UK Construction ON LINE
No Need for Show Homes
A new experience, which it is claimed will revolutionise home buying, has been developed by Citu and Leeds Beckett University. Working together on a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) project, Citu and Leeds Beckett University academics have developed a digital platform which removes the need for traditional bricks and mortar show homes.
From Games to Virtual Reality
Leading the project, Leeds Beckett BSc (Hons) Games Design gradutae, James Fenwick, led the project alongside studying for a Masters by Research degree. The Virtual Reality Experience (VRE) allows Citu to use immersive, interactive and customer-friendly technology so that customers can navigate themselves through a digital and virtual home within Citu’s new city centre Climate Innovation District – the largest sustainable development in the UK.
Enhanced Customer Experience
This enhanced customer experience includes being able to customise the Citu Home to clients’ specific requirements, as well as viewing performance data such as heat loss depending upon the materials of the building.
Knowledge Transfer Funding
The project was funded by Innovate UK and has now been awarded a grading of ‘outstanding’ by the UK-wide Knowledge Transfer Partnership funders – the highest possible result.
Bringing Unbuilt Homes ‘To Life’
Kev Gillespie, Sales and Marketing Director at Citu, explained: “Citu prides itself on doing things differently and the VRE James created for us is another great example of that. It has been a long-standing industry dilemma how you do justice to a home that’s not even been built yet, but thanks to this partnership with Leeds Beckett University, the Citu VRE really helped bring our homes to life.”
James said: “Starting the KTP immediately after graduating was an amazing opportunity. The project gave me a unique opportunity to work alongside academics at Leeds Beckett and industry leaders at Citu meaning I was never alone or unsupported. The project was a lot of hard work, and at times very challenging, but the support and confidence from both Citu and the university made the whole experience a pleasure.”
Virtual Outdoors and Indoors
Kevin added: “The VRE has been a huge selling tool for us and every person who has experienced it has been blown away by the attention to detail. Not only does it give potential customers the opportunity to walk around their home of the future it also gives a sense of space and design to the outdoor community areas and avenues which are just as important in the Climate Innovation District as the homes themselves.”
Sustainability & Climate Change Links
James has now been appointed as Citu’s Virtual Reality Experience Manager on a permanent basis; and both Leeds Beckett and Citu now sit on the committee of the Leeds Climate Change Commission, influencing and leading on sustainable development and change in Yorkshire.
VR’s Impact on Teaching
The project has also made a significant impact on the teaching at Leeds Beckett University. A number of projects involving virtual reality are now offered to students, including virtual physiotherapy for patients needing rehabilitation after limb impairment, and investigating the effectiveness of virtual reality in phobia therapy.
Watch a video about the KTN here.
Off-Site to the Fore
Despite the many savings in waste, time and money that can be delivered, MMC and Off-Site construction have only slowly taken hold in our highly conservative industry. Resistance to change has been the norm. However, the challenges from new entrants – e.g. Chinese and Insurance Companies – coupled with changes in other areas are now beginning to bite hard. One of the fastest, easiest and most flexible ways to ‘catch up’ and meet these challenges is via collaborative ‘Off-Site’ integration to produce a win-win result.