Virtual reality as a concept isn’t entirely new. In computer gaming, gamers have been enjoying technology that allows them to feel part of the game for some time now. In aviation, virtual reality has been used in flight simulators for decades. However, virtual reality is still something fairly new in property. So in this report we will look at some of its uses in property and what the benefits might be.
Not too many years ago understanding what a development might look like once completed was done with paper plans and sketches – including good old fashioned artists’ impressions – or maybe a scale model. More recently, CGI has been used to give an idea of what a building might look like. Now however, virtual reality (VR for short) is helping to bring understanding what a building might be like once completed in the digital age.
Specifically in the property environment, VR is linking up with the also fairly new practice of BIM, or building information modelling. BIM is a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a construction project. It is also a system for designing a building collaboratively using one common system of computer modelling, rather than the individual parties to a project using their own plans.
2016 saw the initiation of Level 2 BIM in the UK, with the Government requiring the use of BIM on all centrally funded projects. According to the ‘National BIM Report’ published by NBS (part of RIBA) in 2011, 43% of respondents were actually unaware of BIM, and only 13% were using it. By 2016 54% of respondents were using BIM in their projects.