Collaboration is the key to successfully delivering projects in any industry, and it matters all the more in industries such as Architecture-Engineering-Construction (AEC) which are fragmented, and where there are a number of stakeholders involved. Better collaboration not only reduces the time taken for projects, but also reduces errors and result in significant cost savings to help bring the vision of the client closer to reality, faster.
And in the AEC industry, efficient collaboration between the client and all other stakeholders is critical to reducing iterations to manifest designs into physical form with minimal errors.
There are several issues that the industry faces where better collaboration is required. To understand in detail, we studied several projects to gain a better understanding of the issues. Here are the key pain-points we address with Trezi:
One of the key issues that adversely impact a fabulous design experience is a lack of understanding of the common project goals for which the participants are collaborating. In the case of architecture and interior design, consensual visualization and understanding of the design by clients and other stakeholders is the first step.
Earlier, architects and interior designers used 2D floor plans and 3D rendering softwares as the predominant medium for showing and communicating their designs to their clients. Since these had limited capabilities to showcase details, it resulted in multiple discrepancies in terms of the client’s understanding of the design intent and vision, scale, volume, proportion, lighting of the space and what the architect really intended to convey. While architects/designers/creators have a clear idea in their mind of what their design will look and feel like, they could not communicate this clearly to other stakeholders. Scale models and 2D drawings did not communicate this design intent and communication was flawed, leading to confusion and errors.
The number of iterations were numerous, and clients requested changes based on their limited understanding of the design from 2D plans and static renders. Architects and designers had to return to the drawing board and make changes in their authoring software of choice, and then go back to their 3D rendering software to recreate the renders, not once but again and again, thus increasing the design closure time. This impacted costs too. One of the main reasons we set out to create Trezi was to improve the process of visualization of design and thereby improve the understanding of the design that is at the heart of collaboration on the building project. Trezi uses the immersive and to-scale experience of virtual reality to perform real-time VR rendering and accommodate changes to the design at the click of a button.
This not only provides a new way for clients and other stakeholders such as MEP consultants and contractors to better understand the design before anything has been built, but also for architects/designers and their clients to finalize the design with far fewer iterations. This results in a significant saving of time and costs. What used to take several days is now instantaneous, thanks to Trei.
The ability to fully understand the design and participate in the design process through virtual reality architectural walkthroughs has also empowered clients and helped them “fall in love” with their home/office at an early stage in the project. This has resulted in clients’ greater willingness to pay, faster design closure and execution leading to improved satisfaction with what they receive at the end of the project.
In our previous post, we spoke about the traditional planning process. Usually, the process starts with 2D plans, 3D static renders or predefined timed walkthroughs that offer no control to the user/ client. Upon receiving the base build drawings, the interior designer does the space planning and puts together the overall look and feel. Once the layouts are frozen and this look is approved, the process of specification and product selection commences, detailed design and tender/construction drawings are done and then the build phase kicks off. While some companies only do build or design, some do both.
With each phase in the process of project delivery, the need for collaboration grows. Current methods do not facilitate effective collaboration as different stakeholders end up working with different versions of layouts and documents. It is nearly impossible to track which version a particular project stakeholder is working on. This results in errors in the order and planning which leads to undesirable and avoidable cost impact.
Collaboration issues don’t happen only in the design phase, they also happen in the construction phase. But it is more costly in terms of money and time for all the stakeholders when an issue is discovered in the construction phase. We noticed that using virtual reality in construction could solve these problems.
Trezi helps all stakeholders collaborate in real time. Using the power of immersive technology, we envision all stakeholders referring to updated virtual models at any given point in time. The beauty of Trezi is that it is part of every stakeholders’ workflow, which ensures that everyone is working with the same model at the same time.
Interaction and Coordination with Building Product Manufacturers
Traditionally, building product manufacturers and suppliers have reached out to design and architecture firms through a tedious and expensive process of marketing that includes preparing, stocking and distributing samples and catalogs which regularly became outdated with the introduction of new product lines, creating multiple physical mockups, and organizing lunch-and-learn sessions at their premises to showcase their products to architects and designers. This process has always led to considerable wastage in time and costs, as well as the loss of additional revenue opportunities.
With Trezi, we wanted to reduce wastage and time spent in the entire process of building product selection by enabling product manufacturers and suppliers to display their products in VR-ready catalogs made available within Trezi. Architects and designers can now browse through these products, choose the product(s) that they want to work with and insert them directly in the design. This is a very important point since, until now, the manufacturer/ supplier could show the 3D model of the product in isolation or in an extruded model. With Trezi, they can insert the VR model of the product in the architects’ designed environment and all stakeholders can understand the option in an immersive manner. While this is still a work in progress in Trezi, we have made strides and the collaboration between stakeholders has definitely improved for architects and suppliers already using Trezi.
Experiencing the Volume
Architects and designers have been firm believers of the physical model to get a ‘physical’ sense of volume and understand it better. Physical architecture models are still relevant because of the level of understanding they bring – and Trezi takes this experience a step further. Trezi allows the architect and designer to be physically present within the volume and experience it in full-scale. Not just that, Trezi allows the architect to even see what kind of light the built form allows at different times of the day.
Architects and designers have for long said, “I wish I could be physically present inside the space being developed.” With Trezi, that wish comes true – for the designer, the client and even the product supplier. Experiencing the volume and placing building products in it helps architects and designers collaborate far more effectively with product suppliers than the current methods of physical mockups.
With Trezi, all it takes is a single click to convert your models on Revit, FBX or Sketchup to VR. Using compatible HMDs such as the HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift, a user can then take a virtual tour without much ado.
Single Version of Truth
We envision Trezi as the collaborative architecture software platform where architects, engineering services consultants, contractors, product manufacturers and clients could work on a single model simultaneously through a virtual meeting platform for AEC. We firmly believe a single version of the truth can solve a multitude of complications that have been arising out of ineffective collaboration. Architects can also be better storytellers with Trezi acting as a platform that helps them portray their vision clearly.
We now aim to take the entire process of design to the cloud where people can make changes instantaneously and there are no discrepancies between what the senior designer instructs and junior designer delivers.
To conclude, we are working on creating a world-class product that aims to resolve a number of collaboration issues that have plagued the AEC industry until now. Utilizing virtual reality, Trezi helps communicate design better. If you are a designer, an architect or anyone in the Architecture-Engineering-Construction industry, do visit Trezi and download it today.
We also have a free trial so that you can explore and give us feedback on it. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help with anything and we will get back to you as soon as we can!
To experience a free 14-day trial using your own SteamVR-compatible Virtual Reality kit, please sign up here.
Or contact us to organize a demo at your office – our sales representative will set up an appointment at your convenience.