Study As
Full Time

Principal Supervisor
Dr Jorge Ochoa Paniagua

Main Campus
Mawson Lakes

Applications Close
10 Oct 2023

Study Level

Applications Open To
Domestic Candidate or International Candidate

Tuition Fees:

All domestic students are eligible for a fee waiver. Find out more about fees and conditions.

Project Stipend:
No stipend available

Harness AI to eliminate building defects

About this project 

If you are seeking to excel in the augmented reality industry and keen to innovatively address problems around construction defects, the University of South Australia – Australia’s University of Enterprise – is offering a hands-on project-based PhD within Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE), in partnership with Sarah Constructions. 

Building defects account for 12% of construction expenses. In Australia in 2021 alone, this translated to a staggering $6.2 billion. These defects cause schedule delays, cost overruns, and strain client relationships, making it essential to find effective and efficient ways to prevent and manage defects. 

Current defect management practices are laborious, prone to errors, and impede collaboration and defect prevention. Our project proposes leveraging augmented reality (AR) to link Building Information Modeling (BIM) models with the physical construction site, offering an innovative and efficient approach to address construction defects.  

BIM is a powerful system that links building information with the three-dimensional architectural model, and when combined with AR, it can improve the performance of construction practices such as defect management. 

Our project will develop, verify, and validate a BIM–AR defect management system that can help prevent and identify defects in building projects. With this innovative approach, the construction industry could eliminate costly and time-consuming traditional defect management methods and embrace a more effective solution. 

We will deliver a BIM-AR Defect Management System which is a user-friendly tool that requires less training, improves data sharing, and efficiently locates building elements. The system’s clashing detection function will help prevent defects, consequently reducing the need for re-work, increasing productivity, and lowering costs. We will also deliver a comprehensive framework to implement the BIM-AR system in real-world construction scenarios, ensuring its seamless integration into existing workflows. 

You will join a multidisciplinary team from two research centres – IVE and Sustainable Infrastructure and Resource Management. Our facilities include state-of-the-art equipment that will allow you to conduct computational visualisation and analyse building and urban environments through a mix of virtual and augmented realities. Working closely with our industry partner, the construction firm Sarah Constructions, will give you the opportunity to translate your research into practice and gain valuable workplace experience. 

What you’ll do

In this project-based research degree, you will work on defining the research questions and scope of the project. You’ll also undertake a systematic literature review to further validate the research gaps. A mixed method research approach will require you to collect, analyse, and interpret both qualitative and quantitative data.  

You will be involved in gathering and analysing primary data through focus groups and user studies in a case study setting, to scope and validate the proposed system. You will also use secondary data, including defect records and BIM models, for system development and verification. The user study will employ both subjective and objective metrics to evaluate and validate the proposed system. 

You will have the opportunity to start building your professional network and gain hands-on experience via an industry internship with our industry partner, Sarah Constructions. 

Upon completion of the project, you will have a greater understanding of the how technology can assist engineering and construction projects. You will be uniquely positioned to advance your unstoppable career with skills and knowledge in building information modelling and management, virtual and mixed reality, and automation and technology in building and construction. 

Where you’ll be based

You will be based in the Australian Research Centre for Interactive and Virtual Environments (IVE). As a world leader in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), IVE is a unique alignment of computer science, engineering, neuroscience, art, architecture, and design.   

IVE is responding to the challenge of increased demand for AR and VR technologies globally. Our researchers are leaders in many areas of AR and VR research including wearable computing, interface design, empathic computing, 3D visualisation, perception, and telepresence.   

IVE is one of the largest concentrations of AR and VR research in Australia. Our vast experience in advanced manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT), interactive art, and design for healthcare and defence allows us to work in collaboration with our industry partners to transform industry and solve large-scale societal challenges.

Supervisory team

Sarah Constructions
Financial Support 

This project is funded for reasonable research expenses. A fee offset for the standard term of the program is available to Australian and New Zealand citizens, and permanent residents of Australia, including permanent humanitarian visa holders. Additionally, any Australian Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander applicant who holds an offer of admission without a living allowance will be eligible for the Aboriginal Enterprise Research Scholarship. This scholarship is to the value of $46,653 per annum (2023 rates). Any Aboriginal Enterprise Research Scholarship recipient will also receive a fee waiver. Where an international applicant holds an external scholarship or sponsorship a full or partial fee waiver may apply in some circumstances for exceptional applicants.  Other international applicants will be required to pay full tuition fees of approximately $39,700 per annum (2023 rates).  

Eligibility and Selection 

This project is open to application from both domestic and international applicants.

Applicants must meet the eligibility criteria for entrance into a PhD.  Additionally applicants must meet the projects selection criteria:

  • Should be skilled in the use of Revit 
  • Experience in using Unity software, C++ and/or C# languages

All applications that meet the eligibility and selection criteria will be considered for this project. A merit selection process will be used to determine the successful candidate.

The successful applicant is expected to study full-time and to be based at our Mawson Lakes Campus in the north of Adelaide. Note that international students on a student visa will need to study full-time.

Essential Dates 

Applicants are expected to start in a timely fashion upon receipt of an offer.  Extended deferral periods are not available. Application close on Tuesday, 10th of October. 

How to apply:

Applications must be lodged online, please note UniSA does not accept applications via email.

For further support see our step-by-step guide on how to apply , or contact the Graduate Research team on +61 8 8302 5880, option 1 or email us at You will receive a response within one working day.

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