Integrating Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Virtual Reality to Develop Real-Time Suitable Cost Estimates Using Building Visualization

Document Type : Original Article


Civil Engineering Department, University of Technology - Iraq, Baghdad, Iraq


Literature and previous research revealed that reducing the variation order by selecting the favorite material visually by the project's owner in the design stage is not available recently. The cost estimates in real-time from walk-through interactions selecting multi-alternative building components are a potential threat to projects' success unless there is a visualization system helping to decide the costs of different building items and the items’ suitability. This research is powerful tool that allows the project's owner to reduce the variation order by visually selecting his favorite material in the design stage. It expresses the application of BIM with Virtual Reality (VR) to improve Cost Estimation (CE) and the material selection process. The authors utilize BIM and VR technology to enhance the visualization and processing of project cost estimation in construction industry. The primary goal is to develop a BIM-VR-CE system that helps construction stakeholders to visualize and quickly to decide the costs of different building items and the items’ suitability. Accordingly, the authors developed a BIM-VR-CE system that integrates BIM and VR technology using Unity 3D. Navigating building environments in real-time with ability to select the cost and items suitable for elements of projects is now available to construction stakeholders through the BIM-VR prototype developed in this paper. To evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed preliminary model, questionnaire was created, and 85 evaluations were collected. Findings show significant potential to utilize the proposed model in construction projects to deal with cost, reduce the variation orders, and select the favorite elements.


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