Using Mixed Reality for electrical construction design communication

Jad Chalhoub, Steven Ayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations


Building Information Modeling (BIM) techniques have enabled the construction industry to realize various benefits. However, most projects still rely on 2D drawings to communicate the 3D BIM content to construction personnel. While Mixed Reality (MR) could theoretically be the primary means of communicating BIM content to onsite personnel in 3D, there is not currently a thorough understanding of how this might impact the construction performance of industry practitioners. This paper explores this topic by examining the field of electrical construction. It addresses research questions related to: MR's influence on the productivity and quality of electrical conduit construction; and the effects of an industry practitioner's background on his or her performance using MR. To address these topics, a quasi-experiment was conducted that compares the performance of eighteen electrical construction personnel who were tasked with building similar conduit assemblies using traditional paper and MR. Participants completed pre- and post-activity questionnaires to provide their perceptions of the experience. The results suggest that MR enabled: a significantly higher productivity rate; reduced the time required to understand the design; led to fewer errors during the assembly process; and increased the number of accurately constructed conduits as compared to the conduits constructed using traditional paper. Additionally, nearly all participants agreed that MR is easy to use, but most still felt that they would prefer to use paper plans for design communication. The findings of this work were noteworthy because many of the participants had substantial prior experience constructing conduit using paper plans, yet they still performed the task better and faster using MR. While the small sample size limits the extent to which these findings can be generalized, the contribution of this work is in demonstrating, as a proof-of-concept, that MR can be a viable option for communicating existing BIM content to current industry practitioners and that it can offer advantages that are not currently observed through the use of a paper-based communication methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalAutomation in construction
StatePublished - Feb 2018


  • BIM
  • Mixed Reality
  • Prefabrication
  • Productivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


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