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Virtual Reality in Construction Cost Estimating

By Mandy Frazure- Jan 04 - Present
Committee: Dr. Tulio Sulbaran (Chair), Prof. Doris Kemp, Dr. Shelton Houston
Project Objective
It is the researcherís intention to research existing software on the market and to develop/alter a three dimensional software program aiding in the estimating and visualization processes of the construction industry in real-time. The software capabilities proposed here will create three-dimensional information that aids in the estimating of a building project and allows the user to visualize data more efficiently, thus saving time and money on an anticipated construction project. In doing so, it would present a more systematic advance in estimating conceptual options and a way of focusing the clientís awareness on the project scope in its entirety. The capability to calculate costs while envisioning details in three dimensions will make construction more resourceful, reduce costs, and improve quality.


In the construction industry, cost estimating is a time-consuming, costly and essential phase of any building project. Cost estimates rely on the decisions made throughout the project by clients, designers and constructors. Decisions made by the clients, designers and constructors early in the project have the greatest impact on the final construction cost. However, a major problem during the cost decision-making process is that clients lack technical expertise to fully understand/visualize the construction documents. Furthermore, clients lack the technical knowledge to assess the cost impact of their decisions. The objective of this research project is to modify an existing virtual reality development tool to address this problem by allowing a user to navigate/visualize the project, make materials changes to the project and calculate cost-impact of these changes in real time. In order to achieve this, the researcher will implement existing methods of cost-estimating into the virtual development tool by adding a cost database, and a set of calculations to determine the cost impact of the changes to be made by the clients. It is anticipated that the real-time cost update and the visual component of the modified virtual reality development tool will allow the clients to better understand the impact of the changes and therefore save money by making decisions early in the project.


Project Results
It is anticipated at the end of this project that by implementing virtual reality into construction cost estimating, this will provide an easier way for clients, designers, and constructors to be able to work together to make decisions addressing cost issues earlier in the project. This method will save the construction industry money by aiding the clients in visualization processes and reveal potential cost problems of the project. This method will save time by supplying the users with estimating costs and updates in a real time virtual environment instead of examining, collecting, and verifying data from a set of 2-D working drawings, which have been the most commonly used methods of construction estimating in the past. This tool would provide the clients, designers, and constructors a way to visualize the final product in construction processes and in doing so, combine tasks, save time, and save money.


Project Links
Resume House VRML Text
Report Powerpoint VRML HTML
Thesis Proposal Powerpoint Architectural Flythrough
House VRML Zip        
CostSchedule house2 Cost Schedule Instructions (READ FIRST)
CostSchedule house3  


Last Modification: Tuesday August 02, 2005 03:48 PM
Originally Developed by: Dr. Tulio Sulbaran - Email: Tulio.Sulbaran@usm.edu  - Nov 2004
The University of Southern Mississippi. AA/EOE/ADAI