Immersive visualisation as a decision platform for collaborative construction projects
The MTC utilises its immersive virtual reality CAVE system for its own site development
“The virtual reality CAVE has been used for the projects Fairhursts Design Group has designed for the MTC. It has been invaluable to explore design solutions, even early concept designs, with full client collaboration and understanding. It is a substantial aid to communicate ideas.”Alex Chanerley, associate director,The Fairhursts Design Group
Large construction projects require detailed involvement and input from multiple parties throughout the various stages; including architects, consultants, contractors and of course, the client. This in itself presents a challenge when efficient collaboration is necessary in order to achieve the desired results, on time and on budget.The impact of late design changes, or missed issues, can be significant,so identifying these earlier in the design stages is critical.
With multiple new build projects being run at the MTC site, the architects, FDG and consultants, Gleeds were interested in using 3D Building Information Modelling (BIM) to apply 3D visualisation workflows to the design stages, in order to identify and resolve any potential issues and help with the decision- making process.
The MTC’s virtual reality CAVE system provided the ideal solution to allow the architects and consultants to present and approve their designs with the MTC management team.
The immersive visualisation environment provided the team with the ability to experience the virtual model as if it were real, by utilising a combination of head-tracking and 3D stereo visuals within the CAVE. Using the IC.IDOVR software from ESI, the visualisation/VR team collated the various 3D datasets to build a complete site model that could then be used for a range of visual design reviews; everything from site planning, to detailed internal layouts.This also provided the opportunity to acquire design and operation input from other teams including facilities management, catering, management staff and health and safety.
The result of this work was ultimately the creation of a more reliable set of construction designs earlier in the design stage, matching the MTC’s requirements more closely. The construction and client teams were quickly able to gain a common understanding of the designs and identify any potential issues by interrogating the 3D models in a very intuitive and natural environment. The process has also resulted in changes that have contributed to improved building designs and overall optimisation of the MTC campus.
Benefits to the Client
- Faster and more effective decision-making resulting in a 20% reduction in project design timescales
- More efficient use of time and materials, giving a 10-fold return on investment from the use of the facility
- Early identification of issues and required changes before any significant investments
- Reduction in building costs and rectification work
- Ability to compare design alternatives within minutes
“The MTC is currently going through a fast period of growth and the Ansty site developments have required us to work closely with the architects and consultants on the building designs and internal layouts. This process has significantly benefited from the use of our VR system in helping us to fully understand and approve the designs in a much shorter timeframe.” Clive Hickman, Chief Executive, MTC