Construction handover approvals via BIM Digital Twin Virtual Tour – CYP Arden

Last Updated on October 25, 2023

CYP have a critical need to win efficient construction handover approvals for IFC drawings from the government owner and regulator RPV – Rail Projects Victoria – in a way that is efficient and gives high confidence to build trust.

Cross Yarra Partnership (CYP) is a joint venture between Lendlease, John Holland Group, Bouygues Construction, John Laing and Capella Capital).

Accelerating Handover Approvals for CYP on the $16b Melbourne Metro Tunnel Project

Our role was to convert a dynamic and massive BIM model for the major project into a virtual tour for use in engaging the client for construction handover approvals and gateway progressions.

The contractor had promised to provide a virtual reality (VR) solution to a high standard of realism to allow for an easy and accelerated approvals process for their client.

Construction handover approvals considerations

Important considerations in station designs include matters like:

  • Wayfinding in emergencies
  • Wayfinding on a day-to-day basis for commuters
  • General station layout and flow
  • Escalator arrival experience
  • Flow from entrance through ticketing to information and facilities
  • Experience through the ticketing area
  • Cross-passenger flows moving across entrances and exits
  • The experience
  • The lighting and ambience
  • The finishes in the lobby, the escalators and travellators and the station itself
  • The location of benches, seating areas
  • The distribution of passengers
  • Platform screen door arrangements
  • The cumulative impact and arrangement of all these matters

Construction materials verifications to CGI VR workflow

We receive certified designs in BIM format with information in JPG and Word format on materials and textures and we convert them to our Urban CGI VR experience.

This allows the client to demonstrate the proposed solution to their client to accelerate Approval to the IFC (issued for construction) stage.

The workflow challenges included

  • The short turnaround times between the data provision and the outputs required.
  • Helping the client understand the differences between BIM model updates and the requirements for rebuilds into a materials-based interactive CGI 3D model that runs in untethered VR.
  • Managing change requests on a limited budget and timeline.
  • Finding unmarked changes in updated BIM models and documentation (‘a pipe has changed’ amongst a million pipes).
  • Managing expectations from poorly managed inputs provided by subcontractor designers who have little incentive to support the success of the CGI supplier.
  • Aggregating and interpreting materials and texture information from low-quality inputs.
  • Managing ‘designer pride’ when issues and inconsistencies are revealed in their designs.
  • Explaining baked materials and lighting for visual realism in a constrained VR CGI experience versus agility to move elements around in full CGI or BIM models.

Design approvals acceleration for Melbourne Metro project using 3D modelling and VR solutions to test materials and design
Design approvals acceleration for Melbourne Metro Project

Metro Stations are very complex pieces of infrastructure.

Construction handover materials process for metro station

Metro stations typically move through a pre-design or concept design stage, a reference design stage, a construction stage and a commissioning stage.

In the construction phase – there are many designers, construction leaders, the client and the community. An enormous number of players on a major project, across many consultants, millions of elements, drawings and factors that need to be considered to create the outcome.

One of these factors is the arrangement, resilience and ambience of the station environment itself. The ambience and quality assurance for the ultimate client are very important, given they are paying billions of dollars.

Considerations in station design materials

Construction planning materials approvals comparison between VR quality 'expected' on left, and provide by Urban CGI on right noting lighting patterns, reflectivity, textures, materials, signage, video screens, realism.
Comparison between VR quality ‘expected’ on the left, and provided by Urban CGI on the right noting lighting patterns, reflectivity, textures, materials, signage, video screens, and realism.

In design and project development processes, there are many factors to consider and many individual specialists, it can be difficult to achieve the integrated vision as it changes dynamically, even with all those digital engineers and BIM models.

It is even more difficult to provide this vision to the customer and assure them of the solution – that everything is considered and resolved.

Providing such a service gives our clients a reputational advantage for a better customer experience – and they win more work. Sometimes it also helps to describe anomalies and variations and why things need to be done.

In particular, having the clients’ client easily and efficiently sign off, verify and approve the materials and final layout saves everybody enormous risk and time on fixed fee projects.

Construction planning materials approvals  comparison between VR quality 'expected' and provided on right noting lighting patterns, reflectivity, textures, materials, signage, video screens, realism.
Comparison between VR quality ‘expected’ on the left, and provided on the right noting lighting patterns, reflectivity, textures, materials, signage, video screens, and realism.

Construction planning approvals with CGI

Urban CGI accelerates this sign-off and approvals by providing the full CGI experience in high resolution of accurate materials and layout.

For CYP – we set an immersive quality benchmark based on a previous supplier for construction planning materials approvals.

We exceeded the immersive quality “by a factor of 5” – with rich, realistic reflections, translucencies and lighting to give the real experience on screen and also optimised for Virtual Reality (VR).

We have added further value by giving lead designers the capability to not only build once, at the design and materials sign-off but to iterate earlier thanks to our CGI publication workflows.

This further accelerates understanding of the outcomes and provides valuable feedback loops to the construction leaders to optimise designs and save more time in coming to a resolution.

Our CGI experts were able to capture the unresolved and disparate information of materials and designs, as well as the BIM models with hundreds of layers and create a clear visualisation early in the construction design development process.

Drawings from CAD, materials from swatches and photos, sometimes even written descriptions of materials and textures, were used to build the first VR CGI.

The quality of the CGI VR visualisation is so high designers began to review designs for thumbscrews around platform doors and the patterning shadow on screens and many other consequent factors.

Construction planning materials approvals acceleration with Urban CGI to reduce client effort and risk.

Improve CX for the client’s client (the Approvers).

CGI preview of BIM models integrated and converted to VR experiences with baked lighting as a flythrough from the VR model.

Live interactive CGI preview of BIM models integrated and converted to VR experiences with baked lighting.