Using augmented reality in construction to find renovation issues with BNBuilders


The team at BNBuilders in Seattle utilized VisualLive’s augmented reality (AR) technology during their renovation of the Seattle Asian History Museum.

Using VisualLive’s mixed reality (XR) applications with a combination of the latest HoloLens 2 headset and MobilLive for iPads, BNBuilder and their stakeholders were able to see and correct issues ahead of time while finding and fixing infrastructure constraints that would impact architectural design requirements.

We recently visited them to find out how they like using the latest innovative technologies on the job site.

Megan Coffland, Project Manager, BNB

“When VisualLive was explained to us, it was exciting because it’s one of the first uses of BIM technology and virtual reality (VR) that seemed to directly apply to how we use construction.”

Lee Richardson, Director of Facilities, Seattle Asian History Museum

“With the ability to use VisualLive during construction, you can bring your engineering and operations teams in to see how the room is going to be laid out and how they are going to work in the room. This helps give them not only an idea of the space but also gives them the ability to start thinking about storage, workspaces, tool storage, and how they will literally move around the building.

“I think on any new building construction site or any renovation or tenant improvement job, it is a valuable tool for any facility to utilize.”

Megan Coffland, Project Manager, BNB

“We brought out this technology to show the stakeholders that what they wanted to do wasn’t going to work in the space that was half-constructed. It was great to have the team that was invested in the technology say “whoa, why didn’t we know about this?” They were immediately able to see why what they initially wanted wouldn’t work and (using the VisualLive application) it allowed us to problem-solve on-site midway through construction and provide alternative solutions. Also, it allowed us to impress an owner who is difficult to impress. It was one of those moments that immediately paid off with the costs associated with it.”

Mike Muth, Superintendent, BNB

“I’m really excited about the new technology that our industry is starting to use. We started with VR, which helped customers make decisions ahead of time. But now with AR, it is super exciting.

“We’ll use it on our future projects as well but we initially used it for a renovation project. In this building, we had really tight spaces in our mechanical areas because it was a renovation of an existing art museum. We did our 3D modeling and we wanted to bring the actual engineering team assigned to the art museum into these spaces and get a look at what it was actually going to look like when it was finished ahead of time and see if they can see any issues with it.

“We brought everyone together and they looked at VisualLive’s HoloLive and MobiLive and were really excited to use this technology as well because they hadn’t worked with any contractors who have used this technology before.

“We were able to make a couple of minor changes that they identified and built it out. It turned out really well for them. They’re really excited about how the space turned out and that they were able to see it ahead of time and make any minor changes.”

Melissa Gomez, Project Engineer, BNB

“It allows you to take a snippet/snapshot of what we’re looking at so that anyone who wasn’t involved in the walkthrough can be educated with a visual on what we were talking about.

“Before using VisualLive, it was definitely a long process. You have to come back to the office and tell people to reinstall things which adds days to the project. In our first building using VisualLive, we found a lot of the architectural wood being cut because of these MEP overhead obstructions. This was an eyesore for the architect because aesthetically speaking, it was not acceptable. Now with VisualLive, we can see everything like where the wood was going to stop and where the MEP was going to be beforehand to see if there would be any interference that could impact the design finishes. This allowed us to see these potential issues ahead of time. I was able to walk the space and see where my problem areas were and have them moved to the right location.”

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