Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Virtual design reality for Europe’s construction industry

03.06.2004


The large number of parties that must collaborate on construction projects presents difficulties in communicating building design information, but DIVERCITY’s design-simulation software utilising virtual reality technology promises significant cost reductions to Europe’s construction industry.



Construction has become an information-intensive industry, with the excessive number of documents during construction projects resulting in processing errors when data is not properly managed. Under current approaches to information management, there are significant barriers to communication between all the stakeholders involved (e.g. clients, professional teams, contractors, local authorities, residents, workers). Recent research by industry specialists suggests that these barriers of communication, networking, integration and information sharing pose the major challenges for the industry over the next ten years.

A toolkit for construction


The IST programme-funded DIVERCITY project seeks to address these challenges with the development of a toolkit comprising six software applications that allows users to collaboratively and interactively visualise and simulate aspects of a project during briefing, design and scheduling. These include: client briefing, acoustics, lighting, thermal and constructability simulations, and site analysis. These applications can be used independently, or simultaneously, as part of a stand-alone activity, or integrated collaborative process throughout the project lifecycle, thereby empowering clients and integrating stakeholder activities within a collaborative workspace.

As the Client Briefing work package leader Rob Aspin, a Senior Research Fellow in the University of Salford’s Future Workspaces Research Centre (FWRC), explains, clear communication from the onset of a project is key to successful construction, but also one of the biggest obstacles. "Research has shown that the client briefing stage of the project lifecycle is vitally important to get right as it has a dramatic effect on the whole of the construction lifecycle. However, clients and potential users of the building often find it difficult to portray their requirements for a new facility to the design team," says Aspin, adding: "DIVERCITY aims to ease this difficulty by developing a virtual design workspace that enables clients, users and the design team to communicate their ideas to each other in a more understandable format."

The workspace contains a set of tools that allow the development of a graphical building program, describing the semantics of the proposed building. This model, Aspin explains, allows the client and designer to consider the spatial needs and relationships, and define them in a manner that makes them more accessible to the later stages in the design process.

An added dimension to design

From the structured building program spatial layouts are developed. These represent conceptual sketches of the building form, developed in a 3D-modelling environment. "Because these models are developed from the building program, analysis of the matching between clients’ requirements and the conceptual design is possible, providing designers with quantitative measures that aid in refining the initial design," he says. After the layout has sufficient detail the user is able to export the ’space layout’ file to a CAD application to enable the design to be taken further.

Current construction project information is already captured in 2D CAD drawings - along with text documents - and shared electronically, but problems arise when the volume of documents and drawings and their versions increases. DIVERCITY’s integrated approach involves a project information board that requires information used by all stakeholders to be entered only once, and its 3D interactive visualisation applications means much of the project information can be presented in a visual format rather than text. Users can thus visualise the most appropriate configuration of spaces within a building or site, and explore ’what-if’ simulations of the acoustic, thermal, and lighting properties in a 3D environment to make time and cost savings when the project reaches the ’real’ site. During the construction stages of the project the DIVERCITY toolkit further supports users by supporting site planning and construction sequence planning and tracking through 3D interactive visual tools that graphically communicate the site configuration and building program.

Currently the DIVERCITY platform is comprised of six modules supported by an extensible integration and collaboration framework that can be used to bind additional services within the DIVERCITY workspace.

The client briefing, commonly referred to as Pre-CAD, and Site Planning modules, developed by the University of Salford’s Future Workspaces Research Centre are being used to support further EU funded research activities within projects such as INTELCITIES that aim to expand the range of functionalities to encompass urban planning tasks. The simulator modules for design review activities such as the acoustic and thermal simulators developed by consortium member CSTB and the lighting simulator developed by consortium member CSSI now present stable tools, with the acoustic simulator again being extended to support the demands of urban planning within the FP6 IST project, INTELCITIES. The 4D Modelling tools, entitled Visual Project Chronology, developed by project member VTT are currently being applied to support ongoing national research programmes.

DIVERCITY applications are currently available for use on a consultancy basis and to support ongoing research activity in both EU and national programmes that seek to extend the range and scope of the applications into wider domains such as urban planning. With Europe’s construction industry accounting for 11 per cent of the region’s GDP comprising 2.4 million companies (83 per cent of which are SMEs) employing 8.8 million people directly and 26 million indirectly in Europe alone, the project sees significant potential for these systems to support better collaboration and achieve greater client satisfaction.

Contact:
Rob Aspin
Position Developer
Centre for Virtual Environments
University of Salford
University Road
Salford M5 4WT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44-161-2952932
Fax: +44-161-2952925
Email: R.Aspin@salford.ac.uk

Tara Morris | IST Results
Further information:
http://istresults.cordis.lu/index.cfm?section=news&tpl=article&ID=65301

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Computing at the Speed of Light
22.05.2015 | University of Utah

nachricht NOAA's GOES-R satellite begins environmental testing
22.05.2015 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Basel Physicists Develop Efficient Method of Signal Transmission from Nanocomponents

Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.

Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...

Im Focus: IoT-based Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation System

Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services

To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...

Im Focus: First electrical car ferry in the world in operation in Norway now

  • Siemens delivers electric propulsion system and charging stations with lithium-ion batteries charged from hydro power
  • Ferry only uses 150 kilowatt hours (kWh) per route and reduces cost of fuel by 60 percent
  • Milestone on the road to operating emission-free ferries

The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...

Im Focus: Into the ice – RV Polarstern opens the arctic season by setting course for Spitsbergen

On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.

RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...

Im Focus: Gel filled with nanosponges cleans up MRSA infections

Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.

To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use

20.05.2015 | Event News

15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists

18.05.2015 | Event News

EHFG 2015: Securing health in Europe. Balancing priorities, sharing responsibilities

12.05.2015 | Event News

 
Latest News

For pollock surveys in Alaska, things are looking up

22.05.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Mission possible: This device will self-destruct when heated

22.05.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering

NOAA's GOES-R satellite begins environmental testing

22.05.2015 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>