Evaluating the Impact of Virtual Reality on Design Review Meetings

Yifan Liu, Fadi Castronovo, John Messner, Robert Leicht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With the help of virtual reality (VR), architectural design can be visualized interactively and at full scale. Viewers of VR models also gain an additional sense of spatial depth and volume. These capabilities make VR a unique design visualization media, and have attracted research interests in applying VR for design reviews. For example, previous research has studied the application of VR for evaluating the designs of courtrooms, nuclear power plants, patient rooms, and educational buildings. This research extends contributions reported in existing literature that aims to explore the value and impact of VR on design review meetings. This research performs a detailed analysis of a large number of design review meetings, including 13 meetings conducted on building construction projects. A novel design review evaluation methodology, designed to leverage video analysis techniques was adopted to allow for higher consistency of the evaluation results and reducing the impact of user bias caused by the novelty effect of VR. This methodology provides systematic rules and metrics to analyze design review meeting quality. The research has also extended the analysis of the impact of VR-based design review meetings to those that involve occupants and facility maintenance staff, which is a type of VR-based review that has not been extensively studied in the previous literature. The results of this research show that VR alone is not necessarily better than traditional media, such as drawings, in facilitating active discussions of design issues. Instead, the authors find that design review meetings yield more effective discussion and better meeting efficiency when VR is orchestrated with, and supported by, other design visualization media, such as drawings, digital models, renderings, and maps. This paper also summarizes six strengths and four weaknesses of VR to support design review meetings when compared with 2D drawings. To help project teams decide if VR should be used for their design reviews, the authors recommend the consideration of three criteria: (1) the reviewers' exposure to the design, (2) the scope of the review, and (3) the project complexity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04019045
Number of pages13
JournalJournal Of Computing In Civil Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 22 Oct 2019


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