Proposed transportation networks, above and below ground infrastructure, neighborhood developments and other major municipal projects are often subjected to great scrutiny. Being able to use model based designs to generate high quality visualizations can help engineers, architects and others improve stakeholder communications, better convey design intent and expedite approvals.
As discussed in a previous post, Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a process that leverages model based designs throughout the entire municipal lifecycle. Visualizations are an important part of that process. Accurate, photo realistic renderings, as well as, drive-through, fly-over and animated simulations can be used to explore design options clearly and accurately, validate designs and detect errors before construction.
For example, check out the Alaskan Way Viaduct animation as released by the Washington State Department of Transportation. The video shows the drive-through experience after proposed changes to this major Seattle transportation corridor have been completed. In addition to communicating design intent, this type of visualization helps validate the design. Note proposed lane configurations, exit ramps, and tunnel lighting. Also, note the potential impact of buildings, signs, barriers and other visual obstructions on sightlines.
Visualizations are also useful in clash detection scenarios where the individual design elements of a BIM model are checked for interference with one another. Identifying and documenting clash related problems prior to construction can significantly reduce construction costs by reducing the number of RFIs and change orders during construction. For example, this video posted by CivilFromTheGroundUp shows how clash detection can be used to identify the clash between an underground utility and the surface of a roadway.
Construction sequencing which is demonstrated in this video is another useful type of visualization that aims to show how a design will be built over time and can be used to help coordinate multidiscipline construction projects.
Furthermore, BIM models can be used to create 3D visualizations to enhance the experience of a project before its real. With 3D movies such as “Avatar” and the release of 3D televisions, the importance of a 3D experience as it relates to design will undoubtedly increase. For example, check out this stereoscopic anaglyph animation of a water treatment facility. This video was created using Autodesk 3DS Max by my colleague Louis Marcoux. You will of course need special glasses to view the 3D effect. Get the glasses with the red/cyan lenses.
In summary, visualizations and BIM are a powerful combination that can have a profound positive impact on your business:
- Become more competitive
- Win more RFPs
- Identify the best design alternatives
- Accurately convey design intent
- Improve public and stakeholder communication
- Reduce construction costs
- Improve coordination of multidiscipline teams