Simulation software imitates real-life operations using models in a virtual world. The simulation is created to mimic specific processes or systems involved in a construction project. Simulations are essential because they enable owners, architects, engineers, and project managers to use visuals and manipulate interactive elements to identify risks.
A visual simulation should include essential details about the construction project, such as constraints, timing, and resources. An example of a technology that can create simulations for generating infrastructure solutions is ALICE Technologies. The platform leverages BIM technology to create 3D models that help reduce risks, save time, and protect finances.
For a more immersive experience, construction managers use constructed reality methods. With this technology, construction companies allow property developers to have virtual visits of their buildings before construction actually begins.
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VR and infrastructure simulation
A few decades ago, architects and engineers made 3D models but had to share them in person with their teams. These days, 3D models are readily shareable using new technologies such as AI and virtual reality. One main advantage of this is maximized efficiency.
Due to increased collaboration, key players in a construction project can quickly implement design alterations, preventing scope creep. It is also important to note these technologies have made it possible to update existing simulations. This increases your brand equity when you bid for contractual projects because clients obtain instant feedback.
Apart from increasing efficiency, VR has also been used to improve safety. This is possible because construction managers can use technology to adhere to established safety protocols/standards.
How is simulation used in construction?
Simulation is used in the entire building life cycle. For example, during the concept design phase, contractors can simulate project challenges to identify how these obstacles can be solved without affecting the overall construction goals. Alternatively, simulation can be used to identify alternatives or options that can be used.
If you build residential units, the designer will simulate the best areas for pedestrians to use as a walkway. This is popularly known as a wind comfort simulation exercise. There is also the technical design stage. At this stage, simulations can be used to quantify the impact of your decisions.
For example, let us assume that you are repairing a major road, and to do this, you need to seal it off. Where traffic flow is a major concern, simulation can help you quantify the impact of closing two lanes instead of one.
General contractors also use simulation platforms when working on linear projects such as tunnels and roads. The simulation will make it easy for the contractor to solve any challenges or restrictions. This helps to minimize construction risk and save time and money.
Simulation is also used for design mapping to determine the exact resources required to implement a construction project. Apart from identifying the precise amount of resources needed, it can also be used to determine the best work sequence that will reduce risks and increase your return on investment.
Two main groups of people use simulation in the construction industry: architects and contractors.
How does simulation help architects?
One main reason an architect would use simulation is to design a sustainable building. This comes in handy, especially when making non-standard-shaped buildings, because the architect may have to optimize the aerodynamic shape of the structure.
In addition, simulation ensures that the occupants of a building are comfortable when they inhibit the space. This is more applicable when building structures more than 200 meters high. Simulation also helps architects design sustainable buildings that can withstand and reduce strong disruptions such as wind forces. The simulation also allows architects to win contracts based on their designs and sustainability.
How does simulation help contractors?
Simulation platforms can help contractors win lucrative bids. This is possible because they create ideal scheduling options while factoring in externalities such as weather conditions. At the same time, contractors can identify the best construction approach that can work when they have limited resources.
For example, they will accurately know how many workers are required to finish a floor or how many cranes will be needed to reduce construction time by several months. With this information, contractors can develop competitive bids that increase their chances of winning a contract.
Advantages of using a simulation platform
One main benefit of simulation is that it enables property developers to avoid costly mistakes that can stall an entire project. This is because simulation allows you to test theories and run several probabilities or alternatives without affecting construction costs. Some AI-powered platforms reduce risks because they can advise on whether a strategy is viable or not.
Other advantages of using a simulation platform are as follows:
You can simulate complex scenarios
Let us assume that you are building a mega construction project involving thousands of moving parts and personnel. An excellent example of this would be the building of a new airport. In this case, you can use simulation platforms to simulate an airport’s daily operations.
The platform should advise how to do your construction work without affecting the airport’s daily operations.
You identify long terms impacts
The benefit of simulating a construction project is that you can identify the project’s long-term impact before construction. This way, property developers can know whether their projects will be viable or not.
Easy to peer review
Another advantage of stimulating a construction project is that it is easy to peer-review designs. Peer reviewing is vital because it enables independent architects and engineers to identify errors that could have been previously missed. In addition, peer reviewers can easily make adjustments to designs.
Simulation increases brand equity
Brand equity enables you to stand out from the competition because you offer superior services compared to your competitors. Construction clients will feel more inclined to work with you because of your up-to-date technology and ability to provide them with a virtual visit of their project. It can be much easier to commit to a project when you can see the end product right in front of you.