How Warfel Construction is using Virtual Reality to save rework in Construction?
Key Problem: Rework due to inefficiencies of sharing designs across external stakeholders and clients having difficulties understanding traditional drawings.
Solution Used: Implementing VR for client presentations and cloud-based sharing of designs for better communication.
Impact: Able to collaborate with clients and external stakeholders in real-time with broader shareability and accessibility of information. Clients are able to comprehend the designs better and understand the visual components, cutting down the cost of rework in construction.
About Warfel Construction
Warfel Construction is one of the Mid Atlantic's oldest and largest providers of construction management & general contracting services and has built a solid reputation for delivering high quality projects throughout the United States. As a full-service construction company, Warfel provides a comprehensive suite of services across various sectors, including healthcare, education, commercial, and senior living. We had a very insightful talk with Rick Carter, Director of Virtual Design & Construction at Warfel Construction. According to Rick, there has been a change in the face of Construction, specifically in terms of adaptability of visual content over the last 15 to 20 years.
“Construction has been the same for hundreds of years. It hasn't changed a whole lot. But in the last 15 to 20 years, it's changed drastically because of technology. We spend a lot of time educating our team about VR because we are presenting all of the information visually,” says Rick Carter, Director of Virtual Design & Construction. "
Inability to share designs with external stakeholders causing rework
With traditional methods, Warfel faced some challenges in sharing designs with clients and external stakeholders, leading to rework. Inefficient collaboration hindered getting feedback in real-time, which led to miscommunication and delays in the field.
Clients unable to understand the project through traditional drawings
A major challenge faced at Warfel Construction was working with clients who aren’t as familiar with traditional 2D renderings and floor plans. They often had trouble quickly understanding what the designs showed and were not able to visualize the construction plans, which resulted in hindering effective communication and timely decision-making.
“Most of the clients that Warfel worked with didn't live in an environment where they could understand designs by looking at the floor plans or drawings. Clients were not confident in understanding the elements of the design such as the door, or the entrance or how you would even exit the building,” said Rick Carter.
Solution: Sharing designs on mobile & wireless VR headsets
VR presentations on Meta Quest
With the help of SENTIO VR, Warfel crafted 360 virtual tours for their clients so that they can experience the project in a more immersive way. It allowed them to walk and fly through the project, go to different locations, and get key information on both internal and external project spaces.
Typically Warfel had always done in-person presentations, walking the client through the virtual spaces and helping them put on the headset. But recently they have been shipping their Meta Quest headsets to the client and guide them on how to access the headsets and give them a guided presentation. Warfel has used Sentio VR as a means of giving Virtual mockups to their clients which in return has helped their clients give better inputs and inform them of something that is out of place or if there is something that could be done differently before it’s even built.
“VR has not just helped our clients understand the projects better but has also given our teams the ability to talk to the visuals and explain something by showcasing the VR scenario.”
Sharing designs via cloud on mobile
In the past, construction site superintendents had to memorize comprehensive project plans and check traditional 2D drawings within the job trailer. But with this updated virtual reality technology, they can conveniently access these plans on their phones, complete with visual illustrations and models. Warfel discovered the excellence of Sentio's web interface, an invaluable tool for those without access to VR goggles. However, they were particularly impressed with the immersive VR experience that Sentio offered. This interface offered more options than the web version as it provided a live, life-sized visualization, significantly enhancing the client's perception and understanding of the project.
“The web version of Sentio VR has contributed greatly to our workflow. It’s just a shareable link that you can send out to people and it’s great for the times when you don’t have VR goggles,” said Rick Carter, Director of Virtual Design & Construction.
For example, in a virtual mockup for a nursing home, a nurse put on the Meta Quest headset loaded with Warfel’s SENTIO VR mockup. She walked up to the bed and realized that the power outlet was behind the head of the bed which would cause inconvenience in the future. She was able to recognize this in the first experience itself and inform not only the contractor but also the design team to redesign the outlet either beside the bed or above it.
This was a really eye-opening experience not only for the nursing home client but also for Warfel. In the past, this would have required creating a real mockup with a real bed, outlets, and everything set up as per the design. Only then would the layout problems be discovered by physically moving things based on their feedback. This was not just valuable feedback but also had a legitimate cost of rework associated with it that Warfel could save.
Impact: Using VR & cloud-based sharing to reduce rework in construction
With the help of Virtual Reality presentations and tools to share designs easily with project stakeholders, the Warfel team was able to avoid potential errors before they even became real problems which resulted in cutting down the cost of rework and enabled better project outcomes.
“The driving force behind going for Sentio was the fact that it’s cloud-based and gives everybody access to the information that we want to share with.”
Ultimately, the implementation of VR helped Warfel transform their workflow, solve the problem of ineffective design sharing and improve client comprehension of the designs. Be it clients recognizing the elements without any guidance or sharing the designs seamlessly across external stakeholders and internally to the team, Warfel positioned themselves to be at the forefront of innovation which increased the confidence in decision-making and making informed feedback.
We thank Rick for sharing such great experiences.