Goal: Design Review


Planning, Design


[ _ ] Preview space aesthetics and layout during design review in a virtual environment
[ _ ] Able to evaluate effectiveness of design in meeting building program criteria and owner's needs
[ _ ] Creates efficiencies in design process
[ _ ] Communicate design to client and construction team
[ _ ] Eliminate costly onsite mock-ups
[ _ ] Reduce time needed to construct mock-up
[ _ ] Use virtual mock-up as marketing tool
[ ­­_ ] Communicate easily design to the owner, construction team and end users and get feedback on meeting program requirements, owner’s needs and building or space aesthetics
[ _ ] More efficient design leading to better marketing of the project, eliminate expensive onsite mock-ups or reduce time needed to construct them


Prototypes are important part of design process and used to showcase the design to the stakeholders and evaluate meeting the program and set criteria like layout, sightlines, lighting, security, ergonomics, acoustics, textures and colors, etc. Virtual mock-up can be done in high detail even on a part of the building like façade to quickly analyze design alternatives and solve design and constructability issues. Traditional mock-up is a full scale representation of a space needed additional design review and feedback from the end users, and it is usually a realistic representation of design with all the materials, textures and colors applied which with added furniture and equipment can lead to them being a very expensive and time consuming endeavors. Virtual mock-ups are a great solution to substitute the building of the real ones, and if properly executed can be equally successful for design review, resolving design issues by offering different options, and cutting down the cost and time invested considering basic construction, making modifications after reviews and final demolition and removal expense (Dunston et al., 2007)

Evaluation of the designed space can be facilitated by high degree of interactivity in order to get positive feedback from end users and owner (Dunston et al., 2007).Some of the top criteria in evaluation if the courtrooms are: sightlines, lighting, ADA compliance, safety, security, acoustics, HVAC, ergonomics, aesthetics and millwork tolerances (Maldovan et al., 2006). Real-time modifications of design are enabled based on the end users feedback and the decision making time is cut in half since the attention focus is on one issue at a time till the consensus is reached (Majumdar et al., 2006). Some reported design deficiencies in courtrooms are: missing components, insufficient detailing and inconsistencies in furniture dimensions (Majumdar et al., 2006).

Potential Benefits:

[ _ ] Reduce time and money (possibly 1/5 the cost of a traditional mock-up) needed to construct mock-up (1)
[ _ ] Different design options and various scenarios and alternatives are easy to model and change real-time during design review by end users or owner
[ _ ] As an effective means of communication virtual mock-ups would lead to shorter and more efficient design review, also reducing time and money spent to construct vs. model the mock-up
[ _ ] Resolve the conflicts that would arise in a mock-up and model the potential fixes in real-time along with tolerances revised and RFIs answered

Levels of Detail Considerations:

  • More detail would be required to represent textures, colors and finished materials, and less detail would be needed for resolving spatial issues. This would mostly depend on the purpose of the mock-up and the audience’s expectations.

Team Competencies Required:

  • Designers who are already versed in 3D modeling might need to make an additional step in training with making their models photo-realistic with textures, colors and finishes and easily navigable by using different software or plug-ins.

Characteristics in order to substantiate BIM use:

  • Can be used on any project if there is a need like operating rooms in healthcare, courthouse in federal, concert hall in venues, or condos in residential market, where either visual aspect or coordination of spaces is crucial. Some of the critical aspects to consider in courtroom design are sightlines from the various vantage points of end users. In hospital patient room design there is even more to consider: layout and mobility of equipment and furnishings, dimensions of doors and windows, flow of people and supplies, accessibility and safety of patients, noise levels, infection control and appropriate lighting (Dunston et al., 2007). Once in the CAVE the end users can check sightlines, clearances, functionality and arrangement of the furnishings by easily moving them around. One of the things to consider is the complexity of these environments to model along with the specialized type of equipment and fixtures, which might take more time and money than anticipated if done for the first time.

Potential Modeling Methods:

  • Virtual mock-ups can be projected using active stereo visual display to depict the 3rd dimension, and also using multiple screens joined together with front or rear projection or curved screen. Another option would be presenting virtual mockup in a CAVE environment which would offer full scale, stereoscopic simulation and real-time navigation leading to more realistic experience of the designed space and relationships in it.

Potential Outputs: N/A

Legal / Commitment Considerations:

  • The model may be used just for visualization purposes and to resolve design issues, but if passed to the contractor or owner, they would have to use it at their own risk.

Additional Resources:

General Description: N/A

Quantitative Studies: N/A

Case Study Examples: N/A


(1) Dunston, Phillip S., Arns, Laura L., and McGlothin, James D. (2007). "An Immersive Virtual Reality Mock-up for Design Review of Hospital Patient Rooms," 7th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality, University Park, Pennsylvania, October 22-23, 9 pages [link]

(2) Majumdar, Tulika, Fischer, Martin A., and Schwegler, Benedict R. (2006). "Conceptual Design Review with a Virtual Reality Mock-Up Model," Building on IT: Joint International Conference on Computing and Decision Making in Civil and Building Engineering, Hugues Rivard, Edmond Miresco, and Hani Melham, editors, Montreal, Canada, June 14-16, 2902-2911.

(3) Maldovan, Kurt D., Messner, John I., and Faddoul, Mera (2006). "Framework for Reviewing Mockups in an Immersive Environment," CONVR 2006: 6th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality, R. Raymond Issa, editor, Orlando, Florida, August 3-4, on CD, 6 pages

Software Applications:

Sketchup, Revit, Triforma, 3D Studio Max, Impression, various plug-ins for photo realistic representation of design