From virtual to reality

by Andy Bryenton

In April this year, a new television programme aired on the UK’s BBC2, promising to be a ‘game changer’ for the renovation genre. The extra twist? Two architects would compete to create the best new design for a humdrum home in need of a new look, not in the real world but Virtual Reality. Only the winner would be constructed.

It seems a bit of a future shock, but in this case, television is only catching up with what can be a useful tool in the real world. Designers, architects and even real estate agents have been quick to latch on to the benefits of VR as a medium for showing their ideas and their wares to a public who are more informed than ever.

In Britain, where the show, titled Your Home Made Perfect, debuted, it’s been the law since 2016 that every building built requires collaborative 3D building information modelling. The logical next step was to take a leaf from the gaming playbook, fill in colour and texture, and let prospective customers walk around in their new home using VR headsets, which are becoming ever cheaper and more powerful.

From 3D ‘open homes’ popping up on New Zealand real estate websites, through to the option to have your architectural design rendered in intricate detail before the first nail is driven into the first timber, the possibilities are endless for the construction industry. A virtual walk-through leaves no possibility that you aren’t getting exactly what you want, and it’s even possible that the layers could be pulled away for tradespeople to track electrical wires or plumbing before making amendments or upgrades in real life. This approach will also reduce wastage in materials, as the gap between the rendered model and the finished building approaches zero.