, mechanical, electrical,
plumbing, etc.) and data for simulation (materials/structure
resistance, energy consumption, thermal calculations, lighting,
acoustic simulations, etc.). These issues must be addressed
throughout the construction project but mainly, at the beginning
during the design phase to fulfill the customer’s requirements,
during the construction work to anticipate technical constraints on
site, and during the maintenance phase to control the building
[13]. Introducing VR interactive capabilities into 3D/BIM models
in the construction process is a main way to test virtually and
correct a construction project before the realization, as the
walkthrough is available as well the visualization of data linked to
each parametric object, improving the necessity collaboration
within the design team. So, BIM/VR applications can contribute
to reduce costs due to the construction of a real mock-up, and to
avoid mistakes on site that generates material wastes.
VR combines a device for interaction creating virtual environment
and the current aim is study how to use device or establish links
for the presentation of information contained in a BIM models.
Following that perspective, commercial software houses have
been developing advanced BIM/VR products. The use of BIM
technology on construction projects has the potential to improve
the process by allowing all team members to collaborate in an
accurate and efficient way. Unlimited extension of the use of BIM
information combines BIM-based software with other advanced
technologies. These advanced technologies link the digital to the
physical entities and research has already been conducted to
investigate the combination of BIM and other technologies such
as VR for quality defect management [3]. Some of the VR
software adapted to BIM and the main capacities are listed below
(Fig. 2):
Enscape is Revit plugin that creates a VR walkthrough
with one click, based on BIM data. There is no need to
download or learn how to operate additional software.
All materials, geometry and entourage come from the
Revit project and can be changed during the VR
simulation. This flexibility allows spontaneous
presentations with the real-time rendering quality you
know from modern games, but from within the
architectural design workflow. Combined with the
Oculus Rift, customers can virtually walk through the
Enscape project and experience it as if it were already
built [14];
Augment is software that can be used in smartphone or
tablet allowing the user to view the 3D model in the real
environment in real time from multiple perspectives.
BIM with VR enables project stakeholders to create
information-rich virtual models that help better visualize
building projects. Data-rich virtual information is
available on site through connected devices in real time.
Site managers can overlay the BIM model on the project
site. Construction issues can be addressed in real time,
saving time and resources. Similarly, internal assets can
be illustrated to facilitate installation and layout [15];
Samsung Gear VR is a virtual reality device that
allows exploring virtual worlds at the construction site
or during meetings. To use Gear VR during construction
phases and facility management purposes two paths are
needed: BIM model and construction site picture based,
and users must be familiarized with Revit software and
3ds Max software for visualizing and rendering, or to
navigate inside game engines like Unity3D with
Android Studio are need [16].
4 CONCLUSIONS
For architects and designers, VR+BIM enable them to better
communicate design intent. A challenge for architects is that of
communicating concepts and visions for buildings. The advantage
to using VR is in the communication of ideas, concepts and the
vision for their building. This enables all the parties to more
quickly reach a full appreciation of the building plan. When
everyone shares a common understanding of the design, the
project is executed more efficiently from the outset. This current
BIM with VR topic require dissemination; application in real
cases and pointed out, in reports, achievements and limitation;
following the technologic advances that supports the BIM use and
the visualization of data, in real time while the interacting with the
VRIC’17, March 22–24, 2017, Laval, France A.Z.. Sampaio
4
model made possible by VR technology. BIM + VR provide an
opportunity to analyze and explore BIM models within virtual
environments.
Figure 2: Screen shots of BIM/VR software [14] [15] [16].
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Building Information Modeling (BIM) has recently attained widespread attention in the Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry. BIM represents the development and use of computer-generated n-dimensional (n-D) models to simulate the planning, design, construction and operation of a facility. It helps architects, engineers and constructors to visualize what is to be built in simulated environment and to identify potential design, construction or operational problems. In this paper, the benefits and possible risks of BIM and future challenges for the construction industry are discussed. First presented is the main concept of BIM with its advantages and possible applications in construction. Then the role of BIM in the construction industry and academia is discussed based on the results of three recent questionnaire surveys. After that, a case study of Hilton Aquarium project in Atlanta is presented to quantitatively illustrate the cost and time savings realized by developing and using a building information model. It is followed by data from 10 construction projects to determine the net BIM savings and BIM return on investment. At the end, BIM risks and future challenges for the construction industry are discussed.
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