The concept of 3D visualisation technology is not new in the construction industry, but has its true potential been realized?
In the 21st century, 3D animation has complemented construction design deliverables, altering the way in which projects are perceived and delivered. With the advent of the fourth dimension – time – 4D was born. It refers to the addition of a time bar to a 3D simulation, allowing the viewer to appreciate the lapsing of time as they see the construction develop. Some individuals in the industry also acknowledge 5D, which incorporates the element of cost as the construction develops.
Building Information Modeling (BIM) goes beyond those dimensions. BIM is an intuitive design tool that provides an interactive experience to stakeholders by allowing them to fly around a project virtually, or jump onto the site and walk into the building to explore, inspect and appreciate what the finished product will be like even before it has been built.
It has been argued that BIM is one of the most revolutionary innovations in the construction sector as it allows for both the contractor and client to visualise the space before it is finished. It can allow for the testing out of potential structural challenges before the construction process, extensively increasing work rate efficiency and productivity.
The Australian industry is moving forward with the aid of visionary teams leading the industry into the almost liquid area of construction technologies. Focus Design & Engineering Solutions is one of the animation companies leading the way in injecting the latest technology into the construction industry to demonstrate or showcase how its clients’ projects will be or were constructed. The Australian-owned and operated company is the brainchild of engineer brothers Adrian and Brendan Hayes, who state that being a part this field is not a simple task.
Adrian Hayes, who serves as the company’s design manager, admits it was “a steep learning curve but having passion and through hard work we accomplished a lot.”
The increase of demand over supply in this sector means that the company received extensive opportunities across three continents.
“Having just completed a New Zealand project from a studio in New York yields an undeniable appreciation for shared time zones,” says Brendan Hayes, the engineering director. “But discerning clients expect sustainable business practices to function locally and compete globally. So we compete, and operate globally.”
He adds that efficiency differentiates this entire industry sector.
“A well-known business triangle with each point representing the deliverables of cost, time and quality is Old Testament,” he says. “Today, these elements are merely the foundation to efficiency, diversity and value. In our industry, our point of difference is harnessing engineers who have practical experience into 3D design roles. Our 3D computer model builder has probably already built it or something similar in the field.”
It is the company’s – and the wider industry’s – goal to advance the Australian construction industry by producing safety education that is virtual and compelling.
“We want to demonstrate the dramatic reality of walking under a suspended load or entering a potentially lethal environment,” says Brendan. “I use the word lethal because it is more than ‘unsafe’; it is life at stake. Following each scene, we use the same visual media to educate and remind workers of the safe practices necessary to work safely.”
There is no doubt that education and communication play an integral role in construction site safety and 3D visualisation combines both with the added visual impact.
3D visualisation is changing the way we see this industry, our projects, and our future potential.