Virtual Reality Technology Applied on the Visual Simulation of Construction Activities

A.Z. Sampaio*, P.G. Henriques
1 Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal.

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© Sampaio and Henriques

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal.


The three-dimensional geometric models used to present architectural and engineering work, show only the final form, which does not allow progress in constructions to be observed. However, the visual simulation of the construction process of a building need models which are able to produce dynamic changes of its geometry. This paper reports how virtual reality techniques were used to obtain models that could show their physical evolution over time and which would be able to simulate construction processes visually. Two types of construction works were developed as virtual models for educational purposes. These models make it possible: to view the physical evolution of the work; to follow the planned construction sequence; to visualize details of the form of every component of each work; to support the study of the type and method of operation of the equipment necessary in the construction process. Both models have been used to distinct advantage as educational aids in Civil Engineering courses. The use of virtual reality techniques in the development of educational applications brings new perspectives to the teaching of subjects related to the field of construction.