The Future for Planning Assessments?
State of the Art 3D Modelling
‘Vucity’ is a three-dimensional interactive planning tool developed by communications agency Wagstaffs Design and 3D modelling specialist Vertex Modelling. It already maps more than 100 sq km of central London in high detail, enabling users to visualise construction development, highlight and interrogate existing, planned and consented schemes, and overlay data, such as sunlight paths, viewing corridors or real-time transport updates.
Launched at MIPIM last year, ‘Vucity’ now covers 115 sq km of London to +/-15cm accuracy, including five central London boroughs and stretching from Hammersmith & Fulham, in the west, to London City Airport in the east, and from King’s Cross, in the north, to Battersea and Nine Elms in the south. The software allows architects, developers, planners and others involved in city planning to upload 3D models of buildings and assess the differences between consented and proposed schemes, daylight studies and Right to Light, things that are only possible using digital technology.
Protecting Views & Light
The high level of model accuracy allows key London viewing corridors, including protected views to St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster, to be precise. Users can immediately see if a building will be affected and how tall it can go.
‘Vucity’ enables council members and residents to understand how a whole borough is developing, helping to get community and investor buy-in for future direction. Barking & Dagenham has purchased a one-year license to the software. The map will be accessible via a table-top screen installed in the town hall, enabling residents to view planning proposals and development in the local context, and on iPads installed with the ‘Vucity’ app.
Better & Less Costly than Physical Models
Seeing this as the future of planning, Darren Rodwell, leader of Barking & Dagenham Council, said that while“… physical models of London are good, they don’t tell the whole story. Vucity enables us to give developers a better understanding of how we want to do business and the opportunities available in our borough. It is also cheaper for them to buy into the technology rather than have to fabricate models and mock up different views etc.”
In the view of Jason Hawthorne, MD of Wagstaffs,”The option to turn on all existing planning consents in the same area means you are suddenly looking at your building against what will be built over the next 15-20 years, providing a much bigger picture of London than was previously possible.”
Wagstaffs also plans to offer an online, on-demand version for an hourly rate. This will enable an architect to log in, test a few models and schemes, and take screenshots to understand how they might work. Anything missed or changed from the original planning application, e.g. Section 70 of the Town and Country Planning Act, will get picked up and amended every 3 years.
Read Stephen Cousins full BIM+ article
Challenging Ways of Working
As the industry changes to embrace new methods, one sector is already leading the way, providing builders with a new workforce and new, innovative ideas, to meet its needs – Timber Engineering. Timber Frame and related systems, like SIP’s and CLT, are now well established and reliable ways of doing this. However, engagement of timber frame designers and manufacturers at the earliest possible stage is essential to capture all the benefits this holds for developers, builders and home owners.
Professionals Increasingly Turning to Timber
As a good natural insulator - timber can help minimise or avoid cold bridging and internal condensation as well as assisting with construction sequencing to save significantly on time, effort and costs. To achieve this many architects and builders are turning to timber engineering firms able to interpret and deliver properly ‘sustainable solutions’ to secure high quality, factory produced elements and deliver better value in their projects.