TECHNI CAL REPORT

Luleå University of Technology
Department of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering
Division of Construction Management
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VIPP
Visualization in Design and Construction
Visualisering i Projektering och Produktion
Rogier Jongeling, Martin Asp, Daniel Thall,
Pontus Jakobsson, Thomas Olofsson
Division of Structural Engineering
Department of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering
Luleå University of Technology
SE - 971 87 LULEÅ
www.ltu.se/shb
construction.project.ltu.se
TECHNICAL REPORT
VIPP
VISUALISERING I PROJEKTERING OCH PRODUKTION
VISUALIZATION IN DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
Rogier Jongeling, Martin Asp, Daniel Thall, Pontus Jakobsson, Thomas
Olofsson
Luleå 2007
III
Preface
This report completes the VIPP I project (Visualisering i Projektering och
Produktion, SBUF project no. 11693), and is the first progress report of the
VIPP II project (SBUF project no. 11843). The purpose of this report is to
provide an overview and update of the developments in the project and
initiated activities.
The VIPP I project started in June 2005 and was continued under the name
VIPP II from June 2006 on. VIPP II is planned to be completed in 2007.
The work in the VIPP I and II project has been conducted in close cooperation
with a number of industry partners during two construction projects by JM AB:
Hotellviken-Ringvägen and Hotellviken-Restaurangholmen in Saltsjöbaden.
We acknowledge the time and input from the project participants and
especially like to thank Magnus Nordström for application of the project work
in practice. The financial support has been provided by the SBUF.
Luleå, June 2007
Rogier Jongeling, Luleå University of Technology
Martin Asp, JM AB
Daniel Thall, Ceco Interactive Design AB
Pontus Jakobsson, Sightline Vision AB
Thomas Olofsson, Luleå University of Technology
V
Abstract
The purpose of the VIPP project is to improve the efficiency and quality of the
design review and production scheduling process by using VR models based
on 3D models from the design process. Visualization is increasingly used in
early stages of development projects to facilitate communication processes, but
the use of these models during phases such as detailed design, planning and
construction is very limited. It is time-consuming and complicated to keep a
VR model up-to-date as a result of differences in data structures and formats
between the 3D CAD applications and VR applications. The VIPP project aims
to facilitate the transfer of 3D CAD models to VR applications, but the main
objective is to set a true example for the practical use of 3D models by
professionals in the construction industry.
The VIPP project shows in a real construction project that VR models are
beneficial for design review and construction scheduling purposes. By means
of defining scenarios for the early and detailed design review process and for
production scheduling purposes the project shows benefits that can be divided
in: facilitation of the communication process with project stakeholders,
increased process efficiency and higher quality of the design and construction
process outcome.
The VIPP project shows that the 3D design process is different from the
traditional 2D design process, but not radically different. The time required to
create 3D and 4D models for the industry case study project was surprisingly
little. However, it was found that it is critical to define early and clearly in a
project for what purposes the 3D models will be produced.
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IFC, a neutral exchange format for building model information, is used to
capture and transfer graphical and non-graphical data from 3D CAD models to
VR applications. An IFC interface was developed for two VR applications in
the VIPP project, but is set up in such a way that other VR applications also
can benefit from the developed IFC interface.
The objective of the VIPP project was to keep the definition of use cases,
requirements and processes concrete in order to maximize the practical
applicability of the VIPP project for other professional users in the construction
industry. The practical approach might have compromised the scientific level
of the project work, but we believe that the concrete results from the VIPP
project can stimulate the industry to start using 3D models and VR
environments in real building projects.
Key words: Visualization, Virtual Reality, 3D CAD, 4D CAD, Design,
Construction
Abbreviations
VII
Abbreviations
3D CAD Three-dimensional Computer Aided Design
4D CAD 3D CAD integrated with schedule data (time)
ADT Architectural DeskTop
AEC Architecture, Engineering and Construction
BIM Building Information Model
CAD Computer Aided Design
DLL Dynamic-Link Library
DWG Drawing file developed and used by Autodesk Inc.
GUID Global Unique IDentification number
HVAC Heating Ventilation Air-Conditioning
IAI International Alliance for Interoperability
IFC Industry Foundation Classes
IFC 2x2 IFC schema version 2 with extension 2
IFC 2x3 IFC schema version 2 with extension 3
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VIII
IT Information Technology
MEP Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing
nD n-Dimensional, in which n is a number
PIO Project Information Officer
SBUF
Svenska Byggbranschens UtvecklingsFond. Development
Fund of the Swedish Construction Industry.
VBE Virtual Building Environment
VDC Virtual Design and Construction
VRML Virtual Reality Mark up Language
WBS Work Breakdown Structure
XML eXtensible Mark up Language
Table of Contents
IX
Table of Contents
PREFACE......................................................................................................... III
ABSTRACT....................................................................................................... V
ABBREVIATIONS ........................................................................................ VII
TABLE OF CONTENTS..................................................................................IX
1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................... 11
1.1 Background .................................................................................... 11
1.2 Aim................................................................................................. 12
1.3 Method ........................................................................................... 13
2 THEORY................................................................................................. 15
2.1 Virtual Design and Construction.................................................... 15
2.2 Product Modelling.......................................................................... 18
2.3 Virtual Reality................................................................................ 19
2.4 Production Simulation.................................................................... 20
3 APPLICATIONS IN VIPP I.................................................................... 23
3.1 Scenarios ........................................................................................ 23
3.2 Scenario 1: Design review.............................................................. 25
3.3 Scenario 2: Production simulation ................................................. 35
4 DEVELOPMENT.................................................................................... 40
4.1 The need for an IFC interface ........................................................ 40
4.2 Development of the IFC interface.................................................. 41
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5 METHODOLOGY & PROCESSES....................................................... 46
5.1 Recommendations and requirements for the design process ......... 46
5.2 Modelling methodology................................................................. 49
5.3 Delivery of 3D models to VR environments ................................. 52
6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION..................................................... 53
REFERENCES ................................................................................................. 57
11
1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background
3D visualization is increasingly used in early stages of commercial and public
development projects as an instrument to inform and align project stakeholders
on the relation of planned artefacts and the built environment. 3D models are
integrated in virtual environments that allow users to experience and gain an
understanding of the physical settings of planned construction projects. Today,
the use of these Virtual Reality (VR) models is mainly limited to early stages
of projects, when the project is defined and when for example property is sold
to investors.
The use of VR models during the actual development project in phases such as
detailed design, planning and construction is very limited. One of the main
complicating factors is the fact that it is time-consuming and complicated to
keep a VR model up-to-date with all revisions in a project. As a result, most of
today’s VR models are one-off products that are created early in a project, but
that are of relatively little use when the project advances into detailed design,
planning and construction.
Design reviews are currently mainly carried out using overlay of 2D drawings
that are produced by different design disciplines in projects. Construction
scheduling and the actual construction process are also strongly relying on 2D
drawings for information exchange and communication. Numerous reports
have been written about the shortcomings of using 2D drawings in
construction. The VIPP project does not aim to address this issue, but rather
focuses on the possibilities offered by the increased use of 3D CAD tools by
architects, structural engineers and MEP-consultants.
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In a traditional 2D-based design process one is forced to create a 3D model
from 2D drawings when creating a VR model. As soon as one of the drawings
changes the VR model has to be changed manually, which makes the process
time-consuming, prone to errors and costly. The availability of 3D models
from the design process provides an improved basis for the creation of VR
models. 2D drawings do no longer have to be converted into 3D models,
thereby significantly reducing conversion errors and the time to create a VR
model. However, changes in the 3D design models still require a number of
time-consuming and repetitive steps to update the VR model with the latest 3D
design information. This is mainly a result of the differences in representation
and structuring of information in the 3D models. For every update of the 3D
models one has to convert and publish the information from a 3D CAD
program to a VR environment. As a result of the conversion and publishing
process there is no direct link between design data in the 3D CAD system and
design data in the VR environment, which limits the possibilities to manage
changes in the 3D design models.
A promising development is the definition of a standard exchange format for
building model information. The model standard, called IFC, provides
mechanisms to capture graphical and non-graphical data from 3D models. The
application of IFC can possibly facilitate the data transfer between 3D design
systems and VR environments, but the use will also imply a number of
prerequisites and changes for the systems and for users of these systems,
including a change in working methods.
1.2 Aim
The purpose of the VIPP project is to improve the efficiency and quality of the
design review and production scheduling process by using VR models based
on 3D design models. The main objective is therefore to use 3D design models
in practice by design managers, construction planners and construction
managers.
The VIPP project aims to develop the following areas in order to arrive at the
practical use of 3D design models and VR environments throughout the
building process:
- Enable the transfer of 3D design model information to VR
environments by developing an IFC interface for two different VR
systems.
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- Define requirements and methods for the information delivery by
architects, structural engineers and HVAC consultants, for the purpose
of facilitating the generation of VR models and for the use of non-
graphical design data in design review, planning and construction
processes.
- Establish and apply routines for 3D model-based design reviews and
communication of production planning information.
1.3 Method
The VIPP I and II projects have been divided into two parts. The first part
concerns a pre-study and system development. The second part concerns
application in practice and analyses from the practical application. The VIPP
project uses two industry case study projects around which the main
components of the project are implemented and tested. Both case study projects
are part of the Hotellviken project that in total counts four successvie sub-
projects.
The first VIPP project, VIPP I, uses the Hotellviken-Ringvägen project as a
case study project, Figure 1.1. The Ringvägen project comprises the
construction of 62 apartments in four apartment blocks, connected by two
parking garages. The second VIPP project, VIPP II, uses the Hotellviken-
Restaurangholmen project as a case study project. The development of
Restaurangholmen comprises the construction of four residential apartment
blocks connected by a garage and a separate spa centre.
The Hotellviken-Marinan project was used as a case study in the completed
ITstomme project (SBUF project no. 11333, (Jongeling 2005)). The
fundamental ideas and developments from the ITstomme project were used as
a starting point when the VIPP project was initiated. Compared to the
ITstomme project, which had a more technical character, the focus in VIPP is
the application of technology in practice by construction professionals and the
development of working methods for these professionals.
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Figure 1.1: Hotellviken-Ringvägen. The architectural 3D model is integrated
in an environment showing the surroundings of the project.
The following chapter provides a theoretical basis for the developments and
applications within the VIPP I project. Chapter 3 - 5 gives a description of the
main results of the system development and the case study applications. Since
the VIPP II project is still ongoing at the time of this report, only the results
from VIPP I are presented.
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2 THEORY
The VIPP project applies 3D design models for a variety of purposes by using
VR environments. The process of developing and applying these models is
referred as Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). The following sections
describe and exemplify the Virtual Design and Construction process, including
a section on VR and construction simulation. A more comprehensive
description is given in the PhD thesis by Rogier Jongeling (Jongeling 2006).
2.1 Virtual Design and Construction
The Virtual Design and Construction process aims to analyse, simulate and
predict the quality of the end product (e.g. a building) and the characteristics of
the process to build and operate the product. Both the product and the
processes must be virtually designed and simulated, before construction
commences, in order to be able to truly evaluate different design and
construction alternatives against project objectives. The Virtual Design and
Construction process relies on the use of CAD and other IT systems, but is not
limited to these tools. The organization of the process is as important as the
applied technology in the process.
Figure 2.1 presents a simplified outline of a concurrent property development
process including the main decision-making processes and decisions points
(DP). A project typically consists of a number of parallel and interrelated
decision processes. The application of Virtual Design and Construction
techniques in such a building process results in a large variety of different
applications and analyses. Each of these applications aims to facilitate the
decision-making process by (partially) analysing, simulating and predicting the
quality of the end product and the characteristics of the process to build and
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operate the product. Figure 2.2 shows a number of Virtual Design and
Construction methods that can be applied to facilitate the design of the product
and process.
D
P
D
P
D
P
D
P
Market
Design
Construct
Building permit 40% sold
Define & sell project, manage project, sell or rent out flats & offices
Project definition, analysis & simulation and detailed design
Cost estimation, supply chain, production plan, follow-up
Figure 2.1: Outline of a property development project, including a schematic
representation of the decision-making process. The dotted line
represents the main decisions between a number of concurrent key-
processes in the property development process (Jongeling 2006).
D
P
M A R K E T P R O C E S S
D E S I G N P R O C E S S
C O N S T R U C T I O N P R O C E S S
D
P
Architectural
design
Building
approval
Marketing
Structural
design
Installation
design
Facility
management
Life cycle cost
Indoor quality
Cost estimation
budget
Procurement
planning
Production
planning
Design check
collisions, buildability
Supply chain
management
O

P
E

R

A

T

I

O

N
D
P
M A R K E T P R O C E S S
D E S I G N P R O C E S S
C O N S T R U C T I O N P R O C E S S
D
P
Architectural
design
Building
approval
Marketing
Structural
design
Installation
design
Facility
management
Life cycle cost
Indoor quality
Cost estimation
budget
Procurement
planning
Production
planning
Design check
collisions, buildability
Supply chain
management
O

P
E

R

A

T

I

O

N
Figure 2.2: Applications of Virtual Design and Construction techniques in a
property development project facilitate the communication in the
decision-making process (Jongeling 2006).
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Examples of the potential benefits of the application of Virtual Design and
Construction techniques in a property development process can be summarized
as follows:
- The process of obtaining a building permit process becomes faster and
more efficient. Visualisation of the overall design improves
communication and clarification, resulting in less complaints and
misunderstandings of the layout and effects on the neighbouring
environment.
- The sale process improves in early stages of the project. Selective price
tags on attractive flats can more easily be determined by the developer.
Potential customers can get a visual impression of the layout and the
view from the flat before they sign the contract.
- Life cycle cost can be estimated early and the design can be changed to
meet design targets.
- Early procurement of critical components with long delivery times,
such as windows, can be made earlier with lower prices as a result.
- Integrated structural and installations design leads to fewer collisions in
the design and hence, less re-work on the construction site.
- Integrated design and production planning (4D), improves the build-
ability of the design, the site layout and work-flow on the construction
site with less waste during construction as a result.
- Integrated design, bill of quantity take-off, cost estimation and supply
chain management reduces the waste related to waiting for and storage
of components and material on site.
- Handover of an AS Built model for e.g. facility management increases
the value for the owner.
The applications of different Virtual Design and Construction methods are
dependent on each other and should be applied in an iterative manner in which
several analyses are repeated until a satisfying solution is found. The iterative
and interdependent use of the Virtual Design and Construction applications
puts high demands on the definition and structure of the data that supports the
various analyses.
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2.2 Product Modelling
A product model is an academic and technical term to denote a Building
Information Model (BIM). Two other concepts that are often referred to are nD
modelling and a virtual building environment (VBE). Product models can
contain both product and process data of a building project, such as geometry,
material definitions, but also planning information and data on construction
costs. A BIM is a computer model database of building design information,
which may also contain information about the building’s construction,
management, operations and maintenance (Graphisoft 2002). An nD model is
an extension of the BIM, which incorporates multi-aspects of design
information required at each stage of the lifecycle of a building facility (Lee
2003). A Virtual Building Environment (VBE) is a “place” where building
industry project staffs can get help in creating BIMs and in the use of virtual
buildings (Bazjanac 2004). A virtual building is a BIM, or an nD model,
deployed in software. We define BIM and nD models as (building) product
models.
One of the main developed standardized schemas for building product models
is the Industry Foundation Classification (IFC) by the International Alliance for
Interoperability (IAI 2007). The IAI is an open international consortium of
CAD vendors, such as Graphisoft, Autodesk, Bentley, Nemetschek and many
other organisations. The IAI defines interoperability as an environment in
which computer programmes can retrieve data automatically, regardless of the
type of software or source of data (IAI 2007).
The interest in work by the IAI on IFC is gaining momentum. Several large
public and commercial clients start to require information delivery in their
projects by using IFC. In Denmark for example, for public building projects
over 40DKK delivery of IFC models is required. Similar requirements are
starting to be made by large clients in the Norway, Finland and in the US.
These types of requirements speed up the definition of the standard, the
deployment in software and the practical use by industry professionals. The
worldwide seminars organized by the IAI, under the name of Building Smart,
have drawn serious attention by actors in the construction industry and IFC has
moved beyond its academic and limited use.
The eventual goal of the IAI is to develop product data models for sharing
information between software tools, which are utilised throughout the building
industry. This is done by specifying how the ‘objects’ (products and processes)
that a construction project consists of, such as doors, walls, rooms, etc., should
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be represented electronically. Each specification is called a ‘class’. The term
‘class’ is used to describe a range of things that have common characteristics.
For instance, every door has the characteristic of opening to allow entry to a
space; every window has the characteristic of transparency so that it can be
seen through. Door and window are names of classes. The classes defined by
the IAI are, as mentioned earlier, termed ‘Industry Foundation Classes’ or
IFCs. A wall object created in one application can be exchanged with another
IFC-compliant application, which recognises the wall object and the
accompanying specifications. The objects have a global unique identification
number (GUID), which allows one to keep track of individual objects. A
shortcoming of the IFC standard is the fact that there is no support for multiple
versions and representations on individual object-level.
2.3 Virtual Reality
VR is a spatial and communicating medium well-suited to facilitate
collaboration and understanding about the construction and the processes
needed to erect it (Woksepp 2005). Even though VR today primarily is used for
visualizing the final product there is also a great potential to use it as a
universal interface applications used during design, planning and production
(Aouad 1997).
VR models are typically created by using 3D CAD tools and dedicated 3D
visualization software packages from where graphics are published to a VR
environment. These VR environments are often based on technology from the
computer game industry and work accordingly, with for example similar types
of navigation modes and representations of the environment. The VR
environments are easy to use and allow non-CAD users to access and interact
with 3D models. The use of these tools significantly increases the number of
potential users and uses of 3D models.
The main differences between 3D models in CAD systems and 3D models in
VR environments, apart from differences in navigation and accessibility, are
the definition and representation of objects. A building objects such as a wall is
represented as a solid box in a CAD system that can have definitions and
materials assigned for its contents and surfaces. The same wall is often
represented as just a surface in a VR environment in order to minimize the
required computing power when exploring the VR model. Compared to a 3D
model in a 3D design system the VR model includes additional definitions for
surfaces and spaces for the purpose of photorealistic representation. In
addition, objects that can be identified as individuals in 3D design systems are
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often grouped in a different way in a VR environment. These differences in
definition and representation of objects currently limit a direct transfer of 3D
design models into VR models. As a result, VR models are often made once in
early stages of a project, but are subsequently not updated and lose their value
as an instrument to inform and communicate design and construction issues.
2.4 Production Simulation
4D CAD is a method for communication and simulation of construction
scheduling information. The method combines 3D design models with
construction schedules and represent the construction process over time
(McKinney 1998). 4D CAD, in this respect defined as a specific type of VR,
promotes improved understanding of construction operations (Li 2003).
Construction projects have unique spatial configurations and the spatial nature
of projects is very important for planning decisions (Akbas 2004). 4D CAD
models provide planners with a spatial insight in the scheduling process of
construction operations, which is not clearly and effectively provided by using
2D drawings in combination with CPM schedules or Line-of-Balance
diagrams.
4D CAD models are typically created by linking building components from 3D
CAD models with activities that follow from CPM schedules, e.g. (Koo 2000;
Tanyer 2005). Building components that are related to activities that are
ongoing are highlighted. The 4D CAD model provides the user with a clear and
direct picture of the schedule intent and helps to quickly and clearly
communicate this schedule to different stakeholders in a project. 4D CAD
models allow project participants to simulate and analyze what-if scenarios
before commencing work execution on site (McKinney 1998).
In order to use the 3D design models for production purposes one has modify
the design model, which is done by restructuring the design model according to
the projects Work Breakdown Schema (WBS) and by adding and modifying
3D objects. A WBS establishes a common frame of reference for a
construction project and divides the project into a hierarchical structure of
manageable parts or work-packages, which enables resource loading of
schedules and cost estimations at different level of detail. It is also used to
identify parts of the project that can be sub-contracted.
The most common technique to restructure a 3D model is to add existing 3D
objects to CAD layers representing the desired level of the WBS. The resulting
production adapted CAD model, referred to as production model, can be
21
further refined by adding objects specifically used for production purposes,
such as the lay out of the construction site, equipment, transport ways, shoring,
form work, etc.
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3 APPLICATIONS IN VIPP I
3.1 Scenarios
The application of VR models in the Hotellviken-Ringvägen project are
defined by two practical scenarios (use cases) that set the scope and ambition
for the project.
Scenario 1: Design review
The purpose of use case 1 is to facilitate the design review process by using
VR models that are based on 3D design models and that can directly and
smoothly be updated from revised 3D design models.
x The architectural 3D model is modelled with CAD software and published
to a VR environment.
x The model by the architect is updated, by for example repositioning a
window frame.
x The VR-model can easily be updated with the newer version of the
architectural 3D model.
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Scenario 2: Production simulation
The purpose of use case 2 is to bridge the gap between the design and
production process by making 3D design information easily accessible for
production simulation purposes.
x The structural 3D model is published to a VR-environment.
x The construction site is modelled in 3D, including the layout of the site,
cranes and scaffolding. This 3D model is also published to the VR-
environment.
x The construction planning is created with typical project planning software
(e.g. MS Project, Plancon, Primavera)
x The structural 3D model is linked to the construction planning which is
imported to the VR-environment
x The resulting 4D-model can be used to show the ongoing construction
activities per construction day
x The construction schedule can be updated, without losing links to the 3D
models
x The 3D models can be updated, without losing links to the construction
schedule.
The defined scenarios require the development of working methods and
software tools to be fully realized. Especially since the applications in the two
use cases are supposed to exchange information using the IFC format.
However, in order not to get stuck in technical developments we decided to
conduct the two scenarios using existing software tools that, where possible,
were to be modified along the applications in the case study project.
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3.2 Scenario 1: Design review
Scenario 1 was split into two different applications: 1A early design review and
1B detailed design review.
3.2.1 Scenario 1A: Early design review
This VR model includes the architectural 3D model and the landscape,
including vegetation and main landmarks in the vicinity of the project.
Purpose
The first VR model was created to support the early design-making process by
the project team and its stakeholders, including potential buyers of apartments.
Method
An architectural 3D model was created in ArchiCAD by the architect of the
project and was imported to 3D studio max by using the .3ds file format. The
following modifications and additions were made by graphical designers in 3D
studio max to make the architectural model suitable for visualization:
- Textures and shading were added to existing objects
- Objects that are part of the building, but that are not visible were
removed
- Objects with complex geometries were simplified/modified
- Missing objects and information were added, such as building volumes,
apartment layout and pricing.
The surroundings of the project, landmarks, vegetation were imported to 3D
studio max and were published, together with the modified architectural model
to a VR environment called Neo. It took 15 days to create the surroundings of
the project and 5 days to import the architectural model to Neo. The VR model
was 4 times updated during the project.
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Figure 3.1: Architectural model from Ringvägen in the VR environment Neo
Changing the architectural design requires the aforementioned modifications
and edits of the architectural 3D model in 3D studio max before the VR model
can be updated. With a limited number of small changes, such as changes in
window sizes, the modifications can be made directly in the existing 3D studio
max model. This way the export and import from ArchiCAD to 3D studio max
can be excluded from the process, but this procedure causes the design and the
visualisation model to get inconsistent. In case of main design reviews one is
forced to update (i.e. replace) the whole 3D studio max model of the
architectural 3D model.
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Results
The VR model in Neo was used by a number of stakeholders in different
settings.
The project manager used the model during design meetings to create a
common understanding of the project and to review the architectural design.
Several misplaced walls and windows could be detected by exploring the VR
model in Neo, by means of walking and flying around using a game control
pad. The detected design issues were directly communicated to the architect
using the VR model. The project manager had no experience of CAD systems
and could as a result not review the 3D CAD model with ArchiCAD. Using the
VR model for this purpose was making the 3D design model accessible for
non-CAD users.
The VR model was also used to communicate the project to the local
government and planning committees in order to facilitate the process to obtain
building permits and other permissions. The project manager considered the
VR model of great use in this process. The use of the VR model minimized
misunderstandings about the project intent, created quickly a common
understanding among all stakeholders and gave the decision-makers a
professional and serious impression of the project developer. The project
manager is convinced that the use of the VR model has speeded up the process
of obtaining permissions.
The project manager used the VR model to set the prices for the apartments of
the project, by walking around in the apartments and by inspecting the view
from the apartment’s balcony. The clients used the VR model in the same way
and could obtain a direct and photorealistic impression of their potential future
home, including price information, apartment layout, etc. The project manager
believes that the use of the VR model has speeded up the early sales of
apartments (i.e. the sale of apartments before the actual construction). The
manager also believes that it has been a valuable instrument to set specific
prices on different apartments, based on early (virtual) impressions of the final
product and settings in its surroundings.
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Figure 3.2: The 3D model in Neo shows the project in its final state when
construction is completed and when the site is cleared and
landscaped.
In addition to clients, the VR model was shown to project stakeholders such as
cost estimators, planners, the site manager, suppliers, etc. Most of the project
stakeholders considered the VR model useful, but some, such as the site
manager, considered it of little use for production purposes, since the model
showed the final product and not the process to get to the final product, Figure
3.2. The model is not built to show the construction process and the layout of
the construction site and is therefore of limited use to support the construction
process. The 3D model in Neo is stripped from all unnecessary 3D objects,
which are those objects in the final product that are not visible for the main
users of the model (e.g. potential buyers of apartments, politicians, etc.), Figure
3.3.
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Figure 3.3: The 3D model in Neo showing the roof of the parking garage from
beneath. The figure shows the absence of slabs, walls, columns,
installations and ramps.
3.2.2 Scenario 1B: Detailed design review
The VR model that was used for the detailed design review includes 3D
models from the structural design and building services design, including
heating-, ventilation- and plumbing systems.
Purpose
The purpose of the VR model in the detailed design phase is to better
understand and communicate the complex geometry of the structural design for
planning the production. The VR model is also useful to review the structural
design and to check the structural model against the building services model
for possible interferences.
The structural design was already completed in 2D when the 3D model was
built during the VIPP I project. This is not optimal from the perspective of the
use of VR models for design review processes, but an advantage of checking
the consistency and completeness of the final structural design. During the on-
going VIPP II project the VR model is constantly used and updated along the
complete design process, and combines the architectural, structural and HVAC
models of the final stage of the Hotellviken project.
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Method
A 3D structural model was created for Hotellviken-Ringvägen from 2D
structural design drawings using AutoCAD Architectural Desktop (ADT). The
2D structural design drawings, in DWG format, were used as a reference in the
3D modeling process to model and position the 3D structural objects, such as
walls, slabs and columns. Reinforcement was not modeled in 3D.
The 3D structural model was built floor by floor and building by building.
When the modeling process was completed the 3D model was published to a
VR environment called Ceco Visual, using a plugin software to AutoCAD
ADT. The plugin converts the CAD model to VRML and creates unique
entries for each CAD object in a database used by Ceco Visual. The main
difference between Neo and Ceco Visual is the fact that Neo is built for high-
end graphics and photorealistic views and Ceco Visual is built to visualize
detailed CAD models and accompanying property sets of CAD objects.
The HVAC model was created in MagiCAD and was from the start not
prepared to be used in the 3D design review. The model contained 3D objects,
but the objects were not positioned at a correct Z-level and was therefore
corrected along the design review process. The HVAC model was also
published to Ceco Visual via AutoCAD ADT using a 3D object enabler to
show MagiCAD objects.
The two models were subsequently used by the project manager, planner and
site manager to review the different design disciplines in 3D using the VR
environment Ceco Visual.
Results
Overall, the VR models of the building structural and installations have been
constantly used by different stakeholders to understand the building geometry
and to communicate design and production issues. As mentioned in Scenario
1A: The project manager had no experience of CAD systems and could as a
result not review the 3D CAD model with AutoCAD ADT, MagiCAD or
ArchiCAD. Using the VR model for this purpose was making the 3D design
model accessible for non-CAD users, such as the project manager.
The site manager used the models for example to show HVAC contractors how
the installations were supposed to be installed on site and checked also the
interferences of the installations with the building structure.
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Ceco Visual shows the project hierarchically and allows users to partially load
and unload the project, such as floors, buildings or single objects. The project
hierarchy is structured according to:
x Design disciplines (structural, HVAC, architectural, site) and
x The spatial decomposition of the project (e.g. building 10, floor 1, beams,
column, slabs and walls)
Modelling and reviewing the structural design in 3D revealed several
inconsistencies. The modelling process itself forced the project team to build
the project virtually and was thereby confronted with a number of design
issues. After the design was completed it was reviewed by using the VR model
to search for issues that were not obvious in the 3D modelling process. The
design review was performed by simply walking and looking around in the
buildings and parking garages of Ringvägen. It was found in the 3D modelling
and 3D review process that:
x The design was incomplete. Certain objects were missing on 2D drawings.
A missing column was for example detected in the garage.
x The design was inconsistent. Several of the 2D-drawings did not match.
This was especially the case with 2D-section drawings of the buildings,
showing building storey heights differently on different drawings. Also,
several instances of openings in concrete slabs were detected that were
differently shaped on different drawings.
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Figure 3.4: A capture from the structural 3D model down in the parking
garage of Ringvägen. The model shows clearly a missing concrete
column to support a concrete beam, which in its turn supports the
roof slab of the parking garage and the building above. The
concrete beam is highlighted for clarification purposes.
The 3D model of the structural design was considered very useful to
understand complex sections of the building. Especially, it gave a clear picture
of the connection between the buildings and parking garages. The 3D
environment was considered a valuable tool by the project manager and site
manager to check the design, plan assembly procedures and communicate the
design to involved production personnel.
The 3D model did not contain reinforcement bars and contained also
simplifications of for example the prefabricated balconies. A higher level of
detail of the structural design, including for example reinforcement bars could
possibly have avoided a number of design issues that surfaced during the
construction work. However, the possibility to model reinforcement bars to
date in 3D is still limited and complicates to some extend the detailed design
review process. For example, the reinforcement bars that support prefabricated
slabs of balconies between two buildings with different elevations were drawn
incorrectly in 2D, Figure 3.5. The structural design in 3D, with and possibly
even without 3D reinforcement bars could most probably have avoided this
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design mistake. The 2D design method used by the structural designer made it
possible to create an erroneous cross-section of the balconies and slabs, without
noticing this inconsistency. With design in 3D the cross-sections are derived
from the 3D model and directly show the differences in elevations. Modelling
the reinforcement bars in 3D would have minimized the risk even further for
these types of design mistakes.
Figure 3.5: The balconies between building 10 and 14 are supposed to be
supported by the slabs of both building 10 and 14, but due to the
difference in elevation that was overlooked in the 2D design the
connection to the slab of building 14 cannot easily be made (detail
A). The issue was discovered and solved during the construction
work, but could most probably have been avoided with structural
design in 3D from the start of the design process.
The review of the HVAC 3D model against the structural 3D model also
revealed a number of issues that were overlooked in the 2D review process.
Especially the position and dimensions of openings for installations in the
concrete building structure appeared to be critical points of which a number of
‘collisions’ (e.g. interferences of the structural model and HVAC model) could
be detected.
Building 10
Building 14
A
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Figure 3.6: Design review of the structural 3D model against the HVAC model.
The figure shows a misplaced opening in a concrete wall for
installations. Several of these types of issues could be detected by
using the VR model.
The review process in 3D was mainly performed in the final stages of the
design process. This has limited the full integration of 3D reviews in the
overall design process. Conducting design reviews in a 3D environment was a
new way of working for the designers in the project and it took some time to
handle the 3D models in an efficient way to support communication and
decision-making during face-to-face meetings. For example, the VR model was
used for an arbitrarily number of agenda-points of a design meeting, but not all.
Certain views from a specific angle, with solid parts of one model loaded, parts
of another model transparent, etc, seemed to bring in too much of visual
information to handle for the designers when an issue was brought up during a
meeting.
One can state that during VIPP I the use of the VR model and the design
process were rather two parallel processes where the use of the VR model was
of benefit for the design process. The VR model was renewed a number of
times, but there were no procedures in place that stated how, when and by
whom all the models were to be delivered, updated and dissiminated.
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3.3 Scenario 2: Production simulation
The VR model created for production simulation consists of the structural
design model, a simplified model of the construction site’s landscape, the site
layout and building site objects.
Purpose
The VR model that was created for production simulation is aimed to bridge
the gap between the design and production process by making 3D design
information easily accessible for review of production plan and communication
of the production process at the construction site.
Method
The VR model of the structural design was used as a basis for the production
model. The structural design model was modified in AutoCAD ADT to make
the model suitable for production planning and simulation purposes, resulting
in a production model:
x Objects were added, such as lattice girder (plattbärlag) elements.
x Objects were modified, such as the division of slabs into multiple concrete
pours.
The modified structural design model (i.e. the production model) was
subsequently republished from AutoCAD ADT to Ceco Visual.
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Figure 3.7: The structural 3D model was further detailed to make the model
suitable for production planning and simulation purposes in 4D.
The site was modelled in 3D in AutoCAD ADT, by using 2D drawings from
the geotechnical consultants and from the site manager, who had created a 2D
drawing of the site layout. 3D objects were created for the main building site
objects, such as cranes, scaffolding, material storages areas, transport routes,
etc. All models were published from AutoCAD ADT to Ceco Visual.
The site manager created a detailed production schedule using MS project and
exported the planning information to Ceco Visual using MS project’s built-in
XML export. In Ceco Visual the site manager linked the planning information
to the respective “production-adjusted” 3D objects from the various 3D
models. The resulting 4D model was the ready for use on the construction site.
When changes occurred in the planning the site manager updated the 4D model
with the new scheduling information.
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Figure 3.8: The 4D model integrates the structural model and the project
schedule in one environment, showing day-by-day the ongoing
activities at the construction site.
The level of detail of the 4D model was increased at a number of selected
instances of the 4D simulation in order to provide more detailed instructions
for specific assembly operations. As an example the connection between the
garage roof and surrounding buildings can be given. At this particular section
in the project different types of work crews were involved in a number of
different operations that had to be executed in one specific assembly order.
The site manager established a detailed 4D model in order to understand, set up
and plan for these construction tasks. The detailed 4D model required further
detailing of the structural design model and construction schedule. The detailed
4D model also required specific model views to be linked into the 4D model to
allow the user to move in the model from one task to another showing those
objects relevant to the task at hand.
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Results
The 4D model was shown during the complete construction process on a
computer in the main meeting room at the construction site, Figure 3.9. The
model showed for every construction day the planned work with highlighted
components in the model. The model was used as an instrument to validate the
scheduled construction work, but its main use was the communication of the
schedule with a large variety of stakeholders in the construction process.
Figure 3.9: The 4D model was used during the entire construction process as a
tool in the main meeting room at the construction site to
communicate the construction schedule to different stakeholders.
Using the 4D model the schedule, that included over 1000 activities, could be
presented in a matter of a few minutes with a guaranteed common
understanding among different stakeholders of the scheduled construction
work. The model strongly contributed to the fact that communication was
efficient (i.e. required little time and effort) and effective (i.e. ensured directly
a common understanding).
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The model was also used as an instrument at progress and look-a-head
meetings on site and as a tool to quickly familiarize new project participants,
such as suppliers, with the scheduled construction work. As an example the
coordination of HVAC installation work can be given. The site manager used
the 4D model as a tool to instruct the sub-contractors for HVAC on work how
to perform their assembly work in relation to ongoing tasks by other crews.
The visual value of the model cannot be stressed enough in this respect. The
sub-contractors were directly provided with a clear and common picture of the
assembly work and other building systems interfacing with their particular
system.
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4 DEVELOPMENT
4.1 The need for an IFC interface
The first transfer in the project of CAD models into the VR environments Neo
and Ceco Visual was primarily performed by using limited (e.g. .3DS format)
and propietary (e.g. DWG) data formats. The use of these formats implies a
number of disadvantages and limitations:
x The VR models cannot easily be updated using .3DS and .DWG files from
different CAD systems.
x Only graphical data can be transferred using the .3DS format
x The DWG format can include non-graphical data, but is limited to mainly
Autodesk products for this usage.
x The .3DS format is no longer developed and the .DWG is propietary.
The need for non-graphical data became apparent during course of the project.
The site-manager started to be interested in using the model for material
planning. The manager envisioned that the model could be used to calculate the
volume of concrete to cast and call for concrete supplies. In addition the
manager wanted to be able to quickly extract the total length and area of non-
bearing innerwalls per apartment and per floor in order to be able to plan for
the amount of gypsum needed to be located at a floor before the scaffolding for
the floor above was set up. The required data for these uses is available in the
3D CAD model. However, the data could not be extracted from the VR models
used for design review and construction simulation, since the models were
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limited to graphics from the CAD models. In order to improve the import and
update of CAD models and take advantage of the non-graphical CAD data an
interface for IFC interface was developed for both Neo and Ceco Visual.
4.2 Development of the IFC interface
The development and work-flow for the transfer of CAD models via IFC into
Neo and Ceco consist of the following steps, Figure 4.1:
1. Exporting the CAD model to an IFC file
2. Converting the IFC file to a XML file
3. Importing the XML file into the VR environment
Figure 4.1: The transfer of a CAD model to IFC, which is converted to XML
and imported to Ceco Visual. The work-flow for import to Neo is
similar. The figure is showing one level of the Ringvägen project.
1
2
3
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Exporting the CAD model to an IFC file
A CAD model is exported to the IFC 2x2 or 2x3 format. Figure 4.1 shows a 3D
model from one level of the Hotellviken-Ringvägen project in ArchiCAD.
Most of today’s common 3D CAD systems, such as ArchiCAD, AutoCAD
ADT 2008, Revit, Microstation and Tekla are IFC-certified. One disadvantage
noticed when exporting IFC files is that they often become very large. Sizes
between 10 and 100 Mb are very common. There are tools becoming available
that optimize the IFC model, thereby reducing the file size and required model
loading time (Solibri 2007).
Figure 4.2: An IFC file sample in text format
Converting the IFC file to a XML file
The IFC file format is open and free for use but is quite complex. Therefore a
converter, the IFCConverter (IFCDLL), was developed in order to extract only
necessary information to a more readable format for the VR programs. The
main part of the extracted data in the VIPP I project contained the graphical
information stored in the IFC file, but in the VIPP II project we will also
address the non-graphical part of the information.
The IFCConverter is a C++ developed dynamic link library that has the
following functionality:
1. Opens and reads IFC files. This is accomplished with help of an “IFC
Toolbox” from Eurostep (Eurostep 2007). The use of the toolbox is
straightforward. Every class in the IFC reference is mapped to a class in the
toolbox.
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2. Exporting parts of the IFC file to a more readable XML format, called
VIPPXML.
Figure 4.3: XML file sample
Importing the XML file into the VR environment
A stand-alone program, the IFCLoader, was developed to enable different
applications to import data from IFC model files; in other words not only the
VR applications that are used in the VIPP project (i.e. Neo and Ceco Visual),
but also other VR applications that are available on the market, Figure 4.4. The
IFC Loader in combination with the IFCConverter allows for an easy
integration of IFC model data in different kinds of 3D and 4D applications.
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Figure 4.4: The IFC model is converted to VIPPXML using the IFCConverter.
The file is loaded in VR-applications using the IFCLoader.
Figure 4.1 shows how Ceco Visual has imported the XML file generated by the
IFCConverter. Figure 4.5 shows how Neo has imported a number of CAD
objects using IFC.
Figure 4.5: Import of CAD objects to Neo using IFC converted to VIPPXML.
The object tree on the left shows the global unique ID numbers of
the IFC objects.
CAD-application A
IFC-certified
CAD-application B
IFC-certified
CAD-application C
IFC-certified
IFC file
IFC file
IFC file
IFCConverter
IFC to VIPPXML
VIPPXML
VIPPXML
VIPPXML
VR-application X
Load VIPPXML with
IFCLoader
VR-application Y
Load VIPPXML with
IFCLoader
VR-application Z
Load VIPPXML with
IFCLoader
ABC
ABC
ABC
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Figure 4.6 shows the IFC import of four building storeys from the Ringvägen
project in ArchiCAD and subsequently in Neo. The figure shows that the
handling of geometry for openings needs further adjustment. In addition, no
textures or lighting are present in the model, which limits the direct use for
visualisation purposes. As a result, IFC import to Neo is considered to be
applicable in early stages of projects for volume studies and early design
models. For more sophisticated visualisation one is still dependent on manual
processing of the geometry in dedicated visualisation software, such as 3D
studio max.
Figure 4.6: Architectural model in ArchiCAD (left) and the same model in Neo
4 by Sightline (right)
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5 METHODOLOGY & PROCESSES
5.1 Recommendations and requirements for the design process
The 3D design process differs from the traditional 2D design process.
However, it was found from the experiences by the different design disciplines
in the VIPP project that the difference was not that radical. Most technical and
methodological issues could be solved during the project. The main difference
is that fact that the delivery from the 3D design process is not limited to 2D
drawings. The 2D drawings are a product of the 3D design and not the primary
design working material. The 3D modelling process also results in 3D models
of different levels of details, including different types of non-graphical data.
Start with a joint workshop
Since the 3D models are not only used by the designers themselves to generate
2D drawings, but also by different members within and outside the project
team, it is important to set a clear scope and purpose of the 3D models early in
the project.
This is best done by organizing a workshop in which the different uses of the
model are defined, including the different steps, format and frequency to
deliver the 3D models. In this workshop all design disciplines should
participate, but also the users of the models, such as the project schedulers, cost
estimators, VR consultants, etc., in order to communicate what to expect from
the models later on in the project.
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Trail
After having defined the requirements for the models one should test these
requirements before the actual design process starts, by for example creating a
number of test files that are distributed according to the defined procedures that
are set up for the project.
Document the delivery requirements
Requirements for the delivery of 3D models are not replacing the requirements
for 2D drawings, but are rather a supplement to these requirements. CAD
manuals used for 2D CAD delivery can therefore be used to a large extent to
define the delivery of 3D CAD models. Examples of requirements for 3D CAD
models are:
Definition of 3D models (i.e. model files)
x By building, or
x By building storey
Format
x IFC 2x2 or 2x3, and
x DWG 2004 or 2007
Coordinate system
x All objects shall have an exact X, Y, Z coordinate (mm.)
Layers
x All 2D information is hidden
Metadata
All objects carry property sets that include:
x A littra (type definition, such as V1, V6)
x Definition of object type (door, window, wall)
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x The following parameters, for walls, slabs and structural members:
Length (mm), height (mm), thickness (mm), area netto (m2), area brutto
(m2), volume (m3).
x A checkmark stating that all included object properties are checked by
the modeller
x A classification code, if supported by the CAD program, according to
BSAB 96
x A Global Unique ID
DWG-specific
For DWG files there are a number of additional requirements that apply to the
use of block in block references, external references, etc. Many CAD and VR
programs do not handle blocks and external references as efficient as Autodesk
applications and in general it is recommended not to distribute 3D models that
include these types of definitions.
IFC-specific
IFC files consist of classes specific for certain building types. A wall object is
for example automatically mapped to an IFC wall class, including the
properties that are set for the specific wall objects. In certain cases the IFC
schema does not support the objects in a 3D model. This especially applies to
windows and doors, or to non-standard geometries, such as curved walls. The
IFC model uses a proxy class to include the object in the model. A proxy can
be seen as an information package. An IFC proxy cannot be fully read by other
IFC compliant applications. The geometry appears often correctly, but the
object properties are inaccessible. To avoid the use of proxies one can:
x Use 3D objects that are IFC adjusted, from for example an IFC standard
object library.
x Map 3D objects when exporting objects to a specific IFC class.
An additional requirement that can be made for IFC export is the use of Global
Unique IDs (GUID) and so-called BREPs. Global Unique IDs are necessary in
order to be able to version different model objects. BREPs are packages for
geometric data in the IFC model.
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Model manager
It is recommended to appoint a model manager that assists the different
designers with recommendations and tips for the modelling work. The model
manager is also the one that specifies the CAD manuals, distributes templates
and libraries, and the one that collects the different design models during the
design review process. Specification for the role of a model manager have
earlier been discussed in the preceding ITstomme project (Jongeling 2005).
5.2 Modelling methodology
Autodesk-specific
Most AutoCAD-based applications, such as ADT and MagiCAD, work with
separate model files for every building storey linked together using a so-called
project navigator. This does not apply to Autodesk’s Revitt applications. The
model files are by default all placed at 0-level by the applications as a result of
requirements for display representation when creating 2D drawings from these
files. The 2D or 3D representation of objects depends on where the application
cuts through an object and from what angle the object is viewed (e.g. top, SW
isometric, etc). In some cases, when the designer has elevated a building storey
to the required Z-level for model delivery, the objects dissappear from the
model-view due to incorrect cut-height definitions for a specific view (e.g. top
view). It was found during the VIPP project that many designers are not aware
of this behaviour by their AutoCAD-based applications.
The designer has the option to model at correct Z-level from start or to work at
a default 0-level and elevate the models when they are ready for distribution.
x The advantage of working with the correct Z-level is that no separate
elevated DWGs have to be made. The disadvantage is that the application
reasons from 0-level for all its operations in a model, which can be
impractical when performing certain modelling operations, such as creating
openings in walls, etc.
x The advantage of working at the default 0-level is that the application is
designed to operate from this level, including all display configurations,
modelling tools, etc. The disadvantage is the fact that the models have to be
elevated before they are distributed and that all the elevations in the
modelling process are relative to the building storey-level.
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It was found that certain designers tend to divide the model in the way 2D-
drawings are defined in order to directly generate drawings from a building
storey in for example 2D reflected representation. Reflective representation is
the representation in 2D-drawings used by structural engineers that shows the
storey on top of the storey that one is placed on. One is looking down in a
mirror and up to the storey above in other words. This representation is
favoured by workers on site, which allows them to work with only one drawing
when setting up the formwork, etc, for the storey above their current storey.
However, the 3D modelling applications are not design to be operated this way.
They are designed to be used according to typical architectural practice, by
placing walls on a slab per building storey and not the other way around.
Before one can begin to generate drawings, the model objects has to be
assembled first (i.e. different constructs including vertical and horizontal
objects) in a view that allows one to subsequently generate a reflected
representation. Constructs that make up a model are best grouped by vertical
and horizontal elements per building storey. To generate a drawing of a slab X
on top of floor Y, one creates a view including construct vertical Y, construct
horizontal X and construct vertical X.
IMPORTANT: It was found that creating horizontal 2D-sections in ADT is
resulting in incorrect dimension values. It is therefore recommended to directly
add dimensions in a generated 3D-view (i.e. a 3D model, viewed from TOP
view - direct or reflected).
ArchiCAD-specific
ArchiCAD typically works with one model database (i.e. a file) per project.
The advantage is that there is a single original of the 3D model with its
generated 2D design information, compared to the collection of linked files
typical for other types of design applications.
ArchiCAD has the possibility to exchange files in IFC format. However, in
certain cases exports of DWG files are required. When exporting DWG files
from ArchiCAD the objects are converted to DWG meshes that are difficult to
work with in other applications. The files are geometrically correct, but contain
too many triangles to be of practical use.
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In order for other designers to use these DWG files it is recommended that
those objects are isolated by the designers that are relevant for the task at hand.
Practically this means that the designer hides all objects other than those
necessary. This can be done by:
x Open the ArchiCAD generated DWG model separately in ADT
x Hide the objects that are not necessary to display for a specific modelling
task, for example by using the hide/isolate object command
x Reference the file into the ADT project.
This process is tiresome and prone to errors. With the release of the new
Autodesks 2008 applications that include an IFC interface this process should
be avoided. Instead, IFC files can be used to facilitate the distribution of 3D
models between the different design applications.
It was found during the VIPP project that large coordinate values can be
problematic when working with ArchiCAD and subsequently with IFC models.
For example, a model that is located 10 km from the origin is not supported by
ArchiCAD and the IFC format. In order to avoid these types of issues it is
recommended to use a local coordinate system close to origin (zero) for all 3D
models. Alternatively, one can work close to the origin and move the model
after export and import to other applications.
MEP-specific
Mechanical-, Electrical- and Plumbing-design (MEP), is mostly done in
Magicad or Autodesk Building Systems. Most of the consultants using these
applications have been modelling in 3D for a number of years and have
delivered only 2D model information to project stakeholders. Requirements for
3D delivery are therefore not a radical change in their design process. There are
two issues that often surface when discussing MEP design in 3D:
x All objects should have a correct Z-level
x The electrical design in 3D can be limited to cable trays, light fixtures and
other objects that are relevant for interference detection with other designs
in 3D.
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5.3 Delivery of 3D models to VR environments
One of the objectives of the VIPP I project was to develope and use VR
environments that support the IFC format. The IFC interface that has been
developed for Neo and Ceco Visual partly covers the IFC model definition.
Certain object and geometric definitions are not yet supported, but will be part
of the interface. As a result, the delivery of 3D models is still depending on the
use of the .3DS and .DWG format.
Requirements and processes for the delivery and use of 3D models in VR
environments have been formulated during the VIPP I project and are applied
in practice during the VIPP II project. The findings will be reported when
closing the VIPP II project.
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6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
The VIPP I and II project’s main objective is the use of 3D design models in
practice by professionals in a real construction project and to set an example
for other professionals in the construction industry. In order to achieve this
goal a number of system developments have been set up and implemented, but
the focus has been the facilitation of the practical use of the 3D design models.
The use of VR environments allowed us to transfer the 3D models from typical
CAD users to non-CAD users, such as the project manager, sales agents,
project planners and construction workers.
By means of defining scenarios for the early and detailed design review
process and for production scheduling purposes we have been able to show the
value of 3D models for a number of different applications and project
stakeholders. The main benefits of using 3D that we have found during the
VIPP project, and that are listed in Chapter 4, can be divided in:
x Facilitation of the communication process with project stakeholders. We
have shown that vizualization facilitates the communication process from
the early design, throughout detailed design into the production process.
The visual value of the 3D models allows stakeholders to quickly
understand the project and to develop a common picture.
x Increased process efficiency. For example, by using 3D models we were
able to improve the construction scheduling and communication process.
x Higher quality of the process. For example, 3D models allowed us to
efficiently conduct detailed design reviews by checking different design
models with each other.
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We have no quantitative evidence of the benefits of using 3D models in
practice. Instead we have tried to describe the process and the resulting
experienced values of creating and using the 3D models in practice. The next
step would be to quantify the benefits of using the 3D models.
The VIPP project shows that the 3D design process is different from the
traditional 2D design process, but not radically different. The 3D design
process results in a number of deliveries of which the 2D design is one of them.
We found that it is critical to define early and clearly in a project for what
purposes the 3D models will be produced. This definition also includes
specifications for the delivery process of the models, including the structure,
contents, format, frequency and quality of delivery.
The time required to create 3D and 4D models was not considered an obstacle
for designers and the project team and it was seen as a surprise how little time
it actually took to create the different models, Table 1.
Task Days Comments
Structural 3D model, version 1 3,0 3D model based on 2D drawings
Structural 3D model, version 2 1,5
Further detailing of the model
including concrete pours, etc.
3D model of the construction site 2,0 Partly based on 2D drawings
Preparing schedule for linking 1,0 Adding level of detail and structure
Linking the schedule to models 1,0 Including adjusting the schedule
Total 8,5
Table 1: Time to create the 3D and 4D models
The total time that was required to establish the 4D model is 8,5 days of work,
of which parts of the work have been performed by the site manager himself.
The structural design was modelled in 3D from 2D drawings, but in the
ongoing VIPP II project the structural design is directly made in 3D from
which 2D drawings are derived.
During VIPP I the use of the VR model and the design process were rather two
parallel processes where the use of the VR model benefited the design process.
55
The VR model was a number of times renewed but there were no procedures in
place that stated how, when and by whom all the models were to be delivered,
updated and dissiminated. These processes were defined during the VIPP I
project and are now applied in the VIPP II project. The findings will be
reported when closing the VIPP II project.
The IFC interface that has been developed for Neo and Ceco Visual is
extended during the VIPP II project to cover a larger part of the IFC model
definition, including non-graphical data.
In order to achieve the full practical use within the VIPP project we have tried
to use readily available technology, but we have also implemented new
technology in order to facilitate the transfer of 3D CAD models between
different design applications and to VR environments. Our objective was to
keep the definition of use cases, requirements and processes concrete in order
to maximize the practical applicability of the VIPP project for other
professional users in the construction industry. The practical approach might
have compromised the scientific level of the project work, but finding
workarounds when theory and practice disagree is part of the implementation
of new methods and tools in every industry. Therefore, we believe that the
VIPP project’s results can stimulate the industry to start using 3D models and
VR environments in building projects so best practices can be established.
References
57
References
Akbas, R. (2004). "Geometry-based modeling and simulation of construction
processes," PhD Thesis, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Stanford University, Stanford, USA, 150 pp.
Aouad, G., Child T., Marir F. and Brandon P. (1997) "Developing a Virtual Reality
Interface for an Integrated Project Database Environment." In (eds)
Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Information
Visualization (IV’97), London, UK,
Bazjanac, V. (2004) "Virtual building environments (VBE) - applying information
modeling to buildings." In A. Dikbas, Scherer, R. (eds) ECPPM 2004 - eWork
and eBusiness in Architecture, Engineering and Construction, Istanbul,
Turkey, 41-48.
Eurostep. (2007). "IFC Toolbox." www.eurostep.com.
Graphisoft, Inc. (2002). "The Graphisoft Virtual Building: Bringing the Information
Model from Concept into Reality - Graphisoft Whitepaper."
www.graphisoft.com.
IAI. (2007). "International Alliance for Interoperability." http://www.iai-
international.org.
Jongeling, R. (2006). "A Process Model for Work-Flow Management in Construction.
Combined use of location-based scheduling and 4D CAD," Division of
Structural Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Luleå
University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden, 191.
VIPP
58
Jongeling, R., Emborg, E., Asp, M., and Olofsson, T. . (2005). "Modelling and
Simulations of Cast in Place Concrete Construction Using N-Dimensions."
Research Report 2005:18, Department of Civil and Environmental
Engineering, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, Sweden.
Koo, B., and Fischer, M. (2000). "Feasibility Study of 4D CAD in Commercial
Construction." Journal of Construction Engineering and Management,
126(4), 251-260.
Lee, A., Marshall-Ponting, A.j., Aouad, G., Wu, S., Koh, I., Fu, C., Cooper, R., Betts,
M., Kagioglou, M., Fischer, M. (2003). "Developing a Vision of nD-Enabled
Construction - Construction IT Report." University of Salford, UK.
Li, H., Ma, Z., Shen, Q., and Kong, S. (2003). "Virtual experiment of innovative
construction operations." Automation in Construction, 12(5), 561-575.
McKinney, K., and Fischer, M. (1998). "Generating, evaluating and visualizing
construction with 4D-CAD." Automation in Construction, 7(1998), 433-447.
Solibri, Inc. (2007). "Solibri IFC Optimizer." www.solibri.com.
Tanyer, A.M., Aouad, G. (2005). "Moving beyond the fourth dimension with an IFC-
based single project database." Automation in Construction, 14(1), 15-32.
Woksepp, S., Jongeling, R., and Olofsson, T. (2005) "Applying Virtual Reality and
4D CAD models in the scheduling process of a large pelletizing plant." In N.
Dawood (eds) CONVR - Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual
Reality, Durham, England

TECHNICAL REPORT

VIPP
VISUALISERING I PROJEKTERING OCH PRODUKTION VISUALIZATION IN DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION

Rogier Jongeling, Martin Asp, Daniel Thall, Pontus Jakobsson, Thomas Olofsson

Luleå 2007
Division of Structural Engineering Department of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering Luleå University of Technology SE - 971 87 LULEÅ www.ltu.se/shb construction.project.ltu.se

We acknowledge the time and input from the project participants and especially like to thank Magnus Nordström for application of the project work in practice. Luleå University of Technology Martin Asp. and is the first progress report of the VIPP II project (SBUF project no. SBUF project no. Luleå University of Technology III . 11693).Preface This report completes the VIPP I project (Visualisering i Projektering och Produktion. Sightline Vision AB Thomas Olofsson. 11843). The VIPP I project started in June 2005 and was continued under the name VIPP II from June 2006 on. The financial support has been provided by the SBUF. Ceco Interactive Design AB Pontus Jakobsson. VIPP II is planned to be completed in 2007. June 2007 Rogier Jongeling. Luleå. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview and update of the developments in the project and initiated activities. JM AB Daniel Thall. The work in the VIPP I and II project has been conducted in close cooperation with a number of industry partners during two construction projects by JM AB: Hotellviken-Ringvägen and Hotellviken-Restaurangholmen in Saltsjöbaden.

.

Abstract The purpose of the VIPP project is to improve the efficiency and quality of the design review and production scheduling process by using VR models based on 3D models from the design process. It is time-consuming and complicated to keep a VR model up-to-date as a result of differences in data structures and formats between the 3D CAD applications and VR applications. planning and construction is very limited. The VIPP project aims to facilitate the transfer of 3D CAD models to VR applications. The VIPP project shows that the 3D design process is different from the traditional 2D design process. However. V . but the use of these models during phases such as detailed design. Visualization is increasingly used in early stages of development projects to facilitate communication processes. it was found that it is critical to define early and clearly in a project for what purposes the 3D models will be produced. but the main objective is to set a true example for the practical use of 3D models by professionals in the construction industry. The VIPP project shows in a real construction project that VR models are beneficial for design review and construction scheduling purposes. The time required to create 3D and 4D models for the industry case study project was surprisingly little. but not radically different. increased process efficiency and higher quality of the design and construction process outcome. By means of defining scenarios for the early and detailed design review process and for production scheduling purposes the project shows benefits that can be divided in: facilitation of the communication process with project stakeholders.

4D CAD. Design. Construction VI . requirements and processes concrete in order to maximize the practical applicability of the VIPP project for other professional users in the construction industry. a neutral exchange format for building model information. The objective of the VIPP project was to keep the definition of use cases. but we believe that the concrete results from the VIPP project can stimulate the industry to start using 3D models and VR environments in real building projects. is used to capture and transfer graphical and non-graphical data from 3D CAD models to VR applications. 3D CAD. Key words: Visualization. An IFC interface was developed for two VR applications in the VIPP project.VIPP IFC. but is set up in such a way that other VR applications also can benefit from the developed IFC interface. The practical approach might have compromised the scientific level of the project work. Virtual Reality.

Global Unique IDentification number Heating Ventilation Air-Conditioning International Alliance for Interoperability Industry Foundation Classes IFC schema version 2 with extension 2 IFC schema version 2 with extension 3 VII .Abbreviations Abbreviations 3D CAD 4D CAD ADT AEC BIM CAD DLL DWG GUID HVAC IAI IFC IFC 2x2 IFC 2x3 Three-dimensional Computer Aided Design 3D CAD integrated with schedule data (time) Architectural DeskTop Architecture. Engineering and Construction Building Information Model Computer Aided Design Dynamic-Link Library Drawing file developed and used by Autodesk Inc.

VIPP IT MEP nD PIO SBUF VBE VDC VRML WBS XML Information Technology Mechanical. Virtual Building Environment Virtual Design and Construction Virtual Reality Mark up Language Work Breakdown Structure eXtensible Mark up Language VIII . Electrical. in which n is a number Project Information Officer Svenska Byggbranschens UtvecklingsFond. Plumbing n-Dimensional. Development Fund of the Swedish Construction Industry.

............................................. V ABBREVIATIONS .................................15 2.................................................................1 Virtual Design and Construction....................III ABSTRACT.........................................2 Aim......................................... VII TABLE OF CONTENTS.............................2 Product Modelling................................................................23 3....................15 2............................................................................................................................................12 1..............................................................3 Virtual Reality ..................................................20 APPLICATIONS IN VIPP I....................................................................................35 DEVELOPMENT.1 The need for an IFC interface .....................................................................19 2.................................................................................................................................................................40 4..................1 Background ........................................................40 4...................................................................41 2 3 4 IX ........................25 3.........2 Scenario 1: Design review..........................................................................11 1.......................................................................................................11 1.4 Production Simulation........................18 2...................2 Development of the IFC interface....................IX 1 INTRODUCTION ..............................................................1 Scenarios ......3 Scenario 2: Production simulation .................................13 THEORY .......................................................3 Method .......................................23 3..............Table of Contents Table of Contents PREFACE .........................

..........................................1 Recommendations and requirements for the design process ................2 Modelling methodology..................... 46 5........3 Delivery of 3D models to VR environments ..VIPP 5 METHODOLOGY & PROCESSES.................................. 46 5.............................................. 49 5................................... 53 6 REFERENCES ........................ 57 X ................................................ 52 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION ........................................

Design reviews are currently mainly carried out using overlay of 2D drawings that are produced by different design disciplines in projects. One of the main complicating factors is the fact that it is time-consuming and complicated to keep a VR model up-to-date with all revisions in a project. Construction scheduling and the actual construction process are also strongly relying on 2D drawings for information exchange and communication. Numerous reports have been written about the shortcomings of using 2D drawings in construction. structural engineers and MEP-consultants.1 Background 3D visualization is increasingly used in early stages of commercial and public development projects as an instrument to inform and align project stakeholders on the relation of planned artefacts and the built environment. but rather focuses on the possibilities offered by the increased use of 3D CAD tools by architects.1 INTRODUCTION 1. 11 . The use of VR models during the actual development project in phases such as detailed design. As a result. The VIPP project does not aim to address this issue. most of today’s VR models are one-off products that are created early in a project. the use of these Virtual Reality (VR) models is mainly limited to early stages of projects. Today. planning and construction. 3D models are integrated in virtual environments that allow users to experience and gain an understanding of the physical settings of planned construction projects. planning and construction is very limited. but that are of relatively little use when the project advances into detailed design. when the project is defined and when for example property is sold to investors.

The availability of 3D models from the design process provides an improved basis for the creation of VR models. 2D drawings do no longer have to be converted into 3D models. This is mainly a result of the differences in representation and structuring of information in the 3D models. As a result of the conversion and publishing process there is no direct link between design data in the 3D CAD system and design data in the VR environment.2 Aim The purpose of the VIPP project is to improve the efficiency and quality of the design review and production scheduling process by using VR models based on 3D design models. 1. called IFC. The VIPP project aims to develop the following areas in order to arrive at the practical use of 3D design models and VR environments throughout the building process: Enable the transfer of 3D design model information to VR environments by developing an IFC interface for two different VR systems. The application of IFC can possibly facilitate the data transfer between 3D design systems and VR environments. However. which makes the process time-consuming. which limits the possibilities to manage changes in the 3D design models. The model standard. For every update of the 3D models one has to convert and publish the information from a 3D CAD program to a VR environment. including a change in working methods. 12 . thereby significantly reducing conversion errors and the time to create a VR model. changes in the 3D design models still require a number of time-consuming and repetitive steps to update the VR model with the latest 3D design information. As soon as one of the drawings changes the VR model has to be changed manually.VIPP In a traditional 2D-based design process one is forced to create a 3D model from 2D drawings when creating a VR model. A promising development is the definition of a standard exchange format for building model information. provides mechanisms to capture graphical and non-graphical data from 3D models. but the use will also imply a number of prerequisites and changes for the systems and for users of these systems. The main objective is therefore to use 3D design models in practice by design managers. construction planners and construction managers. prone to errors and costly.

uses the Hotellviken-Ringvägen project as a case study project. which had a more technical character. 13 . The development of Restaurangholmen comprises the construction of four residential apartment blocks connected by a garage and a separate spa centre. The second part concerns application in practice and analyses from the practical application.1. Method - 1. Figure 1. Compared to the ITstomme project. uses the HotellvikenRestaurangholmen project as a case study project. for the purpose of facilitating the generation of VR models and for the use of nongraphical design data in design review. The Hotellviken-Marinan project was used as a case study in the completed ITstomme project (SBUF project no. The first VIPP project. The first part concerns a pre-study and system development. Both case study projects are part of the Hotellviken project that in total counts four successvie subprojects. structural engineers and HVAC consultants. 11333. Establish and apply routines for 3D model-based design reviews and communication of production planning information. (Jongeling 2005)). VIPP II. The second VIPP project. planning and construction processes. The fundamental ideas and developments from the ITstomme project were used as a starting point when the VIPP project was initiated. The Ringvägen project comprises the construction of 62 apartments in four apartment blocks.- Define requirements and methods for the information delivery by architects. The VIPP project uses two industry case study projects around which the main components of the project are implemented and tested. VIPP I. connected by two parking garages. the focus in VIPP is the application of technology in practice by construction professionals and the development of working methods for these professionals.3 The VIPP I and II projects have been divided into two parts.

Since the VIPP II project is still ongoing at the time of this report. Chapter 3 .VIPP Figure 1. 14 . The following chapter provides a theoretical basis for the developments and applications within the VIPP I project.5 gives a description of the main results of the system development and the case study applications. only the results from VIPP I are presented. The architectural 3D model is integrated in an environment showing the surroundings of the project.1: Hotellviken-Ringvägen.

a building) and the characteristics of the process to build and operate the product. The application of Virtual Design and Construction techniques in such a building process results in a large variety of different applications and analyses. The organization of the process is as important as the applied technology in the process.g. A project typically consists of a number of parallel and interrelated decision processes. 2. including a section on VR and construction simulation. simulating and predicting the quality of the end product and the characteristics of the process to build and 15 . Both the product and the processes must be virtually designed and simulated.1 presents a simplified outline of a concurrent property development process including the main decision-making processes and decisions points (DP). The following sections describe and exemplify the Virtual Design and Construction process. but is not limited to these tools.2 THEORY The VIPP project applies 3D design models for a variety of purposes by using VR environments. Figure 2. in order to be able to truly evaluate different design and construction alternatives against project objectives.1 Virtual Design and Construction The Virtual Design and Construction process aims to analyse. before construction commences. simulate and predict the quality of the end product (e. A more comprehensive description is given in the PhD thesis by Rogier Jongeling (Jongeling 2006). Each of these applications aims to facilitate the decision-making process by (partially) analysing. The Virtual Design and Construction process relies on the use of CAD and other IT systems. The process of developing and applying these models is referred as Virtual Design and Construction (VDC).

Building perm it DP 40% sold DP M arket Define & sell project. including a schematic representation of the decision-making process. Figure 2. analysis & sim ulation and detailed design Construct Cost estim ation. buildability management Figure 2. m anage project. sell or rent out flats & offices Design Project definition.1: Outline of a property development project.VIPP operate the product.2 shows a number of Virtual Design and Construction methods that can be applied to facilitate the design of the product and process. follow -up Figure 2. production plan. supply chain. The dotted line represents the main decisions between a number of concurrent keyprocesses in the property development process (Jongeling 2006).2: Applications of Virtual Design and Construction techniques in a property development project facilitate the communication in the decision-making process (Jongeling 2006). DP Architectural design Building approval Marketing Structural design DP Installation design Facility management MARKET PROCESS O PE R A T I O N O PE R A T I O N DESIGN PROCESS CONSTRUCTION PROCESS Life cycle cost Cost estimation Indoor quality budget Procurement planning Production planning Design check Supply chain collisions. 16 .

- - - - The applications of different Virtual Design and Construction methods are dependent on each other and should be applied in an iterative manner in which several analyses are repeated until a satisfying solution is found. Visualisation of the overall design improves communication and clarification. resulting in less complaints and misunderstandings of the layout and effects on the neighbouring environment. improves the buildability of the design. bill of quantity take-off. such as windows. can be made earlier with lower prices as a result. The iterative and interdependent use of the Virtual Design and Construction applications puts high demands on the definition and structure of the data that supports the various analyses.Examples of the potential benefits of the application of Virtual Design and Construction techniques in a property development process can be summarized as follows: The process of obtaining a building permit process becomes faster and more efficient. less re-work on the construction site. Integrated design and production planning (4D).g. Handover of an AS Built model for e. the site layout and work-flow on the construction site with less waste during construction as a result. Selective price tags on attractive flats can more easily be determined by the developer. The sale process improves in early stages of the project. Early procurement of critical components with long delivery times. Life cycle cost can be estimated early and the design can be changed to meet design targets. Potential customers can get a visual impression of the layout and the view from the flat before they sign the contract. 17 . Integrated design. facility management increases the value for the owner. Integrated structural and installations design leads to fewer collisions in the design and hence. cost estimation and supply chain management reduces the waste related to waiting for and storage of components and material on site.

Autodesk. which may also contain information about the building’s construction.VIPP 2. These types of requirements speed up the definition of the standard. have drawn serious attention by actors in the construction industry and IFC has moved beyond its academic and limited use. The IAI defines interoperability as an environment in which computer programmes can retrieve data automatically. such as doors. which are utilised throughout the building industry. but also planning information and data on construction costs. Bentley. The interest in work by the IAI on IFC is gaining momentum. Two other concepts that are often referred to are nD modelling and a virtual building environment (VBE). Similar requirements are starting to be made by large clients in the Norway. A Virtual Building Environment (VBE) is a “place” where building industry project staffs can get help in creating BIMs and in the use of virtual buildings (Bazjanac 2004). This is done by specifying how the ‘objects’ (products and processes) that a construction project consists of. regardless of the type of software or source of data (IAI 2007). operations and maintenance (Graphisoft 2002). Nemetschek and many other organisations. under the name of Building Smart. such as Graphisoft. A virtual building is a BIM. In Denmark for example. should 18 . Product models can contain both product and process data of a building project. We define BIM and nD models as (building) product models. for public building projects over 40DKK delivery of IFC models is required. material definitions. management. The eventual goal of the IAI is to develop product data models for sharing information between software tools. The IAI is an open international consortium of CAD vendors. The worldwide seminars organized by the IAI. walls. An nD model is an extension of the BIM. such as geometry. the deployment in software and the practical use by industry professionals. deployed in software. which incorporates multi-aspects of design information required at each stage of the lifecycle of a building facility (Lee 2003).2 Product Modelling A product model is an academic and technical term to denote a Building Information Model (BIM). Several large public and commercial clients start to require information delivery in their projects by using IFC.. or an nD model. Finland and in the US. etc. A BIM is a computer model database of building design information. rooms. One of the main developed standardized schemas for building product models is the Industry Foundation Classification (IFC) by the International Alliance for Interoperability (IAI 2007).

The VR environments are easy to use and allow non-CAD users to access and interact with 3D models. The main differences between 3D models in CAD systems and 3D models in VR environments. The term ‘class’ is used to describe a range of things that have common characteristics. which recognises the wall object and the accompanying specifications. as mentioned earlier. Compared to a 3D model in a 3D design system the VR model includes additional definitions for surfaces and spaces for the purpose of photorealistic representation. In addition. Each specification is called a ‘class’. The classes defined by the IAI are. A wall object created in one application can be exchanged with another IFC-compliant application. planning and production (Aouad 1997). VR models are typically created by using 3D CAD tools and dedicated 3D visualization software packages from where graphics are published to a VR environment. The objects have a global unique identification number (GUID). The use of these tools significantly increases the number of potential users and uses of 3D models. These VR environments are often based on technology from the computer game industry and work accordingly. A shortcoming of the IFC standard is the fact that there is no support for multiple versions and representations on individual object-level. For instance. with for example similar types of navigation modes and representations of the environment.be represented electronically. Door and window are names of classes. A building objects such as a wall is represented as a solid box in a CAD system that can have definitions and materials assigned for its contents and surfaces. which allows one to keep track of individual objects.3 Virtual Reality VR is a spatial and communicating medium well-suited to facilitate collaboration and understanding about the construction and the processes needed to erect it (Woksepp 2005). apart from differences in navigation and accessibility. every door has the characteristic of opening to allow entry to a space. 2. termed ‘Industry Foundation Classes’ or IFCs. Even though VR today primarily is used for visualizing the final product there is also a great potential to use it as a universal interface applications used during design. The same wall is often represented as just a surface in a VR environment in order to minimize the required computing power when exploring the VR model. are the definition and representation of objects. every window has the characteristic of transparency so that it can be seen through. objects that can be identified as individuals in 3D design systems are 19 .

referred to as production model. which is done by restructuring the design model according to the projects Work Breakdown Schema (WBS) and by adding and modifying 3D objects.VIPP often grouped in a different way in a VR environment. The method combines 3D design models with construction schedules and represent the construction process over time (McKinney 1998). The 4D CAD model provides the user with a clear and direct picture of the schedule intent and helps to quickly and clearly communicate this schedule to different stakeholders in a project. It is also used to identify parts of the project that can be sub-contracted. in this respect defined as a specific type of VR. VR models are often made once in early stages of a project. 4D CAD models provide planners with a spatial insight in the scheduling process of construction operations. 4D CAD models are typically created by linking building components from 3D CAD models with activities that follow from CPM schedules. As a result. can be 20 . The most common technique to restructure a 3D model is to add existing 3D objects to CAD layers representing the desired level of the WBS. These differences in definition and representation of objects currently limit a direct transfer of 3D design models into VR models. but are subsequently not updated and lose their value as an instrument to inform and communicate design and construction issues. Building components that are related to activities that are ongoing are highlighted. 4D CAD models allow project participants to simulate and analyze what-if scenarios before commencing work execution on site (McKinney 1998). Tanyer 2005).g. e. 2. which enables resource loading of schedules and cost estimations at different level of detail. promotes improved understanding of construction operations (Li 2003). The resulting production adapted CAD model. (Koo 2000. In order to use the 3D design models for production purposes one has modify the design model. Construction projects have unique spatial configurations and the spatial nature of projects is very important for planning decisions (Akbas 2004). A WBS establishes a common frame of reference for a construction project and divides the project into a hierarchical structure of manageable parts or work-packages. which is not clearly and effectively provided by using 2D drawings in combination with CPM schedules or Line-of-Balance diagrams. 4D CAD.4 Production Simulation 4D CAD is a method for communication and simulation of construction scheduling information.

shoring.further refined by adding objects specifically used for production purposes. etc. transport ways. equipment. form work. 21 . such as the lay out of the construction site.

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The model by the architect is updated.1 Scenarios The application of VR models in the Hotellviken-Ringvägen project are defined by two practical scenarios (use cases) that set the scope and ambition for the project. The architectural 3D model is modelled with CAD software and published to a VR environment. 23 . The VR-model can easily be updated with the newer version of the architectural 3D model. by for example repositioning a window frame. Scenario 1: Design review The purpose of use case 1 is to facilitate the design review process by using VR models that are based on 3D design models and that can directly and smoothly be updated from revised 3D design models.3 APPLICATIONS IN VIPP I 3.

The construction planning is created with typical project planning software (e. where possible. Especially since the applications in the two use cases are supposed to exchange information using the IFC format. including the layout of the site. Primavera) The structural 3D model is linked to the construction planning which is imported to the VR-environment The resulting 4D-model can be used to show the ongoing construction activities per construction day The construction schedule can be updated. without losing links to the construction schedule. Plancon.VIPP Scenario 2: Production simulation The purpose of use case 2 is to bridge the gap between the design and production process by making 3D design information easily accessible for production simulation purposes. The structural 3D model is published to a VR-environment. 24 .g. cranes and scaffolding. The defined scenarios require the development of working methods and software tools to be fully realized. without losing links to the 3D models The 3D models can be updated. in order not to get stuck in technical developments we decided to conduct the two scenarios using existing software tools that. However. MS Project. The construction site is modelled in 3D. were to be modified along the applications in the case study project. This 3D model is also published to the VRenvironment.

The surroundings of the project.2. Method An architectural 3D model was created in ArchiCAD by the architect of the project and was imported to 3D studio max by using the . vegetation were imported to 3D studio max and were published. 25 .3ds file format. 3. Purpose The first VR model was created to support the early design-making process by the project team and its stakeholders. such as building volumes. The VR model was 4 times updated during the project. It took 15 days to create the surroundings of the project and 5 days to import the architectural model to Neo. together with the modified architectural model to a VR environment called Neo.2 Scenario 1: Design review Scenario 1 was split into two different applications: 1A early design review and 1B detailed design review. including potential buyers of apartments.1 Scenario 1A: Early design review This VR model includes the architectural 3D model and the landscape. landmarks. The following modifications and additions were made by graphical designers in 3D studio max to make the architectural model suitable for visualization: Textures and shading were added to existing objects Objects that are part of the building.3. including vegetation and main landmarks in the vicinity of the project. apartment layout and pricing. but that are not visible were removed Objects with complex geometries were simplified/modified Missing objects and information were added.

With a limited number of small changes. 26 . In case of main design reviews one is forced to update (i.1: Architectural model from Ringvägen in the VR environment Neo Changing the architectural design requires the aforementioned modifications and edits of the architectural 3D model in 3D studio max before the VR model can be updated. the modifications can be made directly in the existing 3D studio max model.VIPP Figure 3. but this procedure causes the design and the visualisation model to get inconsistent.e. replace) the whole 3D studio max model of the architectural 3D model. This way the export and import from ArchiCAD to 3D studio max can be excluded from the process. such as changes in window sizes.

etc. The project manager used the model during design meetings to create a common understanding of the project and to review the architectural design. The project manager is convinced that the use of the VR model has speeded up the process of obtaining permissions. The project manager considered the VR model of great use in this process. The clients used the VR model in the same way and could obtain a direct and photorealistic impression of their potential future home.e. based on early (virtual) impressions of the final product and settings in its surroundings. including price information. Several misplaced walls and windows could be detected by exploring the VR model in Neo. The use of the VR model minimized misunderstandings about the project intent. The VR model was also used to communicate the project to the local government and planning committees in order to facilitate the process to obtain building permits and other permissions. The project manager used the VR model to set the prices for the apartments of the project. The project manager had no experience of CAD systems and could as a result not review the 3D CAD model with ArchiCAD. apartment layout. the sale of apartments before the actual construction). by means of walking and flying around using a game control pad. The manager also believes that it has been a valuable instrument to set specific prices on different apartments. created quickly a common understanding among all stakeholders and gave the decision-makers a professional and serious impression of the project developer. Using the VR model for this purpose was making the 3D design model accessible for non-CAD users. by walking around in the apartments and by inspecting the view from the apartment’s balcony.Results The VR model in Neo was used by a number of stakeholders in different settings. The detected design issues were directly communicated to the architect using the VR model. The project manager believes that the use of the VR model has speeded up the early sales of apartments (i. 27 .

etc. In addition to clients.2: The 3D model in Neo shows the project in its final state when construction is completed and when the site is cleared and landscaped. the VR model was shown to project stakeholders such as cost estimators. such as the site manager. Most of the project stakeholders considered the VR model useful. Figure 3.2.g. politicians.3. planners. since the model showed the final product and not the process to get to the final product. suppliers. The model is not built to show the construction process and the layout of the construction site and is therefore of limited use to support the construction process. considered it of little use for production purposes. which are those objects in the final product that are not visible for the main users of the model (e. etc. Figure 3. but some. 28 . potential buyers of apartments. The 3D model in Neo is stripped from all unnecessary 3D objects.).VIPP Figure 3. the site manager.

3. The VR model is also useful to review the structural design and to check the structural model against the building services model for possible interferences. 29 .Figure 3. The structural design was already completed in 2D when the 3D model was built during the VIPP I project. but an advantage of checking the consistency and completeness of the final structural design. ventilation. structural and HVAC models of the final stage of the Hotellviken project.3: The 3D model in Neo showing the roof of the parking garage from beneath. including heating-.2. and combines the architectural.and plumbing systems. columns. Purpose The purpose of the VR model in the detailed design phase is to better understand and communicate the complex geometry of the structural design for planning the production. This is not optimal from the perspective of the use of VR models for design review processes. walls.2 Scenario 1B: Detailed design review The VR model that was used for the detailed design review includes 3D models from the structural design and building services design. The figure shows the absence of slabs. installations and ramps. During the ongoing VIPP II project the VR model is constantly used and updated along the complete design process.

using a plugin software to AutoCAD ADT. the VR models of the building structural and installations have been constantly used by different stakeholders to understand the building geometry and to communicate design and production issues. in DWG format. The model contained 3D objects. such as walls. The 2D structural design drawings. Results Overall. Using the VR model for this purpose was making the 3D design model accessible for non-CAD users. The main difference between Neo and Ceco Visual is the fact that Neo is built for highend graphics and photorealistic views and Ceco Visual is built to visualize detailed CAD models and accompanying property sets of CAD objects. As mentioned in Scenario 1A: The project manager had no experience of CAD systems and could as a result not review the 3D CAD model with AutoCAD ADT. but the objects were not positioned at a correct Z-level and was therefore corrected along the design review process. The two models were subsequently used by the project manager. were used as a reference in the 3D modeling process to model and position the 3D structural objects. When the modeling process was completed the 3D model was published to a VR environment called Ceco Visual. The 3D structural model was built floor by floor and building by building. slabs and columns. Reinforcement was not modeled in 3D. planner and site manager to review the different design disciplines in 3D using the VR environment Ceco Visual.VIPP Method A 3D structural model was created for Hotellviken-Ringvägen from 2D structural design drawings using AutoCAD Architectural Desktop (ADT). The HVAC model was also published to Ceco Visual via AutoCAD ADT using a 3D object enabler to show MagiCAD objects. such as the project manager. MagiCAD or ArchiCAD. 30 . The HVAC model was created in MagiCAD and was from the start not prepared to be used in the 3D design review. The plugin converts the CAD model to VRML and creates unique entries for each CAD object in a database used by Ceco Visual. The site manager used the models for example to show HVAC contractors how the installations were supposed to be installed on site and checked also the interferences of the installations with the building structure.

architectural. Also. beams. The design review was performed by simply walking and looking around in the buildings and parking garages of Ringvägen. After the design was completed it was reviewed by using the VR model to search for issues that were not obvious in the 3D modelling process. building 10. several instances of openings in concrete slabs were detected that were differently shaped on different drawings. site) and The spatial decomposition of the project (e. column. showing building storey heights differently on different drawings. HVAC. such as floors. A missing column was for example detected in the garage. slabs and walls) Modelling and reviewing the structural design in 3D revealed several inconsistencies. 31 . floor 1. The design was inconsistent. The modelling process itself forced the project team to build the project virtually and was thereby confronted with a number of design issues. The project hierarchy is structured according to: Design disciplines (structural. This was especially the case with 2D-section drawings of the buildings.g. buildings or single objects.Ceco Visual shows the project hierarchically and allows users to partially load and unload the project. It was found in the 3D modelling and 3D review process that: The design was incomplete. Certain objects were missing on 2D drawings. Several of the 2D-drawings did not match.

The model shows clearly a missing concrete column to support a concrete beam. However.4: A capture from the structural 3D model down in the parking garage of Ringvägen.5. The 3D model of the structural design was considered very useful to understand complex sections of the building. The structural design in 3D. including for example reinforcement bars could possibly have avoided a number of design issues that surfaced during the construction work. it gave a clear picture of the connection between the buildings and parking garages. A higher level of detail of the structural design. The concrete beam is highlighted for clarification purposes. The 3D environment was considered a valuable tool by the project manager and site manager to check the design. which in its turn supports the roof slab of the parking garage and the building above. with and possibly even without 3D reinforcement bars could most probably have avoided this 32 . plan assembly procedures and communicate the design to involved production personnel. the reinforcement bars that support prefabricated slabs of balconies between two buildings with different elevations were drawn incorrectly in 2D.VIPP Figure 3. The 3D model did not contain reinforcement bars and contained also simplifications of for example the prefabricated balconies. For example. Figure 3. the possibility to model reinforcement bars to date in 3D is still limited and complicates to some extend the detailed design review process. Especially.

Building 14 Building 10 A Figure 3.5: The balconies between building 10 and 14 are supposed to be supported by the slabs of both building 10 and 14. interferences of the structural model and HVAC model) could be detected. The issue was discovered and solved during the construction work. Especially the position and dimensions of openings for installations in the concrete building structure appeared to be critical points of which a number of ‘collisions’ (e. but due to the difference in elevation that was overlooked in the 2D design the connection to the slab of building 14 cannot easily be made (detail A).g. Modelling the reinforcement bars in 3D would have minimized the risk even further for these types of design mistakes. The review of the HVAC 3D model against the structural 3D model also revealed a number of issues that were overlooked in the 2D review process. without noticing this inconsistency. With design in 3D the cross-sections are derived from the 3D model and directly show the differences in elevations. The 2D design method used by the structural designer made it possible to create an erroneous cross-section of the balconies and slabs.design mistake. but could most probably have been avoided with structural design in 3D from the start of the design process. 33 .

The review process in 3D was mainly performed in the final stages of the design process. One can state that during VIPP I the use of the VR model and the design process were rather two parallel processes where the use of the VR model was of benefit for the design process. seemed to bring in too much of visual information to handle for the designers when an issue was brought up during a meeting. but there were no procedures in place that stated how. the VR model was used for an arbitrarily number of agenda-points of a design meeting. parts of another model transparent. 34 . with solid parts of one model loaded. etc. The figure shows a misplaced opening in a concrete wall for installations. Conducting design reviews in a 3D environment was a new way of working for the designers in the project and it took some time to handle the 3D models in an efficient way to support communication and decision-making during face-to-face meetings.6: Design review of the structural 3D model against the HVAC model.VIPP Figure 3. This has limited the full integration of 3D reviews in the overall design process. For example. Certain views from a specific angle. Several of these types of issues could be detected by using the VR model. updated and dissiminated. The VR model was renewed a number of times. but not all. when and by whom all the models were to be delivered.

e. Method The VR model of the structural design was used as a basis for the production model.3 Scenario 2: Production simulation The VR model created for production simulation consists of the structural design model. such as the division of slabs into multiple concrete pours. The structural design model was modified in AutoCAD ADT to make the model suitable for production planning and simulation purposes. 35 . such as lattice girder (plattbärlag) elements. a simplified model of the construction site’s landscape. resulting in a production model: Objects were added. Objects were modified. The modified structural design model (i. Purpose The VR model that was created for production simulation is aimed to bridge the gap between the design and production process by making 3D design information easily accessible for review of production plan and communication of the production process at the construction site.3. the site layout and building site objects. the production model) was subsequently republished from AutoCAD ADT to Ceco Visual.

material storages areas. scaffolding. All models were published from AutoCAD ADT to Ceco Visual.VIPP Figure 3. 36 . by using 2D drawings from the geotechnical consultants and from the site manager. 3D objects were created for the main building site objects. The resulting 4D model was the ready for use on the construction site. transport routes. such as cranes. who had created a 2D drawing of the site layout. etc. In Ceco Visual the site manager linked the planning information to the respective “production-adjusted” 3D objects from the various 3D models. When changes occurred in the planning the site manager updated the 4D model with the new scheduling information. The site manager created a detailed production schedule using MS project and exported the planning information to Ceco Visual using MS project’s built-in XML export. The site was modelled in 3D in AutoCAD ADT.7: The structural 3D model was further detailed to make the model suitable for production planning and simulation purposes in 4D.

The detailed 4D model required further detailing of the structural design model and construction schedule. The level of detail of the 4D model was increased at a number of selected instances of the 4D simulation in order to provide more detailed instructions for specific assembly operations.8: The 4D model integrates the structural model and the project schedule in one environment. showing day-by-day the ongoing activities at the construction site. At this particular section in the project different types of work crews were involved in a number of different operations that had to be executed in one specific assembly order.Figure 3. 37 . The site manager established a detailed 4D model in order to understand. As an example the connection between the garage roof and surrounding buildings can be given. set up and plan for these construction tasks. The detailed 4D model also required specific model views to be linked into the 4D model to allow the user to move in the model from one task to another showing those objects relevant to the task at hand.

VIPP

Results The 4D model was shown during the complete construction process on a computer in the main meeting room at the construction site, Figure 3.9. The model showed for every construction day the planned work with highlighted components in the model. The model was used as an instrument to validate the scheduled construction work, but its main use was the communication of the schedule with a large variety of stakeholders in the construction process.

Figure 3.9: The 4D model was used during the entire construction process as a tool in the main meeting room at the construction site to communicate the construction schedule to different stakeholders. Using the 4D model the schedule, that included over 1000 activities, could be presented in a matter of a few minutes with a guaranteed common understanding among different stakeholders of the scheduled construction work. The model strongly contributed to the fact that communication was efficient (i.e. required little time and effort) and effective (i.e. ensured directly a common understanding).

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The model was also used as an instrument at progress and look-a-head meetings on site and as a tool to quickly familiarize new project participants, such as suppliers, with the scheduled construction work. As an example the coordination of HVAC installation work can be given. The site manager used the 4D model as a tool to instruct the sub-contractors for HVAC on work how to perform their assembly work in relation to ongoing tasks by other crews. The visual value of the model cannot be stressed enough in this respect. The sub-contractors were directly provided with a clear and common picture of the assembly work and other building systems interfacing with their particular system.

39

VIPP

4

DEVELOPMENT

4.1

The need for an IFC interface

The first transfer in the project of CAD models into the VR environments Neo and Ceco Visual was primarily performed by using limited (e.g. .3DS format) and propietary (e.g. DWG) data formats. The use of these formats implies a number of disadvantages and limitations: The VR models cannot easily be updated using .3DS and .DWG files from different CAD systems. Only graphical data can be transferred using the .3DS format The DWG format can include non-graphical data, but is limited to mainly Autodesk products for this usage. The .3DS format is no longer developed and the .DWG is propietary. The need for non-graphical data became apparent during course of the project. The site-manager started to be interested in using the model for material planning. The manager envisioned that the model could be used to calculate the volume of concrete to cast and call for concrete supplies. In addition the manager wanted to be able to quickly extract the total length and area of nonbearing innerwalls per apartment and per floor in order to be able to plan for the amount of gypsum needed to be located at a floor before the scaffolding for the floor above was set up. The required data for these uses is available in the 3D CAD model. However, the data could not be extracted from the VR models used for design review and construction simulation, since the models were

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limited to graphics from the CAD models. The work-flow for import to Neo is similar. Exporting the CAD model to an IFC file 2.2 Development of the IFC interface The development and work-flow for the transfer of CAD models via IFC into Neo and Ceco consist of the following steps. Importing the XML file into the VR environment 1 2 3 Figure 4. The figure is showing one level of the Ringvägen project. Converting the IFC file to a XML file 3. which is converted to XML and imported to Ceco Visual.1: 1. 4. 41 .1: The transfer of a CAD model to IFC. Figure 4. In order to improve the import and update of CAD models and take advantage of the non-graphical CAD data an interface for IFC interface was developed for both Neo and Ceco Visual.

The use of the toolbox is straightforward. There are tools becoming available that optimize the IFC model. Figure 4. The IFCConverter is a C++ developed dynamic link library that has the following functionality: 1. Therefore a converter.VIPP Exporting the CAD model to an IFC file A CAD model is exported to the IFC 2x2 or 2x3 format. Most of today’s common 3D CAD systems. Microstation and Tekla are IFC-certified. Revit. This is accomplished with help of an “IFC Toolbox” from Eurostep (Eurostep 2007). Sizes between 10 and 100 Mb are very common. AutoCAD ADT 2008. Opens and reads IFC files. Figure 4. 42 . the IFCConverter (IFCDLL). was developed in order to extract only necessary information to a more readable format for the VR programs.2: An IFC file sample in text format Converting the IFC file to a XML file The IFC file format is open and free for use but is quite complex.1 shows a 3D model from one level of the Hotellviken-Ringvägen project in ArchiCAD. such as ArchiCAD. Every class in the IFC reference is mapped to a class in the toolbox. thereby reducing the file size and required model loading time (Solibri 2007). The main part of the extracted data in the VIPP I project contained the graphical information stored in the IFC file. One disadvantage noticed when exporting IFC files is that they often become very large. but in the VIPP II project we will also address the non-graphical part of the information.

was developed to enable different applications to import data from IFC model files. 43 . Figure 4.2. but also other VR applications that are available on the market.e. The IFC Loader in combination with the IFCConverter allows for an easy integration of IFC model data in different kinds of 3D and 4D applications.4. Figure 4. in other words not only the VR applications that are used in the VIPP project (i.3: XML file sample Importing the XML file into the VR environment A stand-alone program. called VIPPXML. Neo and Ceco Visual). the IFCLoader. Exporting parts of the IFC file to a more readable XML format.

The file is loaded in VR-applications using the IFCLoader. Figure 4. 44 .1 shows how Ceco Visual has imported the XML file generated by the IFCConverter. Figure 4.5 shows how Neo has imported a number of CAD objects using IFC.4: The IFC model is converted to VIPPXML using the IFCConverter. The object tree on the left shows the global unique ID numbers of the IFC objects.5: Import of CAD objects to Neo using IFC converted to VIPPXML.VIPP IFCConverter IFC to VIPPXML VR-application X CAD-application A IFC-certified CAD-application B IFC-certified CAD-application C IFC-certified IFC file ABC VIPPXML Load VIPPXML with IFCLoader IFC file ABC VIPPXML VR-application Y Load VIPPXML with IFCLoader IFC file ABC VIPPXML VR-application Z Load VIPPXML with IFCLoader Figure 4. Figure 4.

Figure 4. As a result. The figure shows that the handling of geometry for openings needs further adjustment. In addition.6: Architectural model in ArchiCAD (left) and the same model in Neo 4 by Sightline (right) 45 . Figure 4. which limits the direct use for visualisation purposes. no textures or lighting are present in the model.6 shows the IFC import of four building storeys from the Ringvägen project in ArchiCAD and subsequently in Neo. IFC import to Neo is considered to be applicable in early stages of projects for volume studies and early design models. such as 3D studio max. For more sophisticated visualisation one is still dependent on manual processing of the geometry in dedicated visualisation software.

it is important to set a clear scope and purpose of the 3D models early in the project. Most technical and methodological issues could be solved during the project. The 2D drawings are a product of the 3D design and not the primary design working material.. This is best done by organizing a workshop in which the different uses of the model are defined. but also by different members within and outside the project team. but also the users of the models. The 3D modelling process also results in 3D models of different levels of details.VIPP 5 METHODOLOGY & PROCESSES 5. in order to communicate what to expect from the models later on in the project. it was found from the experiences by the different design disciplines in the VIPP project that the difference was not that radical. etc. such as the project schedulers. In this workshop all design disciplines should participate. VR consultants. including the different steps. including different types of non-graphical data. However.1 Recommendations and requirements for the design process The 3D design process differs from the traditional 2D design process. cost estimators. The main difference is that fact that the delivery from the 3D design process is not limited to 2D drawings. 46 . Start with a joint workshop Since the 3D models are not only used by the designers themselves to generate 2D drawings. format and frequency to deliver the 3D models.

by for example creating a number of test files that are distributed according to the defined procedures that are set up for the project. V6) Definition of object type (door. but are rather a supplement to these requirements. and DWG 2004 or 2007 Coordinate system All objects shall have an exact X. wall) 47 .Trail After having defined the requirements for the models one should test these requirements before the actual design process starts. model files) By building. CAD manuals used for 2D CAD delivery can therefore be used to a large extent to define the delivery of 3D CAD models.) Layers All 2D information is hidden Metadata All objects carry property sets that include: A littra (type definition. or By building storey Format IFC 2x2 or 2x3.e. Document the delivery requirements Requirements for the delivery of 3D models are not replacing the requirements for 2D drawings. Examples of requirements for 3D CAD models are: Definition of 3D models (i. Y. Z coordinate (mm. window. such as V1.

To avoid the use of proxies one can: Use 3D objects that are IFC adjusted. An IFC proxy cannot be fully read by other IFC compliant applications. Many CAD and VR programs do not handle blocks and external references as efficient as Autodesk applications and in general it is recommended not to distribute 3D models that include these types of definitions. such as curved walls. volume (m3). Global Unique IDs are necessary in order to be able to version different model objects. from for example an IFC standard object library. 48 . height (mm). A checkmark stating that all included object properties are checked by the modeller A classification code. area netto (m2). A proxy can be seen as an information package. BREPs are packages for geometric data in the IFC model. A wall object is for example automatically mapped to an IFC wall class. This especially applies to windows and doors. etc.VIPP The following parameters. IFC-specific IFC files consist of classes specific for certain building types. but the object properties are inaccessible. external references. area brutto (m2). or to non-standard geometries. if supported by the CAD program. including the properties that are set for the specific wall objects. An additional requirement that can be made for IFC export is the use of Global Unique IDs (GUID) and so-called BREPs. The IFC model uses a proxy class to include the object in the model. according to BSAB 96 A Global Unique ID DWG-specific For DWG files there are a number of additional requirements that apply to the use of block in block references. Map 3D objects when exporting objects to a specific IFC class. In certain cases the IFC schema does not support the objects in a 3D model. thickness (mm). slabs and structural members: Length (mm). The geometry appears often correctly. for walls.

SW isometric. modelling tools.g. top. This does not apply to Autodesk’s Revitt applications. The disadvantage is the fact that the models have to be elevated before they are distributed and that all the elevations in the modelling process are relative to the building storey-level.g. The disadvantage is that the application reasons from 0-level for all its operations in a model. the objects dissappear from the model-view due to incorrect cut-height definitions for a specific view (e. In some cases. The model manager is also the one that specifies the CAD manuals. etc. such as ADT and MagiCAD. The advantage of working with the correct Z-level is that no separate elevated DWGs have to be made.Model manager It is recommended to appoint a model manager that assists the different designers with recommendations and tips for the modelling work. Specification for the role of a model manager have earlier been discussed in the preceding ITstomme project (Jongeling 2005).2 Modelling methodology Autodesk-specific Most AutoCAD-based applications. including all display configurations. and the one that collects the different design models during the design review process. The designer has the option to model at correct Z-level from start or to work at a default 0-level and elevate the models when they are ready for distribution. It was found during the VIPP project that many designers are not aware of this behaviour by their AutoCAD-based applications. etc). work with separate model files for every building storey linked together using a so-called project navigator. which can be impractical when performing certain modelling operations. when the designer has elevated a building storey to the required Z-level for model delivery. 5. top view). distributes templates and libraries. 49 . etc. The advantage of working at the default 0-level is that the application is designed to operate from this level. such as creating openings in walls. The 2D or 3D representation of objects depends on where the application cuts through an object and from what angle the object is viewed (e. The model files are by default all placed at 0-level by the applications as a result of requirements for display representation when creating 2D drawings from these files.

ArchiCAD-specific ArchiCAD typically works with one model database (i. They are designed to be used according to typical architectural practice. the 3D modelling applications are not design to be operated this way. for the storey above their current storey. but contain too many triangles to be of practical use. To generate a drawing of a slab X on top of floor Y.VIPP It was found that certain designers tend to divide the model in the way 2Ddrawings are defined in order to directly generate drawings from a building storey in for example 2D reflected representation. ArchiCAD has the possibility to exchange files in IFC format. etc.e. The advantage is that there is a single original of the 3D model with its generated 2D design information.e.direct or reflected). This representation is favoured by workers on site. The files are geometrically correct. by placing walls on a slab per building storey and not the other way around. viewed from TOP view . construct horizontal X and construct vertical X.e. When exporting DWG files from ArchiCAD the objects are converted to DWG meshes that are difficult to work with in other applications. One is looking down in a mirror and up to the storey above in other words. which allows them to work with only one drawing when setting up the formwork. one creates a view including construct vertical Y. compared to the collection of linked files typical for other types of design applications. Constructs that make up a model are best grouped by vertical and horizontal elements per building storey. However. 50 . However. in certain cases exports of DWG files are required. IMPORTANT: It was found that creating horizontal 2D-sections in ADT is resulting in incorrect dimension values. different constructs including vertical and horizontal objects) in a view that allows one to subsequently generate a reflected representation. the model objects has to be assembled first (i. a 3D model. a file) per project. Before one can begin to generate drawings. It is therefore recommended to directly add dimensions in a generated 3D-view (i. Reflective representation is the representation in 2D-drawings used by structural engineers that shows the storey on top of the storey that one is placed on.

This process is tiresome and prone to errors. Most of the consultants using these applications have been modelling in 3D for a number of years and have delivered only 2D model information to project stakeholders. This can be done by: Open the ArchiCAD generated DWG model separately in ADT Hide the objects that are not necessary to display for a specific modelling task. Electrical. In order to avoid these types of issues it is recommended to use a local coordinate system close to origin (zero) for all 3D models. 51 . IFC files can be used to facilitate the distribution of 3D models between the different design applications. There are two issues that often surface when discussing MEP design in 3D: All objects should have a correct Z-level The electrical design in 3D can be limited to cable trays. It was found during the VIPP project that large coordinate values can be problematic when working with ArchiCAD and subsequently with IFC models. for example by using the hide/isolate object command Reference the file into the ADT project.and Plumbing-design (MEP). For example. light fixtures and other objects that are relevant for interference detection with other designs in 3D. MEP-specific Mechanical-. one can work close to the origin and move the model after export and import to other applications. is mostly done in Magicad or Autodesk Building Systems. Requirements for 3D delivery are therefore not a radical change in their design process. Alternatively.In order for other designers to use these DWG files it is recommended that those objects are isolated by the designers that are relevant for the task at hand. Practically this means that the designer hides all objects other than those necessary. a model that is located 10 km from the origin is not supported by ArchiCAD and the IFC format. Instead. With the release of the new Autodesks 2008 applications that include an IFC interface this process should be avoided.

As a result. Requirements and processes for the delivery and use of 3D models in VR environments have been formulated during the VIPP I project and are applied in practice during the VIPP II project. 52 . but will be part of the interface. The findings will be reported when closing the VIPP II project.3 Delivery of 3D models to VR environments One of the objectives of the VIPP I project was to develope and use VR environments that support the IFC format.VIPP 5. the delivery of 3D models is still depending on the use of the .3DS and . Certain object and geometric definitions are not yet supported. The IFC interface that has been developed for Neo and Ceco Visual partly covers the IFC model definition.DWG format.

For example. but the focus has been the facilitation of the practical use of the 3D design models. 53 . such as the project manager. and that are listed in Chapter 4. throughout detailed design into the production process.6 DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION The VIPP I and II project’s main objective is the use of 3D design models in practice by professionals in a real construction project and to set an example for other professionals in the construction industry. The main benefits of using 3D that we have found during the VIPP project. In order to achieve this goal a number of system developments have been set up and implemented. sales agents. For example. Higher quality of the process. We have shown that vizualization facilitates the communication process from the early design. can be divided in: Facilitation of the communication process with project stakeholders. The use of VR environments allowed us to transfer the 3D models from typical CAD users to non-CAD users. The visual value of the 3D models allows stakeholders to quickly understand the project and to develop a common picture. Increased process efficiency. project planners and construction workers. 3D models allowed us to efficiently conduct detailed design reviews by checking different design models with each other. By means of defining scenarios for the early and detailed design review process and for production scheduling purposes we have been able to show the value of 3D models for a number of different applications and project stakeholders. by using 3D models we were able to improve the construction scheduling and communication process.

version 1 Structural 3D model. frequency and quality of delivery. The 3D design process results in a number of deliveries of which the 2D design is one of them.0 1. The structural design was modelled in 3D from 2D drawings. This definition also includes specifications for the delivery process of the models. contents. Table 1. Task Structural 3D model.5 2. 54 .0 8. including the structure.0 1. but not radically different. The time required to create 3D and 4D models was not considered an obstacle for designers and the project team and it was seen as a surprise how little time it actually took to create the different models. The next step would be to quantify the benefits of using the 3D models. etc. but in the ongoing VIPP II project the structural design is directly made in 3D from which 2D drawings are derived. Instead we have tried to describe the process and the resulting experienced values of creating and using the 3D models in practice. version 2 3D model of the construction site Preparing schedule for linking Linking the schedule to models Total Days Comments 3.5 3D model based on 2D drawings Further detailing of the model including concrete pours. During VIPP I the use of the VR model and the design process were rather two parallel processes where the use of the VR model benefited the design process. of which parts of the work have been performed by the site manager himself.5 days of work.0 1. The VIPP project shows that the 3D design process is different from the traditional 2D design process. format. Partly based on 2D drawings Adding level of detail and structure Including adjusting the schedule Table 1: Time to create the 3D and 4D models The total time that was required to establish the 4D model is 8.VIPP We have no quantitative evidence of the benefits of using 3D models in practice. We found that it is critical to define early and clearly in a project for what purposes the 3D models will be produced.

These processes were defined during the VIPP I project and are now applied in the VIPP II project. requirements and processes concrete in order to maximize the practical applicability of the VIPP project for other professional users in the construction industry. Our objective was to keep the definition of use cases. but finding workarounds when theory and practice disagree is part of the implementation of new methods and tools in every industry. The IFC interface that has been developed for Neo and Ceco Visual is extended during the VIPP II project to cover a larger part of the IFC model definition. Therefore.The VR model was a number of times renewed but there were no procedures in place that stated how. The findings will be reported when closing the VIPP II project. when and by whom all the models were to be delivered. we believe that the VIPP project’s results can stimulate the industry to start using 3D models and VR environments in building projects so best practices can be established. updated and dissiminated. In order to achieve the full practical use within the VIPP project we have tried to use readily available technology. including non-graphical data. but we have also implemented new technology in order to facilitate the transfer of 3D CAD models between different design applications and to VR environments. The practical approach might have compromised the scientific level of the project work. 55 .

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