Over the past few years, the SMEC Perth office has grown their business more
than eight-fold, and it’s easy to see how when you examine the innovations that
they are using to engage their clients. A key component of SMEC’s technical
service delivery is Digital Engineering, which is fundamental to how they create
value for clients and their projects.
For example, with the help of Revizto - “a cloud-based visual collaboration
software for architects, engineers and contractors to communicate their design
within the project team in a navigable 3D environment” (source: Wikipedia) -
SMEC regularly sends 12d Model IFCs to Virtual Reality (VR) headsets for their
clients to experience designs in ways they’ve never encountered before!
Using 12d Model alone, the SMEC team already knew they could present clients
with a TIN, which would look good and have the relevant information...but you
can’t walk around on a TIN! Enter VR.
After determining that VR would be beneficial to their processes, the SMEC team
set out to test various methods of delivery as they needed to find the most
effective workflow to ensure they were not losing any intelligence on the way
into the model.
Some potential solutions required gaming software experience (which can become
costly) and others involved reading in and out of a variety of third-party
Reading 12d Model IFCs into Revizto (via a third-party package) has been the
best solution for the SMEC team at this stage, but they continue to refine their
processes as they go, ensuring they’re always at the cutting edge of available
To support the federated model process, SMEC utilised an additional function in
Revizto to push the IFCs into the HTC VIVE plugin for VR. Attributes in 12d
Model could then be seen visually in the digital platform within the Revizto
environment - i.e. they could see the attributes on a screen as they’re
walking around the model!
SMEC’s Team Leader - Design & Drafting, Roads & Highways (Perth), Allan Walker
said, “Once time has been spent writing 12d Model attributes and meshes, it’s an
easy process to export to that environment. We engage this process for public
consultation, virtual site walks, and general correspondence. It’s been a huge
asset at times when clients have looked at a design solution in 3D and don’t
really understand the complete concept. With the VR headset, they are easily
submersed into the environment – measuring physical distances, checking how big
an object would be in the project, etc.”
One detailed design project SMEC had been working on involved 4.5GB IFC outputs,
which created a 4GB Revizto file that took just half an hour to upload into the
cloud. In fact, the whole turnaround for the federated process can be as quick
as 15 minutes for smaller models!
Including the process of draping on a 3D CAD file from the landscape architect,
the SMEC team finds that it generally takes just half a day to put everything
into the environment and output the IFC – this time saving is extremely
SMEC is currently working with Main Roads Western Australia and the Public
Transport Authority on a project for which the local city council was unsure
about the placements of trees, or of how removing existing trees would impact on
the streetscape. The SMEC team worked with a landscape architect and created a
series of proposed tree locations using 12d Model’s BIM trimesh
object apply, then submersed these into the model itself, so that
with VR goggles, they could physically see new trees replacing old trees and
create the most appealing environment for the situation. This enabled the
clients to determine what would be the finished product.
The feedback SMEC has received from clients on these
technological innovations has been outstanding. They’ve been able to resolve
queries through digital discussions and virtual site walks so that clients can
see solutions before committing, meaning they were happy and able to close off
RFIs in a timely fashion.
VR really helps people perceive solutions, especially those
who benefit from a visual representation.
Another advantage is when designs change based on new
information and feedback, it’s already set up and can run in the background -
revisions are really simple once it’s all loaded in.
The duration of the process is dependent on internet speed
– hefty IFCs can slow down some systems - but it’s a time saver nonetheless when
compared with previous processes.
SMEC has been working on this method for several years –
they’ve conducted rigorous testing to create the best possible format for client
engagement. And the more projects they’re working on, the more they utilise it.
The integration of Digital Engineering as best practice has
contributed greatly to the growth of the Perth office over the past few years.
Other SMEC offices are also using VR and they encourage their clients to come in
for a live demo.
12d Solutions can’t wait to see what SMEC comes up with
[Most images from
12d Model, with thanks to SMEC.]
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