Software uses Microsoft HoloLens to overlay full-scale BIM models into real buildings

BIM Holoview is a new mixed reality visualisation tool for Revit and Navisworks that uses the Microsoft HoloLens to overlay full-scale BIM models into real buildings.

The software can help verify constructability and aid communication between designers, managers, and contractors. Post-construction, facility managers can 'look through walls' to locate hidden MEP services for maintenance and upgrades. The software is designed to handle large models without a reduction in quality (i.e. polycount reduction). According to the developers, this was done for three reasons.

One, so users could avoid having to manipulate or downscale the models before viewing them in BIM Holoview. Two, so detailed objects (e.g. fittings, special equipment) would look exactly the same as they are modelled to give users a clear visual understanding of how a model is to be implemented in a real building – to the level of identifying correct components (e.g. sprinklers) and fitting items in their correct position (e.g. bolt positioning). Three, so users were able to move room to room in full scale, with full quality, without loading new sections of the model.

Despite the focus on model quality, the developers says model load times are quick. The software’s pre-processing algorithm means the biggest file (120MB) can be loaded into the HoloLens in around 12 seconds. This, says BIM Holoview, is particularly important when showing a team member a build element, or when you need to quickly switch between models (e.g. Structure and MEP).

By default, models are loaded as transparent which allows users to see through walls and means construction teams essentially have ‘x-ray’ vision of the construction layout. However, for safety, there’s also ‘walk mode’ which hides the model so you can have an unobstructed view when walking around a construction site and going up and down stairs.

Finally, the developers says accuracy is high thanks to a 2 position marker system to align the BIM model to the real environments. However, in the event of any drift caused by the HoloLens spatial mapping, a movement function allows users to shunt the model back into alignment.

Pricing starts at $195 per month. There’s also a free 14 day trial.

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