Skip to content Skip to navigation

The Next Design Workflow: Transforming Project Workflow Through VR-Augmented Design Review

Virtual reality image

Images from Virtual Reality Has Made Remote Work More Collaborative, Optus connects 5G, VR for a future meeting room  and Example of multi-user collaborative VR walkthrough and troubleshooting from the PBL Lab AEC Global Teamwork course: Island2020 Global Student Team - Project Evolution Story

Project Team

Martin Fischer, Renate Fruchter, Simge Girgin

Research Overview

Observed Problem: 

Project workflow is punctuated by scheduled formal project review meetings. Design teams experience response latency, decision wait-time, and increased lead time due to lack of activity transparency and collaboration between schedule formal project review meetings.

Primary Research Objective:

This seed research aims to: 

  1. Formalize project workflow transformations through VR-augmented design reviews.
  2. Develop:
    1. Protocol that defines the VR use based on Why-Who-When-How.
    2. Framework to analyze what VR-augmented design reviews changes in design workflow.
    3. Preliminary prototype of integrated VR-augmented design workflow.

Potential Value to CIFE Members and Practice:

  • Guide companies to strategically conduct VR-based design review meetings using a protocol.
  • Help companies to understand the interdisciplinary design workflow changes focusing on response latency, decision wait-time, and design lead-time after standardized VR-use.

Research provides relevant insights for:

Owners, Designers and Builders.

Research and Theoretical Contributions:

There are three theoretical contributions of this research. First, we will develop protocol that defines the VR use based on why, who, when and how. Second, we will build a framework to analyze what VR-augmented design reviews changes in design workflow. Third, we will identify a preliminary prototype of integrated, and VR-augmented design workflow.

Industry and Academic Partners:

DPR Construction

Research Updates & Progress Reports

Progress Report June 2021

Based on the diverse emergent technologies and use-cases in the design, construction, and operation phases of the AEC projects, we expanded our study to include the extended reality (VR, AR, MR). As of June 2021, we continue reviewing XR in AEC literature and conducting a case study about the use of MR on the construction site.

This progress report describes our ongoing case study project, data collection and analysis resources, and a preliminary MR-use case that we observe during field visits.

Case Study: MR-Use on Construction Field

  1. Description
    We are working with DPR Construction on a case study focused on MR-use integration into the current workflow and formalization of required changes in the workflow towards a more effective and timely link between the field and office project members. DPR’s project that we are participating in is a 454,000 square feet life-science project with 50% office and 50% laboratory spaces. Currently, the project is at the commissioning phase and scheduled to for occupancy by the end of 2021. The project includes complex overhead MEP and lab equipment that require coordination at LOD400. Such complex project requires efficient communication of the field team (superintendents) and office team (project engineers).

    To enhance the communication between field and office teams, and empower the field team to make informed decisions, DPR’s goal is to increase the use of the coordinated model on site. DPR’s pilot mixed reality (MR) study using Spectar (software), and Microsoft HoloLens XR10 (hardware) aims to address this gap by integrating BIM metadata to field and transform field & office collaboration workflow.
  2. Data Collection and Analysis
    We are formalizing DRP’s MR-use cases, success criteria, and related workflow transformations by performing data collection and analysis through:
    • structured questionnaires with superintendents and engineers,
    • field visits and observation notes,
    • project documents.
  3. Preliminary Use Case
    During the ongoing DPR case study we observed the following MR-use case as part of the inspection phase:
    An MEP engineer identified a missing cover plate for data port on the wall while she was checking the punch list items. She called a VDC engineer who was at the office and requested him to identify the missing scope. As the MEP engineer continued with the rest of the punch list items, the VDC engineer arrived at the project location. Using the HoloLens XR10, he overlayed the coordinated model with Spectar application and identified the missing scope of work as an audiovisual data port. He immediately reported the missing data port to the related trade partner. Then, using Dynamics 365 Remote Assist on HoloLens, the VDC engineer called the MEP engineer and showed the coordinated model overlayed on the wall. With the MR solution, VDC engineer and MEP engineer saved approximately an hour that they would spent by taking pictures, going back to office, comparing pictures and the coordinated model on computer screen to identify the missing scope.
    Construction worker using ARAR image

Figure 1: An example use case of MR during inspection on the construction site. The image on the right shows the coordinated model overlayed on as built using Spectar and HoloLens XR10. Images courtesy of DPR Construction.

Original Proposal

Proposal 2020-08

Funding Year: 
Stakeholder Categories: