In the Field Series

Building with Spectar

by Donald Manuel Jr., Carpenters Union Local 562

Building with Spectar

My name is Donald Manuel. I am a Union Carpenter here in Los Angeles, California.

Augmented reality was a new concept for me in my career as a carpenter. All I knew was there was a complex project ahead of our team, and we needed the right tools to get the job done. This job was unlike any other, it was not your ordinary construction project. It was for PubG - Player Unknown, a very popular video game. 

This is how it went.

Having some exposure to Augmented Reality on a previous project, the Spectar software and Microsoft HoloLens proved to be the most valuable tool in our arsenal. The build was filled with complex geometry that would challenge the most experienced carpenter. Looking through the HoloLens you could see the various challenges from the start. The model was showing various angles, elevation differences in the ceiling, and none of the walls stood straight up and down. 


This was going to be fun. To add, we had to address the concerns of staying on schedule and within budget and staying safe. The area where this project was to be placed was a logistical challenge and we had to keep ourselves safe and not damage the finished materials around us.

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We started off by breaking down the project into pieces that could be put together later. After communicating and coordinating with our BIM team, we were able to develop a numbering system to keep everything in order.

This system was integrated right into our AR model to easily line everything up. Any changes that needed to be addressed were quickly fixed with the BIM team we worked with, allowing us to get up to date information into the model quickly, sometimes within minutes with just a few clicks of the mouse.


After the pre-fabrication of the geometric pieces, the PubG cave then became a puzzle that we could easily assemble and disassemble, making it easy to move to its final location. We first built the whole project offsite to make sure all the pieces fit and that final dimensions would be achieved. What I thought would be a couple of weeks of building, actually turned out to be a few days. After getting the green light to move to the final site, the tear down took a few hours, and the PubG puzzle was on its way to its final and permanent home.

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During the building process, I was impressed by how much we didn’t have to rely on traditional tools, and we rarely had to pull out a tape measure. Although we did use tools to help us double-check elevation, we did not need a full range of tools to build or spend a ton of time in layout. Using the Hololens, we did not have to keep going back to paper prints to double-check our elevation points, or if our angles were at the proper degree. We just pressed the ON button and loaded up the file, lined up the model and that was that. IMPRESSIVE!

This experience has increased my curiosity about using Augmented Reality in construction. This allows us, as designers, architects, and builders, to tackle more complex, out of the normal building designs. The new technology helps expand our creativity without sacrificing safe practices, efficiency, or breaking the budget.  I look forward to seeing the potential this will give to the construction field in the future.


Getting Started With Spectar on the Jobsite

See how Spectar gets businesses building with AR in the field