Augmented RealitySalas O’Brien is bringing designs to life using the latest augmented reality technology so that clients, the design team, the construction team, and all stakeholders can get a more realistic view of the finished project before construction even begins. 

Augmented reality (AR) superimposes computer-generated 3D images over existing structures and provides an interactive experience of real-world environments. This technology improves our team’s, our clients’, and the contractors’ ability to accurately interpret technical drawings and visualize the installation, making it easier to identify design interferences or shortcomings in the preconstruction phase, which reduces cost and delays.  

Salas O’Brien has been using AR to swiftly illustrate the overall sense of scope and scale of a project by overlaying the finished design with the existing site. Creating an AR design starts with our in-house experts designing a 3D model of the site, expertly scaled to its real-world counterpart. As our engineers design the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, those designs are added to the 3D model. That model is then exported into an augmented reality plugin that allows users to view the it in the field through a device, such as a tablet or headset. 

AR enriches conversations with contractors and owners during on-site walkthroughs. Salas O’Brien engineers have used the technology to show them what the installation will look like before construction begins, helping them understand the project scope quicker. 

This added level of visualization between 2D concepts and reality improves delivery, coordination, quality, and efficiency. For example, during a visit to a site where our team developed an AR model for the project, the client was able to accurately visualize the projected placement for equipment and realize that the initial proposed equipment placement impinged on necessary working space to perform maintenance on one of the existing components of the system. AR allowed the client to recognize the potential problem, allowing our team to update the design and prevent the problem from existing. Without AR, that potential obstruction might not have been recognized until construction started, which would have added time and cost to the project. 

AR has already provided immense value to our clients, and as the technology continues to develop, the potential benefits seem limitless. We are excited to continue utilizing AR and pass on those benefits to the client.