ITcon Vol. 27, pg. 253-272, http://www.itcon.org/2022/13

Evaluating the use of virtual reality for maintainability-focused design reviews

DOI:10.36680/j.itcon.2022.013
submitted:June 2021
revised:September 2021
published:March 2022
editor(s):Turk Ž.
authors:Devarsh Bhonde, Ph.D. Student
Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia, Canada
devarsh.bhonde@ubc.ca

Puyan Zadeh, Research Associate
Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia, Canada
p.zadeh@civil.ubc.ca

Sheryl Staub-French, Professor
Department of Civil Engineering, University of British Columbia, Canada
ssf@civil.ubc.ca
summary:The Operation and Maintenance (O&M) phase can account for as much as 80% of the overall lifecycle cost of a project. The inputs from O&M practitioners are often not incorporated during the design phase leading to maintainability issues during the O&M phase, which results in significant costs and hinders building performance. Traditionally, design communication with practitioners is conducted using 2D drawings and in some more advanced projects, with Building Information Models (BIMs). Virtual Reality (VR) has the potential to facilitate maintainability-focused design input from O&M practitioners, but this application has not been studied in detail. This paper addresses the gap by examining the usability of VR for providing access-related maintainability inputs. A quasi-experimental approach was adopted to evaluate the difference in access-related inputs provided by sixteen O&M practitioners, once using 2D drawings and BIM and again using VR. We assessed the variation in time for O&M practitioners to provide the inputs and the perceived quality of the inputs using the two design communication methods. We also examined the effect of practitioners' years of experience on providing access-related maintainability inputs using VR. The results suggest that there was no statistically significant difference in the access-related maintainability inputs provided using the two design communication methods, which demonstrates that O&M practitioners could provide similar access-related inputs using VR and traditional means of communication using 2D drawings and 3D models. The results also show that O&M practitioners were able to provide inputs significantly faster using VR. The O&M practitioners also reported that VR facilitated ease of use and high confidence in their inputs. Furthermore, the practitioners' years of experience did not lead to any variation in the access-related inputs provided and the time efficiency of providing the inputs. While the small sample size limits the generalizability of the results, the study acts as a proof of concept on the usability of VR for improving O&M practitioner input on the maintainability of building designs.
keywords:Virtual Reality; Maintainability; Maintenance-access inputs; Design review; Facility Management; Building Information Modeling
full text: (PDF file, 0.717 MB)
citation:Bhonde D, Zadeh P, Staub-French S (2022). Evaluating the use of virtual reality for maintainability-focused design reviews, ITcon Vol. 27, pg. 253-272, https://doi.org/10.36680/j.itcon.2022.013