Western Australian teams “fly” ahead with Virtual Reality
Cardno teams in Western Australia have added new technologies into their toolkit by combining the power of existing BIM capabilities with Virtual Reality (VR) tools for the structural design of commercial and residential building projects and landscaped public spaces.
The teams’ work means that Cardno has become one of the first companies in the West to combine tools like Autodesk Revit – which helps architects and engineers create 3D models of buildings and services – with VR to create an immersive design experience.
Manager for Infrastructure and Property in WA, Geoff Pereira, said that adapting the latest Virtual Reality technologies has improved the way in which the teams collaborate and communicate with clients.
“Communication is critical to the design process and having the ability to visually present complex engineering concepts to our clients, design consultants and contractors has opened up a wealth of opportunity,” Geoff said.
“When clients walk through a VR simulation they can instantly understand our concepts, design intent and the issues which may impact construction or building use,” he said.
“A set of VR goggles allow us to walk through the entire building, visually checking element by element and connection by connection – just as you would in a physical site inspection.”
It isn’t just the structural engineers who are making the most of the new technology – Cardno’s WA Landscape Architecture section is also testing VR in conjunction with Revit and other modelling software such as AutoCAD 3D and Rhino 3D.
“VR simulation of lighting allows landscape architects and their clients to experience the spaces, nature parks and playgrounds they have designed at different times of the day,” Geoff said.
The Structures team recently integrated the Revit model with the VR tool for one of the team’s major projects; the iFly indoor skydiving facility located in Belmont, Western Australia.
“Combining Revit and VR increased our ability to visualise the design and offered a number of opportunities to optimise the design process as well as enabling coordination and clash detection,” Geoff said.
“Integration of complex mechanical systems with the structure on iFly’s indoor skydiving facility, within the tolerances required to achieve aeronautical performance in the flight zone, would not have been possible without the availability of the 3D Revit interface,” he said.
iFLY utilises state-of-the-art SkyVenture patented aeronautical technology to allow flyers to experience free-flight in a safe, controlled environment using a vertical wind stream of air up to 250km/h. Cardno used three dimensional drafting software to coordinate proprietary indoor skydiving equipment with the structural design of the complex which helped deliver cost and schedule savings for the client.The Structures team believes that time and energy spent implementing VR technology into the team’s operations has been well spent and will prove more and more useful in years to come.
“As costs come down, more people will be able to interact with buildings as they are being designed and will get a better understanding of architectural or engineering concepts,” Geoff said.
“The use of VR is revolutionising the consultancy environment and is the future of design. We believe that integration with 3D tools like Revit will become the norm in the next decade.”