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Cundall Codes Issue 7

Critical Systems By Jean Clavero, Mechanical Critical Systems Engineer – 21 December 2023

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Head and shoulders shot of Jean wearing a pink shirt against a green bacground

Jean Clavero

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Unlocking efficiency and collaboration in data centre design with Resolve Virtual Reality (VR)

The construction industry is constantly evolving, and the introduction of virtual reality (VR) technology has proven to be a game-changer, particularly in the field of data centre design and coordination. By rendering Building Information Modelling (BIM) models in VR, multi-disciplinary teams can coordinate better, and users can enjoy a more user-friendly experience. An example is the Resolve app, designed for VR headsets and laptops. Cundall’s recent partnership with Resolve has led to the use of this technology on new projects, leveraging the numerous benefits of VR.

Virtual reality rendering: a new dimension for data centres

One of the stand-out features of VR is that it can provide an immersive rendering of design models generated through the Autodesk ecosystem. This feature goes beyond traditional 3D modelling, allowing stakeholders to visualise and experience the intricacies of data centre designs. Identifying potential issues in the early stages of design is a significant advantage. These issues may include clashes between services from different disciplines or limited space to access equipment for maintenance and replacement. A well-coordinated data centre design phase can prevent problems during construction, commissioning and operation, such as change orders, added material costs, and project delays. This ultimately leads to substantial time and cost savings.

Benefits for data centre projects

VR's impact on data centre projects extends beyond just visualisation. VR Software's ability to handle large, federated models and operate efficiently on different computers becomes crucial when dealing with such projects. This capability ensures the immediate functionality of massive files without added work, which is paramount when considering the scale of data centre implementation.

Another important feature of VR is its user-friendly nature, which enables teams to navigate the complexities of electrical systems, mechanical pipework, heating, ventilation and air cooling (HVAC), and other critical components. This addresses the unique requirements of data centre design, leading to more efficient multi-disciplinary coordination than traditional modelling software. Intuitive controls have been introduced to make navigation easier, allowing users to ‘fly’ through the model, measure distances, and raise issues to be addressed by other disciplines.

With VR, the client can play an integral part in the review process during the design phase. Recent projects led by Cundall included the client and building operator in virtual discussions regularly. If the VR app provides a seamless transition between virtual headsets and desktop apps, it makes collaboration even easier. This feature is available in Resolve, and it makes VR accessible to anyone, regardless of their technical background, empowering both novices and experts alike to actively participate in design coordination.

First Cundall project use case

In a recent Cundall project, VR transformed the data centre design review process both internally and with colleagues outside Cundall. Data acquired through Resolve has shown that 26 VR headsets were involved in VR reviews across 4 companies, uncovering over 559 issues. This innovative approach provided everyone involved with unprecedented confidence in the final design.

Conclusion: embracing the future of data centre design

As technology continues to influence the construction industry, VR emerges as an indispensable tool for data centre design and coordination. Its ability to provide immersive experiences, enhance collaboration, and streamline the review process positions it at the forefront of innovation. Embrace VR, explore its benefits, and unlock new efficiencies in your projects.

If you would like to get in touch about this or any other topics of digital engineering, please contact