If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much more is an immersive, interactive experience worth?
Virtual reality is a computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined. The user can interact within a simulated environment that appears real to the senses. Often used for entertainment, the technology is quite useful in the construction industry. We use it as a tool for visualization, systems coordination, and quality control.
Using a Matterport camera, a 3D imaging tool that converts pictures into 3D geometry in point clouds, we capture images of physical spaces to create an interactive experience. This is especially helpful for renovation and expansion projects such as the Roland-Grise Middle School renovation project in Wilmington, NC. The construction team took Matterport camera images and laser scans of the existing mechanical room to help the design team coordinate new mechanical and electrical spaces during the design phase of the project.
This technology has proven valuable for quality control in the field. At the Christopher Newport Library expansion project in Newport News, VA, we scanned the cupola frame for proper installation before the roofer began his work. We scanned the library’s mechanical room before and after coordination efforts, and prior to installing mechanical piping and chiller equipment. These tools improve our ability to perform quality control checks in the field while minimizing risk to workers.
Virtual imaging provides a view previously only available to a man on a scaffold or ladder. At the South Bay Inn & Suites project in Myrtle Beach, SC, we scanned the plumbing installation above the architectural ceiling in the main lobby to be sure everything fit as planned. After construction, we use this technology to coordinate as-built drawings, documenting the finished structure.
We use this technology to capture reality, perhaps to help certain customers market their product. Using a Matterport camera, our Virtual Construction team, with the help of our summer interns, captured images of the new independent living apartments at Patriots Colony in Williamsburg, VA. Enjoy this virtual tour of the model home.
Dwayne G. Sellars, CM-BIM, LEED AP, leads W.M. Jordan Company’s Virtual Construction department. He consistently finds new ways to implement cutting-edge technology that improves coordination, efficiency, quality, and safety of W. M. Jordan’s projects. A champion of Building Information Modeling, Dwayne works to set professional standards and mentors others in the use of emerging technologies.
Dwayne holds a BS in Architectural Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University. He is a member of the BD+C “Top Forty under 40” Class of 2016, recognized for his innovation, leadership, and dedication to improving the world through technology and service. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.