2019 News

Augmented Reality is Game-Changer for Baker Group Client

Augmented Reality is Game-Changer for Baker Group Client

If you’ve ever played a virtual reality (VR) game, you know what it’s like to be immersed in an experience entirely separate from the real world. Augmented reality (AR) is like that, but instead of completely escaping reality, it overlays one reality (computer images of mechanical design) on top of another (the actual environment).

Recently, Ryan Carpenter, Principal Financial Group’s Director-Corporate Real Estate, put on Baker Group’s AR HoloLens and experienced a mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) project design from a whole new perspective.

Pre-Construction Verification
As Carpenter walked around the room looking at, around and through Baker Group’s MEP design for one of Principal’s commercial buildings, he looked up about 22 virtual feet to where a piece of mechanical equipment was located near a switchgear and cable tray. This prompted an on-the-spot discussion with Baker Group about the amount of clearance between the two components to assure ease of access when the work was done.

“The fundamental difference (between VR and AR) is, you can take this, stand in the actual room and have the experience of what your project is going to look like. It provides verification before you build,” says Carpenter.

That verification reduces installation glitches, change orders and costs. Steve Brommel, Baker Group’s Virtual Design Construction Manager, has called AR “a game-changer in quality control.”

Value for Principal’s Operational Engineers
Carpenter immediately acknowledged the value AR brings to construction projects. He also believes AR offers the opportunity to get the people who actually run the building familiar with the design before construction is complete.

Typically, Principal’s 30 operating engineers familiarize themselves by taking a day every week or two to watch the infrastructure as it is installed. “As much of this stuff that we can do in the model  – especially when we have confidence as it’s being built – we can do a lot more of that in less time,” Carpenter says.

Post-Construction Benefits
As Carpenter moved through his AR experience, he saw more ways to leverage the value of AR.

“There is nothing more inefficient than having to take a ladder and chase the source of a noise or problem,” he says. “This would help us find the problem faster.”

That’s because the information used to create the AR experience creates a historical record, eliminates guesswork and simplifies identifying and resolving maintenance issues. In brief:

  • 3D scans capture and document many thousands of data points within a designated building or space
  • Data is used for building information modeling (BIM)
  • BIM models are exported to AR

For older buildings, he says, “If you make changes every 20 years, you start abandoning infrastructure. That can become an issue: What’s that component there for? Does it bring value? Does it need to go away? Or we’re looking up into a space that’s a good 10 feet above our down lighting – there’s no light up there and I probably wouldn’t be able to see what’s there without this technology.”

Carpenter sums up his experience: “One of the things that’s important to an owner – and one of the things I appreciate about the operational excellence at Baker Group – is getting the work done and getting back into the building. … I’ve watched how much less time it takes using this type of technology. I also see so much post-construction value.”

To learn more about the benefits AR brings Baker Group clients, click here.


Best of Des Moines 2023

Best of Business Record Award

Baker Group was recognized by readers of the Des Moines Business Record for best Mechanical Contractor, Electrical Contractor, Security Company and Best Company to Work For in 2023.

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Best of Business Record Award

For a seventh consecutive year, Baker Group was recognized by the Des Moines Register as one of the Top Workplaces in the state.