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P1 HoloLens Mixed Reality Technology Gets On-the-Job Experience

HoloLens Hero

The Trimble XR 10 with HoloLens/Mixed Reality Technology has been available in the P1 VDC department for nearly two years, but has recently been able to really “strut its stuff” on job sites.

According to VDC Specialist Richard Anderson, the first year was about learning how to properly use the technology.

“I would set it up in the training room, and any free time I had I would put towards learning the HoloLens the right way,” Richard said.

“Now that we have a handle on how to use it properly, we’ve had the opportunity to see how it works on actual job sites.”

The first run was this past summer at Garmin Building 3, a project managed by Senior Project Manager Jason Quattlebaum.

P1 Construction Trimble HoloLens

When they went to the Garmin site, most of the equipment was placed and the piping had been installed, but they were able to see the mechanical room and compare the drawings to the nearly finished product.

“After only seeing it work in the training room, it was exciting to get that first experience on an actual job site,” Richard said.


In December, they took things a step further, showcasing the technology in an empty mechanical room at The University of Kansas Hospital ED Expansion Project, before the equipment and piping installation had begun.

Another contractor had brought the piping into the mechanical room, so what they could see was the rubble on the floor and the two pipes that entered the room. Then it just stopped, and that’s where P1 began.

Chris Wittman was the detailer for the project, and had drawn all the piping and equipment for that mechanical room. 

With the HoloLens, the detailer’s drawings were projected into the space to show what it would look like when the project was finished.

To get things started when they got to the mechanical room, they used a QR code, taking the HoloLens and iPad up to it and moving it around until the model appeared in room scale.

Richard used the HoloLens and Pipe Shop Manager Jeremy Price used the iPad.

“I think being able to see the equipment layout in a space like a mechanical room - especially when it’s empty - is very valuable,” Richard said.

“It allows us to visualize the actual on-site conditions with the model conditions, comparing the virtual world with the real world, and seeing how those mesh together.”

Brady Kyle was the Project Manager on the University of Kansas Hospital ED project, pictured above.

“Obviously, not all projects fit the bill for using this technology, but this particular project was perfect for it,” he said.

“The space where the new mechanical room will be was wide open at the time – with only an open trench in half of it for underground plumbing piping. Since Chris had already detailed the piping in Revit, the mixed reality tech was able to show where that piping would be, as if it had already physically been installed,” Brady added.

Richard stated that one of the greatest benefits of this comparison is seeing when on-site conditions don’t match the model, which tends to happen frequently.

“Many times there are beams, columns and other structural elements that weren’t modeled in on the contract drawings, but are actually there on site,” he said. “On-site verification is extremely useful.”

Richard added that when P1 purchased the HoloLens, they knew it would be helpful, but everyone is still learning.

“Getting it out on site twice now has allowed us to see what that jobsite application is actually like, Richard said. “The next step is deciding exactly which situations would be right for its use.”

Pipe Fabrication Shop Manager Jeremy Price has been pretty impressed with the technology, and where it will take us.


“I think having everything 100 percent accurate will be a game-changer for fully fabricated mechanical rooms,” he said. “With this technology, there won’t be any deviation between what we have modeled and what we are building, because we can see it through the digital lens before it goes into production.”

The XR10 HoloLens and iPad powered by Trimble Connect is one more way P1 is keeping up with where the future of construction is going.

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