Unlock the Power of Virtual Reality (VR) for training in construction sites: simplify workflows and mitigate risks for enhanced efficiency and safety. Discover all the benefits!
The construction industry is renowned for its high risk and the severe consequences it poses for workers worldwide. However, in the present era, technology emerges as a vital catalyst in enhancing safety practices, effectively mitigating workplace risks while reducing the frequency of accidents and injuries on construction sites. As we explore the transformative power of technology and more specifically its role in cultivating a robust safety culture within the construction industry we also realise that innovative software solutions can pave the way for a safer environment, safeguarding the well-being of construction workers and elevating industry standards.
Through immersive VR (iVR) simulations, workers can acquire valuable skills and knowledge without the inherent dangers and risks present on actual construction sites. In this article, we explore how virtual reality training methods can effectively teach and manage construction site risks. By leveraging the capabilities of the BIM Metaverse, you can undergo a comprehensive and realistic virtual experience of your construction site, effectively simulating risk scenarios that aid in the preparation and training of workers.
Overview of Virtual Reality technologies for training
VR technology provides professionals and businesses in the AEC sector with tools to realistically reproduce work environments and activities and to create a collaborative virtual space where people can work, learn and explore together. Allow me to explain what are the most important aspects affecting this technology, gradually becoming part of our everyday lives.
Virtual Reality devices
There are several types of virtual reality devices on the market, including headsets, gloves and haptic suits. These devices allow users to immerse themselves in a three-dimensional virtual environment and interact with it through movements and gestures. Some examples of headsets are definitely HTC VIVE, HTC VIVE PRO, META QUEST 1/2.
Software and applications
There are training applications for virtual reality compatible with the various devices available. This software simulates specific situations and scenarios in the construction industry, allowing workers to gain practical experience in a virtual environment.
The positive aspect of these software is that they create immersive experiences from different points of view :
- architecture virtual reality software that allows you to use this technology for all architecture and interior design projects;
- site management BIM software, where thanks to IVR you can understand in advance your site, how it will evolve over time and where or how activities will take place foreseeing potential risks;
- the BIM metaverse, which transforms the digital model into a virtual environment where different professional figures can meet, interact and work in an immersive way.
Advantages of virtual reality training in the construction industry
In construction, virtual reality-based training is significantly more effective than traditional training. The main advantages can be identified in the following points.
Safety and risk reduction
One of the main advantages of virtual reality in training is the possibility of training in a safe and controlled environment. Thanks to the VRI, workers can familiarize themselves with the risks. As well as the dangerous situations typical of construction sites without being exposed to situations of real danger. In this way reducing the risk of accidents at work and a greater safety is guaranteed for all participants.
Practical experience and stakeholders’ involvement
Training through virtual reality enables workers to gain practical experience more effectively than traditional training. Users are immersed in an interactive three-dimensional environment and can directly experience simulated situations. Therefore making learning more engaging and memorable.
Saving time and costs
The use of virtual reality in training can lead to considerable time and cost savings. Training sessions can be repeated endlessly. Without the need to set up expensive training sets or interrupting operations on the site. In addition, the possibility of distance learning reduces the costs associated with travel and accommodation for training courses.
Use of virtual reality for training in site risk management
VR technology provides AEC industry professionals and businesses with the necessary tools to authentically recreate work environments and activities. By establishing a collaborative virtual space, individuals can seamlessly collaborate, learn, and explore together.
Trainees on virtual reality’s based simulations become aware of situations and experiences that are difficult to achieve with traditional methods. They allow construction workers to experience critical situations in total safety. Helping them to manage and address all potential risks in the best possible conditions and with increased awareness.
Here are some of the most important aspects that can improve the training of employees and operators in the construction sector.
Identification of risks
Training workers with Virtual reality is useful to identify the typical risks of construction. Such as falling materials and improper use of equipment or non-compliance safety procedures . By simulating realistic scenarios, users learn to recognize danger signals and take appropriate preventive measures.
Virtual reality training helps workers develop practical skills to prevent accidents on construction sites. For example, users can learn how to properly use personal protective equipment. To properly position guardrails and safety nets or on how to handle emergency situations.
Training on emergency procedures
Virtual reality has definitely emerged as an exceptional training tool for mastering emergency procedures, including site evacuation protocols, fire extinguisher usage, and first aid provisions. By immersing users in realistic and repetitive simulations, virtual reality enables individuals to gain familiarity and confidence in effectively managing such critical situations.
Critical issues and challenges in the implementation of virtual reality
Despite the numerous advantages, the adoption of virtual reality training in the construction sector also presents some challenges and critical issues. Which include:
- high upfront costs: Purchasing virtual reality devices and developing custom software can result in a hefty upfront investment;
- resistance to change: Some workers may be reluctant to use virtual reality technology. Particularly if they are unfamiliar with new technologies;
- technical limitations: the simulations’ quality and the interactivity offered by virtual reality depend on the devices’ power and the quality of the software used. Therefore, it is essential to invest in high-quality solutions to ensure an effective training experience.
How to Choose the Right Type of Training
To choose the training solution with virtual reality that best suits your needs, it is important to consider several factors, including:
- available budget: evaluate the initial costs and maintenance expenses associated with virtual reality’s implementation in training;
- internal technical skills: ensure that you have qualified personnel capable of managing and maintaining virtual reality devices and associated software;
- industry specificity: choosing a virtual reality solutions that is specifically designed for the construction sector covering the relevant aspects of site risk management;
- scalability: opting for easily adapting solutions to the evolving needs of the company and the industry.
The future of Virtual Reality in construction
This is a very promising initiative for the future! With the continuous development of new technologies and costs’ reduction, virtual reality is becoming an increasingly widespread. Along with accessible tool for training and risk management on construction sites. In addition, the integration of technologies such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Thing (IoT) could further improve the effectiveness. As well as the personalization of virtual reality training experiences.
Use of virtual reality in construction training: the example of the CNR of Pisa
Here’s a case study that demonstrates the value of immersive virtual reality in training scenarios.
The project concerns the “Super-elevation of the CNR of PISA” and was led by the University of Florence, the CNR of PISA and INAIL Toscana. The entire work has led, among other things, to the development of digital processes for training workers in immersive virtual reality through the use of the usBIM.reality application.