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  • Writer's pictureRakshita Soni

How does Windover Construction resolve key communication challenges in Construction using VR?


How Windover Construction resolves three key communication challenges in Construction using VR?

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About Windover Construction

Windover Construction, a leading construction company based in New England has three awards at the prestigious global Autodesk Awards for transforming AEC is dedicated to the core purpose of building great things with great people, Windover creates state-of-the-art commercial and institutional spaces, urban multi-family and senior living communities, and select custom homes. As a 100% employee-owned firm, Windover is differentiated by its people and focused on providing exceptional experiences for clients and all team partners from project inception to completion. Windover works with clients throughout New England to provide construction management, design-build, project development, and virtual design and construction services.

We had a very insightful conversation with Amr Raafat, Chief Innovation Officer at Windover Construction. We learned how WIndover uses VR technology to its finest in different use cases and has revolutionized project visualization, design management, safety training, material selection, and client engagement while eliminating communication challenges in construction.


“Windover Construction has quite heavily used VR in the AEC space, We used VR to not only develop visuals but also to highlight how the client’s project would look like”- said Amr Raafat, CIO at Windover Construction.


Problem 1: Challenges in Construction in visualizing projects by clients & stakeholders


The challenge faced by Windover Construction was effectively showcasing their project designs to their clients and stakeholders, traditional 2D drawings and blueprints often failed to convey details of the project accurately which led to the client not being able to understand the designs and project accurately.

Solution: VR Visualization for effective client communication & engagement


At a fundraising event at Saint John Breb for new music facilities, the Windover team built a highly realistic VR experience in 3D max, uploaded these VR experiences, employed Meta Quest VR headsets, and did demos within the Sentio VR app creating a VR ecosystem for the potential donors which couldn’t be matched by any traditional method.


“The nice thing about Sentio VR is its quick processing, ease of use, and high compatibility with Meta Quest which makes it easier to conduct client presentations without any high-end computer”


Impact: Successful client engagement resulting in substantial Fundraising

By immersing the potential donors in a virtual representation of the project, Windover Construction significantly enhanced engagement and communication and was able to establish a deeper emotional connection between the donors and the project.

Building a detailed model of the music center, and showcasing to donors not only how the project is going look but also the positive impact it is going to have on the students’ lives and their learning through VR experience helped the client raise over $2 million.


Problem 2: Streamlining design management and material selection

One of the challenges Windover Construction faced was an unforeseen condition after completing a state-of-the-art sports facility for a school. The brightness of the stadium lights was causing discomfort to a neighbor living nearby. The school wanted to address this issue and find a solution that would mitigate the impact of the bright lights on the neighbor's living room.


It’s often challenging to make informed decisions regarding material selection and placement of particular objects based on 2D drawings. It leads to errors and misinterpretation and also hinders collaboration between architects and clients.


Solution: Real-time collaboration

To solve the problem of light mitigation, Windover Construction adopted a very unusual approach using VR technology. They created a detailed 3D model of the stadium with software like 3D Studio Max. They made a detailed model of the stadium replicating the exact light, including its hue and intensity, based on the cut sheets provided which allowed them to visualize the problem accurately.


With the help of real-time collaboration Windover was able to have a meeting with the client and the neighbor in VR experience, they explored various options to block the unwanted light effectively. They tested different solutions such as evergreen trees, barricades, and screens. The goal was to find the optimal solution that would block the light while maintaining an aesthetically pleasing appearance.


After considering different options, they ultimately decided to use a screen. However, the challenge was to determine the exact location where the screen should be placed to effectively block the light without compromising the overall visual appeal of the stadium.


Impact: Efficient and effective selection of material and placement of objects

By utilizing VR for light mitigation, Windover Construction was able to quickly assess and address unforeseen conditions post-construction. The immersive VR experience enabled them to visualize the problem from the neighbor's perspective, providing valuable insights for making informed decisions.


Additionally, VR allowed them to test multiple options virtually, saving time and resources compared to traditional trial-and-error methods. They could precisely determine the amount and type of screen required, ensuring it was appropriate for the stadium and was positioned optimally on-site to block the light effectively.


The use of VR in this scenario showcased its potential in solving unconventional challenges and finding efficient and effective solutions. Windover Construction demonstrated the versatility and practicality of VR as a problem-solving tool in addressing the unforeseen even beyond the construction phase.


Windover Construction improved the efficiency of the design review process, minimized errors, and enhanced collaboration with architects and clients. Virtual walkthroughs and interactive design reviews provided stakeholders with a clearer understanding of the project's layout, allowing for more informed decision-making and increased client satisfaction.


Problem 3: Optimising Designs and User Experience

Windover Construction faced challenges related to design and user experience optimization in several projects, including the K B Nymca, Babson College's Wiseman Center, and the nursing school at Endicut College. The goal was to ensure the optimal selection of materials, space utilization, and satisfaction for the end users while considering budget constraints.


Solution: VR for realistic visualization

In each of these projects, Windover Construction utilized VR technology to address the design and user experience challenges. They created detailed 3D models in software like 3D Studio Max, replicating the materials, textures, and layouts of the spaces. By immersing the clients, architects, and other stakeholders in VR experiences, they provided a realistic representation of the projects.


“K B Nymca was a non-profit client, every component of the budget counts. We selected all the materials in VR because it highlighted a lot of things that could not have been realized in traditional 2D plans or even 3D renderings.”


During VR sessions, the stakeholders could navigate the virtual spaces and make real-time decisions regarding various design aspects. They could visualize the materials, paint colors, and furniture options, which enhanced their understanding of how the final spaces would look and feel. This approach enabled them to identify potential issues or improvements that might not have been identified in traditional 2D plans or 3D renderings.


Impact: Enhanced client satisfaction and collaboration

Meeting clients and stakeholders in an immersive VR experience and giving them a walkthrough of a realistic experience about how their project would look once it’s built had a significant impact on design collaboration, decision-making, and client satisfaction. It enabled the client to understand and visualize the spaces in a way that traditional methods couldn’t match.


The stakeholders provided Windover Construction with valuable inputs which helped them make informed decisions about the design elements that directly affected their experience within the spaces.


“While building the Wiseman Center, Windover created a VR experience for the client, put a VR headset on them, and walked them through the entire space and immediately the client realized that the kitchen counter was very tight. Designer, architect, and client everyone was there and they could manage the design and make the decision in real-time visualizing how the final space would look like”


This approach resulted in improved client satisfaction as their preferences and needs were taken into account during the design phase. The ability to visualize and customize spaces in real time allowed for efficient adjustments and optimized designs, leading to a better end product that met the expectations and requirements of the client.


“Clients selecting how everything will fit or look in the spaces rather than only the design team dictate that to them, which actually results in better client satisfaction towards the end when we deliver that product.”


Furthermore, the use of VR technology streamlined the decision-making process, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming iterations and changes during the construction phase. This resulted in improved project efficiency and cost-effectiveness.


Problem 4: Ensuring Safety Training & OSHA Compliance

Conducting effective safety training for staff members, including those who are not directly involved in the construction process.


Solution: VR for safety training

Windover Construction developed in-house VR scenarios to train staff members on OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) violations and best practices. They created virtual job sites and office environments to simulate various safety hazards and situations.

For example, they designed scenarios where employees could identify safety violations in a car, such as distracted driving or inappropriate seatbelt usage. The VR training also extended to identifying violations on construction sites, such as improper ladder placement on scissor lifts.


Impact: Memorable safety training in an immersive experience

VR proved to be an effective tool for engaging employees and reinforcing safety protocols. By creating interactive scenarios and incorporating gamified incentives, Windover Construction made safety training more engaging and memorable for staff members. VR allowed employees to visually experience safety violations and learn how to address them in a realistic environment. This approach helped create a culture of safety awareness and compliance among employees, both on construction sites and in other settings like offices.


“The impact of VR-based safety training extended beyond the training sessions themselves. It was a memorable experience for the employees and they were more likely to retain and apply their knowledge in real-life situations which contributes to a safer work environment, reduced risk of accidents, and improved overall job site and office safety compliance.”


Not limiting the use of Virtual reality just to traditional use cases but expanding beyond client presentation and design reviews, Windover Construction proves to be a pioneer in adapting and heavily implementing virtual reality in their workflows leading to enhanced design collaboration, user satisfaction, project visualization, and informed decision making.


We thank Amr Raafat for sharing such a great experience.


Are you also interested in trying VR for design reviews and client presentations at your work and winning more projects? Try SENTIO VR for Free or get in touch with us directly.

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