Technology Blurring The Line Between Office Design And Construction
Measure twice, cut once is the golden rule of design and construction. Thanks to 3D technology and virtual reality, designers have more control simulating the finished product and identifying potential cost and risks. Technology also has the potential to shift designers away from the traditional handoff of responsibilities across departments and contractors toward full-service, file-to-fabrication integration.
Current workflows for translating designs from modeling software like 2D CAD to physical models and blueprints requires designers to hop through multiple software tools. Workarounds also exist for legal purposes. Following a traditional model, the process from raw space to completed office is separated into four phases: strategy, design development, documentation and approvals, and construction. Each has its own separate team performing due diligence, but this makes it difficult to communicate updates or manage consistent workflow.
At Autodesk University in 2015, the company’s Revit 2017 software heralded the introduction of augmented reality into the design and construction space. Revit models can be brought into 3D Studio Max, where they can be made interactive for presentations by using a virtual reality headset. Revit models can also be 3D printed.
Unispace, a global design firm that aims to blur the lines between strategy, design and delivery, integrates the visual design process with construction and budgeting information. The firm’s UniBIM platform and intelligent space planning process compress the traditional model. The stages overlap, delivering projects 25% faster.
Designers start with a 3D scan of the raw space, accessible to both the design and the construction teams. The scan acts as a reference throughout all stages of the process, rather than having both teams revisit the space multiple times to remeasure. Unispace simultaneously builds a 2D floor plan based on the client’s requirements and a 3D virtual walkthrough of the space.
The UniBIM platform attaches a cost database to the model, allowing clients to simultaneously see a visual representation of the space and price associated with each feature. As the visuals update, so does pricing.
The virtual model and the accurate pricing and space information makes it easier to get clients in a room, interacting with the proposed plan. Unispace hands clients a game controller and lets them explore while asking questions about the model. The designers can then change sightlines, furniture and materials in real time. The goal is to have all the decision-making happen in the room. Because UniBIM incorporates data into the model, the 3D plan then translates directly into approval documentation.
Unispace’s intelligent space planning process and UniBIM create a cohesive flow of information between design and construction logistics, blurring the line between design and build professionals. Using technology, designers and clients can save time, forecast risk, adjust for changing construction conditions and increase the quality and efficiency of the build-out process.
Breaking down the barriers between design and construction phases allows for rapid prototyping of spaces. In an age where technology has pushed up deadlines and where construction prices continue to soar, platforms like UniBIM are leading a revolution in the design-build pipeline.
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