Augmented reality

Augmented reality (AR)

By means of AR glasses, a smartphone or a tablet, an AR user is able to see a visual overlay of computer-generated information on top of the real world. On construction sites, AR can e.g. be used to visualise hidden structures, or compare design model to what is actually built.

Augmented reality (AR) is an interactive “augmented” experience of the real world. The typical AR user either wear AR glasses or use a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) to see the real world with a visual overlay of computer-generated information. To the AR user, the computer-generated information blends into the real world environment allowing the user to interact normally with people and objects in the real world environment. In construction, augmented reality is used for:

  • Visualising construction projects on site, e.g. to give stakeholders an impression of the size of a new building or the location of a new windmill
  • Assisting design choices, e.g. choosing preferred tiles, paint colour, wood panels etc. based on visual appearance
  • Displaying and planning work to be done on the construction site, as AR e.g. can visualize hidden installations and structures.
  • Measuring sizes and angles of built structures, e.g. evaluating whether something is level
  • Monitoring progress on the construction site, as it is easy to compare the virtual building information model with what is actually built.
  • On-site quality inspection when the project is finished

In other industries, AR is also used to provide instructions and information for repair technicians while they work on e.g. elevators or car engines.


  • Improved quality to the customers, as they are able to experience the built structure and make changes before it is built.
  • Reduction in rework, because stakeholders are able to spot clashes and potential problems before construction begins.
  • Enhanced collaboration and communication between professionals, as the real-world situation is easy to compare with the designed 3D model

Application examples

The Danish company Dalux has developed an app called TwinBIM, which allow construction workers to use mobile devices such as smartphones to compare design models and reality on-site. The app was launched in 2017 and is used by the large UK contractor Willmott Dixon ( 

The company Daqri has developed Smart Glasses offers AR glasses to use on construction sites. This was e.g. used by the aviation firm Corgan to build a new concourse, utility tunnel and passenger tunnel at Los Angeles International Airport in 2018 ( 

Development stage

Augmented reality glasses and software for construction are already on the market.

Construction impact

Augmented reality will affect the design phase as it enhances stakeholder communication and allows for end-user involvement. It will also affect the construction phase through the use of AR on site. With time, the technology may also be used by facility managers during the use phase.

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24 JULI 2024