For every benefit there is to using BIM in construction, there are some major hurdles to its adoption. The files are large and complex by design, and can require specialized software to view fully. Client hardware limitations can make it slow, difficult or impossible to access the complexity inherent in BIM, and many companies are hoping for solutions that are more easily viewed and shared.
Tridify, a Finnish company that started out by developing VR applications for engineers and architects, have been working on a solution to get BIM viewable for more people. They heard from their clients over and over that they wanted to have access to the 3D models, but many didn’t have the capabilities or resources in-house to be able to view or share them.
In September, Tridify announced that they are augmenting their BIM to XR processing service to allow for BIM models to be instantly available online and shareable via a web link. To accomplish this, Tridify generates interactive 3D models from BIMs that have been exported to an IFC format. The interactive model is then accessible online, and can be embedded on a website or even viewed on a mobile phone.
A demonstration URL model of a summer house can be viewed here.
Using the new Web VR option, architects can visualize their BIM models and share 3D plans with a client or contractor. Construction workers can share plans or review changes in 3D on site via mobile devices – increasing the ability for on-site communication that doesn’t rely on a trip back to the office to review a model.
The workflow is extremely straightforward. Users upload an IFC file into Tridify, click “Publish” to create the online version of the model, and it is ready to be viewed online without any additional programming. Rather than focusing on photorealistic models, they have put the emphasis on ease of use and performance.
Beyond the AEC industry, this sharability creates opportunities for non-technical audiences, making 3D models easier to share internally, externally, with customers or consumers, on mobiles, tablets, desktops or VR headsets.
Beyond construction and design, there are potential real estate development and marketing applications as well. Users can apply metrics to the shared URL to see how many people may be interacting with it – which gives insights into sales and interest in a potential property’s design.
“Our new Web VR option solves a problem that the industry has struggled with for many years,” commented Alexander Le Bell, Tridify CEO. “By making BIM models instantly available and viewable in any browser, technical barriers are removed, they become a new commodity and are propelled into the mainstream. This will help to dramatically improve communication and collaboration workflows for architect, construction and property companies.”