Virtual Reality Applications for Building Construction

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Simulations and models of the construction process

4D Approaches

Augmented Reality

4D Tool - How to create dynamically linked 4D model?


Modelling and simulation of construction processes using VR technology - 4D

tria00s.gif (977 bytes)  Simulations and models of the construction process

Still at present construction process planning typically means scheduling and schedules in Gantt Chart format. This kind of a schedule is not a particularly good commucation means for individuals having different background and being not necessarily familiar with formal scheduling outputs. Nowadays it is essential to build trust between project parties and give the owners and users possibility to analyse and give feedback of the construction process plans.

The main reason for problems originating from project planning is due to the individual's misconception of reality. Still nowadays a typical situation is to have only two dimensional drawings as a main background material for planning purpose. Thus, particularly in the case of multi-storey buildings one needs to have a good sense of 3D thinking in order to prepare successfully necessary plans. To increase the quality of the process plans better models and simulations of the construction process are needed. This is a one way to decrease the duration of the projects and same time keeping up the certainty that the schedule is realistic.

tria00s.gif (977 bytes)  4D Approaches

A 4D model combines 3D model with the appropriate scheduling data. Integration of the geometrical representation of the building together with scheduling data has been a topic for many research and development efforts. Different approaches for this integration are the following (contains links to the corresponding approaches):

Automation approach tria00s.gif (977 bytes)

Automated generation of 4D models refers to computer applications where a reasoning engine or engines together with construction operations knowledge are able to interpret 3D geometric data and produce process plan showing how the building can be constructed. Examples of the results from this type of research and development efforts can be found from (Aalami and Fischer, 1998; Froese et al., 1997; Levitt et al., 1988; Zozaya-Gorostiza et al., 1989).

Linking approach tria00s.gif (977 bytes) 
(4D Tool - How to create dynamically linked 4D model?)

'Linking approach' is the area where the focus of industrial apoplications probably will be. It is reality in the industry that the schedules and designs will change -> it is vital that we do not need to create the 4D model all over again. Other point supporting applications representing Linking approach is that in all projects designs and schedules have to be done. So, basically the  4D model do not cause much additional expenses. 

Recently VTT and Eurostep have developed a tool that can create a dynamic and real-time link between 3D IFC model and a schedule. 4D Tool development was partially funded by DIVERCITY - Distributed Virtual Workspace for Enhancing Communication within the Construction Industry, IST-1999-13365.

4D tool demo requires a Cortona vrml plug-in. 
But first check the instructions on how to create 4D model...

Lego approach tria00s.gif (977 bytes)

The 'Lego approach'  was tested in a pilot project in Helsinki. The THK project was an eight floor office building by a Finnish construction company YIT Corporation

The 4D model was implemented in the University of Strathclyde by Andrew Layden and Stuart Buchanan. Their work was based on 2D drawings, some photographs of the building, master schedule and detailed production plans.

svr_model.jpg (6209 bytes)

The THK Project can be run using Viscape. You can get it from here

tria00s.gif (977 bytes)   Augmented Reality

Augmented reality is a combination of a VR model and Telepresence technology. For example if a vr-model and telepresence image can be viewed together and synchronized in a way that the user can easily compare the planned schedule and actual performance [Retik et al, 1997] . In addition the vr model could be used as a pointing device for telepresence equipment. To receive additional information on some detail on site the user only needs to point the place in vr-model. Just to give an expression of augmented reality here is a demonstration of what it could look like.

Demo section

4D tool demo requires
a Cortona vrml plug-in. See details below

The THK Project can be run using Viscape. You can get it from here

Augmented Reality demonstration

Pages updated 09-01-2003 by Jarkko Leinonen and Kalle Kähkönen
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