Buildingscapes - Immersive Worlds and the Built Environment


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This is a presentation version of our white paper on Buildingscapes, - Immersive Worlds for the Built Environment. Working form the specifics of our work on the Library of Birmingham it looks at how immersive models can bring benefits to almost any building project - and save costs.

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Buildingscapes - Immersive Worlds and the Built Environment

  1. 1. Buildingscapes Immersive Worlds and the Built Environment © 2013 www
  2. 2. Introduction  “3D” modelling is becoming an increasingly common technology within the built environment industry  We are also seeing more and more interest in Building Information Modelling (BIM), which is almost predicated on 3D  However we believe that these tools only cover 2 perspectives on the built environment – those of the architect and of the builder.  There is a need to provide the third key group – the users of the building or environment – with the tools to enable them explore, trial and comment on the build itself. “Rework costs—including labor, materials, equipment and subcontractors—can run from 2% to 20% of a project's total contract amount. That equates to an estimated total of $15 billion a year in the US alone, according to the Construction Industry Institute. Some construction industry executives and consultants call the CII's annual dollar estimates low. "The $15- billion figure is a drop in the bucket," said one construction management- consulting firm.” - Engineering News Record, Nov 2012
  3. 3. The Cost of Rework If the design isn't right how much is it going to cost the builder, or the client, to put things right? Figures appear to be hard to come by but here are a few that we found:  “Around 20-25% of the total construction period is wasted due to design deficiencies.”  “The Construction Task Force in the UK reported that up to 30% of construction is related to rework” - The Egan Report  “The costs of rework can range from 4% to 12% of the total budget.“  “The costs of rework could be as high as 15% of the total budget “  “The total mean cost of rework as a percentage of the original contract value for new build project and refurbishment/renovation projects was 4.89% and 6.28% respectively”  “Causes of rework related to People could be responsible for up to 60% of the rework costs.”  “Around 78% of quality problems in AEC are design related, and from a cost point of view design- caused defects form the largest category” If we can get the design right early, even if necessary after the build has started, then there are considerable cost savings to be made. We believe that immersive environments can help you achieve this.
  4. 4. The “3 Ring” Model  We can see the need for 3 models in a built environment project – ideally sharing data, information and even 3D renders, but each speaking to a different audience and providing different functionality
  5. 5. Immersive Environments  A real sense of “being there” - regardless of the technology being used  Somewhere that lets users wander where ever they want, meet with other people and potentially carry out real-world tasks and make changes to environment  NOT a virtual world (eg Second Life), or needing special hardware (eg CAVEs and 3D screens), or Virtual Reality (with fancy headsets), or a Game or Serious Game – but may support any or all of these  A subjective experience
  6. 6. Virtual Millennium Point Built by Daden in 2008 for Birmingham City University (BCU). The virtual Millennium Point was a copy of its real-life namesake in Birmingham. The physical building covers 37,000 sq m. All of the public spaces in the building were detailed, plus additional classrooms and workshops within the build. We also detailed the exterior car-park and the old Curzon St Station and its surrounding wasteland (which is where the HS2 terminal is proposed to be). The main aim of the model was to support student media training, but overseas visitors to events at BCU also found the model useful to familiarise themselves with the building prior to visiting, and reported a real sense of deja vu on arrival.
  7. 7. Why an Immersive Build?  Save cost (and time) by reducing rework.  Users and stakeholders are more engaged and have a real say and influence in the process, helping to design and build the space they will use – resulting in improved client satisfaction (which may mean higher revenues or reduced churn costs)  Dispute risks are reduced due to a greater shared understanding at all levels on all sides during the project  Operating risks are reduced as you've been able to virtually practice evacuations, health and safety and emergency management, and even inform the security planning of the building  Shared across different parts of the business to provide further benefits during live use (including training, security, change management)  Support refit and new build projects – e.g. creating virtual “white rooms” For a nice summary of rework studies see “Reducing Rework to Enhance Project Performance Levels” by Ekambaram Palaneeswaran of the University of Hong Kong. ( events/48/papers/5.pdf ) Rework can run at anywhere between 2% and 20% - the higher ranges for the more complex builds (which are our principal concern). So on a £50m project with 15% rework that's £7.5m. If we could reduce rework by a only 10%, from 15% to 13.5% through the use of an immersive environment that's a £750k saving, against an immersive environment project cost of £50k - £100k. And that's before we take into account any other benefits of the immersive environment.
  8. 8. Library of Birmingham The new central Library for Birmingham opened on 3rd Sept 2013 but from late 2010 Library staff were able to use an immersive model built by Daden to explore the building and plan how they would use it. Whilst initially conceived as supporting community engagement (where it was a great hit with the younger generation) the model came into its own as a planning tool, informing the internal fit-out and helping staff and sub-contractors understand how best to position fixtures and fittings, from signage to Wifi. Brian Gambles, Project Manager, said “This has proved a powerful tool for the project team and staff in developing the new library, enabling us to get a really good feel for how the spaces in the new building will work that would not otherwise be possible." See our website for a fuller case study.
  9. 9. Benefits beyond BIM/CAD #1  The user is often embodied in the world as an avatar, rather than having just a “camera” view – so gaining a more subjective, first-person, view of the environment  The user can go where they like, and interact with the build, it's not just a fixed fly-through  The environment is multi-user, so up to around 100 users can interact with each other in a single instance of the build – supporting collaborative working and consultation, and team training  The visual impact can be closer to that of the high-end architects fly- through – yet rendered in real time – than the flat imagery of most CAD 3D visualisations  Controlled changes (eg to fittings and partitions not concrete and steel) can be made in-world and are instantly visible to other users, and can be fed back to BIM  Objects can be made interactive, from doors and lifts to even linking computers to real computer applications, and signs to real signage systems, letting users practice real use
  10. 10. Benefits beyond BIM/CAD #2  Building environmental and performance data can be imported (eg from BIM), and visualised in new and effective ways  Users can annotate the space, feeding back comments which can be automatically collated  Users can be tracked through the building, and their interactions with its systems logged – helping to understand future traffic flows  Users can choose between configurations and vote on them  The virtual building can actually be put to “live use”, e.g. for entertainment or training  The building can be cloned to create multiple copies to explore what-ifs or to cater for different user groups
  11. 11. Going Mobile Immersive environments are built on game engines, and since much gaming now happens on mobile devices it should come as no surprise that we can also deliver immersive environments, both single and multi-user, onto mobile devices. Given the likely need for visual detail tablet computers (iPad or Android) are probably best suited to mobile use, although we have also deployed applications onto smartphone sized devices. Depending on the build we may need to constrain some of the model detail and texturing, but this tends to be consistent with the smaller display. One big advantage of the mobile device is to use the immersive model whilst actually in the physical building. This can help stakeholders envisage changes to an even higher degree, and lets you stand inside the building whilst viewing it from outside at the same time. A logical next step in this direction is a move into augmented reality – see a later sidebar.
  12. 12. Different Uses #1 One of the biggest advantages of getting a 3D model into an immersive environment is that there is a wide range of ways in which that model can then be used, each talking to a different community of interest, or to a different phase in the project. In the following slides we identify 14 different uses, and there are no doubt others.
  13. 13. Different Uses #2 Planning – working out how the build will rework in the context of the local built environment Consultation – taking the model on the road and allowing public access to gather views from across the community, virtual “planning for real” Project Management – holding virtual meetings actually in the build. Working with sub- contractors. Social – what is it like to actually use the space. Are escalators and signage OK. Where are the toilets?
  14. 14. Different Uses #3 Security – overlay CCTV, access control and other feeds, giving security staff a better planning tool & greater situational awareness Environment – overlay environmental data feeds and models, giving users and managers a visceral sense of the environmental data Disabilities – let users (and project staff) try accessing the build in wheelchairs, reduced mobility and other challenges Services – visualise E&M systems from BIM and other data and link into back-end systems to support maintenance engineers
  15. 15. Different Uses #4 Navigation – use the model to support touch- screen, kiosk and mobile navigation aids and systems Training – from business-as-usual training for staff, through health & safety and fire evacuation, to major incident training Live Services Delivery – use the model to deliver real services pre and post build – such as virtual performance and conferences Simulation – visualise the output from business process simulation systems, crowd models and other simulations
  16. 16. Different Uses #5 Whole Life – from initial ideas to demolition, the immersive model can support planners, owners, maintainers, managers and users through the whole life of the building Retrofit – support the planning of through-life redesign and retrofit, creating “white room” models and then building back up
  17. 17. Training in Virtual Worlds Whilst this white paper is primarily about immersive environments for building visualisation, they can also provide the ideal environment for certain kinds of training. This enables the building model to be cost-justified not only on the original build project but also on the ongoing training needs of the resident organisation. This training may range from Health & Safety and evacuation emergency management, to customer services and operations and operational modelling. The images at right show a training exercise created by Daden for New York City's Office of Emergency Management for hurricane training which takes place in a model of a US public school building. For more information on the use of virtual worlds for training please download our white paper on “Training and Education in Immersive Environments” from our website.
  18. 18. Different Scales We don't have to build single buildings or at 1:1 scale... 1:1 high detail airport terminal model 1:1 model of 100 sq km of Lake District Floor model of Birmingham City Centre (Planning-for-Real style) Table top model of a London cityscape
  19. 19. Consultation Systems A 3D model is very pretty, but that's all it is if we can't use it to gather information as part of a formal or informal consultation process. Within a immersive environment we can deploy a variety of consultation support systems, including:  A room by room guide to help users explore the build  Surveys at specific locations, or prompted through the whole build  Voting systems that allow users to vote for/against features, or log likes and dislikes  Annotated Spaces – a 3D Post-It note system to collect user comments, and show them in 3D and 2D space  A configurator, allowing users to view and vote on different configuration options for each space Taken together these tools can add real value to your community engagement projects and provide actionable insight into what clients, users and other stakeholders think of the build.
  20. 20. Standards, BIM and Models If we are to have a “three-ring” model, then it's important that we can share data and models between the different user communities, and the different 3D environments. There are a number of initiatives and de facto standards that are helping towards this: But key to the success of any of these is trust within the supply chain, trusting in the data that you are provided with, and not recreating your own.  Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a major initiative in the AEC community to establish standards and repositories for the interchange of digital (including 3D) data.  CityGML is a markup language that has been designed for the built environment. As such it represents a link between the detailed 3D models of buildings generated by a system like 3D Studio Max, and the 2D large area layouts created within a Geographic Information System (GIS).  FBX and Collada are two 3D modelling standards supported by both existing AEC tools and many immersive worlds and game engines
  21. 21. Virtual and Augmented Reality Whilst our main interest in immersive environments is in delivering them to ordinary PCs and tablets we are always interested in novel display technologies. There are three that we are currently exploring and have interfaced to our projects ready for when clients need them: Virtual Reality headsets (such as the Oculus Rift above) are now becoming highly affordable (sub £400) and of usable quality, and have head-tracking built in. This means that you can get a real “being there” sense of what a new build will look like. CAVEs are rooms whose walls are large projection screens – typically 3 or 6 sides of life-size video. Our Buildingscapes can drive these environments letting you walk through a truly life-size version of your build. Augmented Reality is where we use a tablet or smartphone to overlay the virtual model on the real build (or there space where that build will be). Again immersive environments can provide the ideal basis for an augmented reality exploration of your build.
  22. 22. Virtual People Virtual environments need virtual people if they are going to feel lived in, and give an accurate reflection of the final environment. We find that there are three levels of “virtual people” we might need in a build. We can use the same technology for each, or if budget or performance is limited use different approaches at each level:  Background colour – people in the distance, seen out the corner of the eye, going about their daily business to make the place seem lived-in  Non-player characters (NPCs) – characters that the user may briefly interact with – perhaps asking the way somewhere, a character in a training exercise, or just a friendly “hello” as they pass  Feature NPCs – characters with whom the user can have a lengthy conversation with and who can have free movement around the build – such as a virtual tour guide or receptionist.
  23. 23. TheatreBase TheatreBase was a Birmingham Science City funded project to look at how the Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre could use immersive environments, primarily to assist in backstage management, but also in areas such as training, education, marketing and even performance. As well as the front-of-house auditorium Daden created the whole of the stage and backstage space – right through to the loading lift for the articulated lorries. We also built control systems that enabled the backstage crew to simulate moving sets and scenery from the lorry to the stage, and then to layout the stage for each scene and automatically switch from scene to scene – watching the flats descend from the fly- bars, and ensuring that fly-bar layouts matched real-life spacings. By the end of the project the staff were ready to move from 2D to 3D, and could see the benefits that such a move could bring.
  24. 24. A Typical Project  Creating a whole-life immersive model is a project in itself  When placed against the cost of the physical project, and the potential savings it can offer, it need not be an expensive undertaking.  Ideally start before the architectural design is complete (or even let) since the virtual space provides an ideal prototyping environment.  Absolutely key is embedding the model in the day-to-day work of the build and transition teams, and in the future working, planning and management practices of the client.  Done right the virtual build should be constantly changing and evolving as the real life use of the space changes.  And cost? We find that our projects typically range from £20k - £80k, a small cost as part of a multi-million pound build project, particularly when the potential savings in rework are factored in.
  25. 25. Buildingscapes Developed from our experience of working on the virtual Library and other projects, Daden's Buildingscapes can provide you, your staff and your stakeholders with an immersive, interactive 3D model of a new or retrofit build, enabling all the social and user-experience issues of a project to be planned and managed in this powerful new way. Key features include: For more information, please contact us.  Import of architect and CAD 3D models  Web, download or tablet PC/iPad deployment  Multi-user environment  Place/build/change functionality for specific groups and features  Consultation tools with web integration  Selected BIM data integration
  26. 26. Web: Email: Vimeo: YouTube: Twitter: @dadenlimited