• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 10, No 7 (2019)

BIM Integration in Augmented Reality Model

BIM Integration in Augmented Reality Model

Title: BIM Integration in Augmented Reality Model
Changsaar Chai, Klufallah Mustafa, Sivaraman Kuppusamy, Aminah Yusof, Chong Shien Lim, Soon Han Wai

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Cite this article as:
Chai, C., Mustafa, K., Kuppusamy, S., Yusof, A., Lim, C.S., Wai, S.H., 2019. BIM Integration in Augmented Reality Model. International Journal of Technology. Volume 10(7), pp. 1266-1275

Changsaar Chai Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Science, Swinburne University of Technology Sarawak, Q5A, 93350 Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.
Klufallah Mustafa School of the Built Environment, University of Reading Malaysia, Persiaran Graduan, 79200 Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia.
Sivaraman Kuppusamy School of the Built Environment, University of Reading Malaysia, Persiaran Graduan, 79200 Iskandar Puteri, Johor, Malaysia.
Aminah Yusof School of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 Skudai, Johor, Malaysia.
Chong Shien Lim School of the Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia
Soon Han Wai Faculty of Engineering and Green Technology, Univesity Tunku Abdul Rahman, 31900 Kampar, Perak, Malaysia.
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BIM Integration in Augmented Reality Model

Building information modeling (BIM) is one of the most popular technologies contributing to information handling. However, the technology’s contribution to fieldwork is very limited due to the limited interaction between the real and virtual world. Integrating BIM with augmented reality (AR) is believed to highly increase BIM’s applicability to fieldwork. Therefore, the aim of the study is to examine the credibility of BIM integration into AR (AR–BIM) in the construction industry. A case study is adopted, computing the AR–BIM system through Structure Sensor, Unity 3D, and C#. The results show that BIM is compatible for integration with the AR platform. Although the preliminary AR–BIM system is not perfect compared to the marketed product, the initial investment cost of this system is much cheaper, while conserving the benefits of BIM in AR. This study is important to raise awareness among construction stakeholders about the adoption of technology. The stakeholders left out of the industrial revolution (IR 4.0) will lose their competitiveness in both local and international markets.

Augmented reality; Building information modeling; Construction


Advances in computing technology have allowed the construction of megastructures, limiting the industry’s future development regarding information handling. In current practice, the construction of a structure is based on the drawings produced by architects and engineers. As a structure gets larger, the number of drawings involved increases accordingly. Besides, the task to detect the conflict between designs becomes more challenging when too much drawing is involved. Hence, information handling software is no longer an option, but mandatory for the AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industry. Varieties of CAD (computer-aided design) software have been introduced to the construction industry, not just to improve efficiency and accuracy, but to overcome problems that could hardly be handled previously. One of the most effective computer-aided platforms to manage information varieties is building information modeling (BIM).

BIM enters the picture when  it  demonstrates  the  ability  to  coordinate  heavy  and fragmented information into a single model. BIM is not software, but it is a platform to integrate different information (software). Therefore, BIM is generally defined as a platform for digital presentation. It does not just allow the cross-disciplinary exchange of information, but also allows users to facilitate the interoperability of the whole project, detecting the conflict within (Chen et al., 2011; Eastman, 2018).

Although Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) had targeted Stage 2 BIM implementation by 2020 in the Construction Industry Transformation Programme (CITP) 2016–2020 (CIDB, 2007), the adoption of BIM in Malaysia’s AEC industry is still worrying. Malaysia is reported to have only a 10 percent adoption rate, which is far lower than other countries’, as the BIM adoption rate in the United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), and Singapore relayed in the same report are at 71 percent, 39 percent, and 65 percent, respectively (CIDB, 2007). In the National Building Specification (NBS) International BIM Report 2016, the BIM adoption rate in Canada, Denmark, and Japan was 67 percent, 78 percent, and 46 percent, respectively, while the UK’s adoption rate is reported to have undergone a significant increase of 10 percent in just one year. Malaysia is said to be amongst the lowest BIM adoption rate countries, compared to other developed and developing countries.

Undoubtedly, BIM will be a construction standard in the future. This can be observed from the enforcement of BIM in some developed countries. According to BCA (Building and Construction Authority) Singapore (2011), a few countries that made BIM one of the compulsory criteria for construction proposal submission are Hong Kong, South Korea, Finland, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and Norway (BCA, 2012). All these countries made compulsory the adoption of BIM, either in public projects, projects costs over certain amounts, or even all the projects in the country. In addition, Singapore in 2015 enforced the adoption of BIM in projects having a gross floor area of more than 5,000 square meters. The reluctancy to adopt BIM is that a business, especially contractors, might lose their competitiveness in local and international markets (Jóhannesson, 2009). Moreover, BIM is further enhanced to be integrated into green initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint, as highlighted in the Green Star (New Zealand), Green Building Index (Malaysia), Green Mark (Singapore), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED (US), and the BRE Environmental Assessment Method (BREEM, in Europe; Fathoni et al., 2015; Bahriye & Hakan, 2015; Amarnath et al., 2016; Liu et al., 2017; Dat et al., 2018).

As BIM implementation is foreseeable as a must in an industry, it is wise to plan ahead of current practices by integrating BIM into different disciplines. BIM is now extended from 3D to 4D (scheduling), 5D (costing), 6D (life-cycle information), and 7D (facility management). The BIM model presented on desktop devices is no longer suitable for serving different management purposes. Therefore, a study to integrate BIM with augmented reality (AR) was initiated to examine the credibility of AR–BIM in the construction industry. 


BIM has made limited contributions to fieldwork due to its limiting interactions between the real world and virtual world. However, the integration of AR into a BIM system provides a platform for interaction to be achieved. An AR–BIM system allows the relevant personnel to obtain feedback immediately by just mounting mobile devices on constructing elements. The difference between modeled information and on-site information of those particular elements and all the interdependent elements will be compared in the AR environment, showing the difference immediately. The AR–BIM-integrated system is less time consuming, as users are not required to access the whole BIM model, just to extract the information of one component when mounting the device on it.

The proposed AR–BIM system is relatively affordable compared to the other three methods mentioned in section 2. By considering the cost of an app designer and BIM model computation as a constant, the cost of a structure sensor is $500, whereby the other three methods could not make it with this budget. The construction industry has given the impression that it is outdated, and stakeholders are reluctant to invest, especially in innovative technology devices. Therefore, the proposed AR–BIM system is designed to reduce the initial investment cost while conserving the benefits of AR in BIM integration.  


The work is supported by FRGS (HM102600), Ministry of Education, Malaysia. 


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