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Developing a Virtual Reality self-evaluation platform to reduce non-compliant building and pluming work (in progress)

What we are doing and why

The VBA is supporting research by RMIT University through a research grant, for a proof of concept to develop virtual reality (VR) based inspection scenarios, and a platform for building and plumbing practitioners to use to self-assess risk of non-compliance building and plumbing work in their own projects. The proof of concept will focus on inspection scenarios targeting the risk of moisture ingress and water damage in Victorian buildings.

This research grant was awarded in 2022 and supports research to improve practitioner competency and improve the quality of the built environment.

Many Australian homes suffer from excessive dampness and indoor mould. This can be exacerbated by inadequate or poor design, poor construction practices, and poor maintenance practices, resulting from lack of awareness and knowledge in the construction industry and by building occupants. Wet areas, water proofing and drainage issues are commonly occurring areas of non-compliance risk we identify through our Proactive Inspections Program (PIP).

The researchers propose to develop a novel approach to enable illustration of on-site building inspection through a mobile VR app. This will allow practitioners to be immersed in real building site inspection scenarios through VR technology, allowing them to identify and understand work that may be at risk of non-compliance with regulatory requirements and standards and how to rectify it.

Key components of the research are:

  • Design and development of VR-based building inspection scenarios: 4K resolution 360-degree pictures and videos that illustrate building inspection under PIP, focussed on areas that are likely to lead to moisture ingress and water damage, will be captured on real construction sites for use in the VR app development.
  • Design and development of a VR app: a VR app will be designed to allow practitioners to be immersed in building site inspection scenarios. The app will guide users on how to self-evaluate whether their own work is at risk of non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
  • Design and develop of an online platform for building and plumbing practitioners to self-assess whether their own work is at risk of non-compliance with regulatory requirements. The app is proposed to generate information to users to assist them to reduce non-compliant work.

RMIT University’s Professor Ron Wakefield and Professor Peter SP Wong are leading the research.

What we have achieved so far

This research commenced in November 2022. Due for completion in 2023-24, this research complements other research the VBA is supporting to achieve a technologically advanced and innovative industry under the Building 4.0 Cooperative Research Centre.

This project could inform the development of training and education programs for building and plumbing practitioners that will assist them to self-evaluate their own work, reduce non-compliance and increase consumer confidence in the built environment. It also complements the VBA’s Practitioner Education Series webinars.