At the end of October last year, BIM Center of BAM Advies & Engineering, part of BAM Bouw and Techniek, carried out the first tests with the Microsoft HoloLens on the Trappenburch project in Utrecht. This led to many positive reactions from the organisation itself and far beyond. Colleagues Nico and Dinus, who had the honour of working on these tests, are now famous throughout the Netherlands.
Colleagues Robin van Esch and Jesse Mom have meanwhile stood on many stages, including at the Digital Construction Week in London, where they gave demonstrations to colleagues from the construction world. The reactions to this were very enthusiastic and have again resulted in many new ideas for the application of Augmented and Virtual Reality in our sector.
The first next step was made with facility management applications in buildings. In cooperation with BAM Accommodation Asset Management, tests were carried out on the new building of the Supreme Court of the Netherlands with object recognition and the addition of important information for various assets. The HoloLens, for example, can display a step-by-step guide for carrying out maintenance tasks to these assets, such as the replacement of air filters.
Robin van Esch:
“BIM (Building Information Modeling) not only increasingly changes building into assembly, but there is also more relevant information for management and maintenance readily available. This information can now immediately be unlocked and available on-the-job.
Augmented Reality offers the possibility to see straight through a ceiling or wall. A specific part can therefore be localised more easily without the need for demolition work. By determining the exact location, replacing parts or resolving a malfunction can be carried out more quickly and with less inconvenience.
The HoloLens can currently only recognise a limited number of pre-specified objects and display the related information, such as the last maintenance and specifications. Once the HoloLens is linked to the building management system the latest information from the building management system can be added to the objects. It will then immediately show how the part is functioning at that particular moment. Also, the current limit on the number of objects that can be recognised will soon no longer be an issue. All objects in the database of the building management system can then be requested and recognised via the HoloLens.
The necessary steps have also been taken in terms of building. A fully working ‘step-by-step’ work instruction using LEGO bricks has been realised. From there, it is a small step to actually implementing this on a building site. The restriction here, however, lies more in the vulnerability of physically having to carry the HoloLens in combination with the personal protective clothing than in the technical possibilities.
“Assembling instead of building makes working on the building site an experience that you are accustomed to with IKEA or LEGO. The HoloLens significantly reduces and simplifies the amount of information that you need to absorb. The HoloLens also recognises when the wrong part has been used. It enables you to correct mistakes timely.”
The step from LEGO to prefab elements, distribution channels or metal stud profiles is, of course, not so great. Assembling pre-defined shapes in a pre-determined sequence is the basis.
The future potential for applications of Augmented and Virtual Reality seem almost inexhaustible. The enthusiasm with which these tools are received by the colleagues on the building sites is also very promising. The added value of simplifying the work is many times greater than the familiarisation it requires. Nonetheless, the BIM Center does not expect that we will see these tools in large quantities on the building site anytime soon. The question remains whether the HoloLens will become the norm. The Daqri Smart Helmet is also one of the developments that is being closely followed.
The BIM Center of BAM Advies & Engineering continues to develop the potential of AR/VR at a rapid pace. We will provide regular updates on the current situation on the website www.bimcenter.nl.