Artist’s impression of Paya Lebar Quarter by Lendlease.
Property developers are making use of virtual reality (VR) technology to assist them in marketing their new projects, reported Channel NewsAsia.
For instance, Australian developer Lendlease is utilising a three-dimensional modelling platform to showcase the upcoming Paya Lebar Quarter to potential clients.
“We needed to have a mechanism that would show people what it would be like to actually be in the precinct. We wanted to create this immersive environment so that people can visualise that,” said Richard Paine, Managing Director of Paya Lebar Quarter.
Moreover, Lendlease is using VR to put together the precinct, with architects, structural engineers and project managers taking advantage of this technology for planning and execution purposes. It also intends to use this innovation to manage its facilities when Paya Lebar Quarter fully opens in 2019.
Another property player making use of VR is CapitaLand, which rolled out an immersive VR simulation studio that enables guests to explore the interior of Funan mall in 3D even before it opens in 2019.
However, adopting such technology can be expensive. Although Lendlease declined to divulge its total investment in its VR platform, the rendering of its 3.9ha Paya Lebar Quarter took six months. Small companies may not have the resources for this.
“The return of investment on these technologies is often hard to prove … because it’s hard to quantify the benefits of this technology, especially when you’re looking at it from the lens of a single project alone,” said Mukund Sridhar, who leads McKinsey & Company’s infrastructure practice in Southeast Asia.
“Construction professionals will tell you that construction is complex – no project is alike so it’s a challenge of scaling it up across different projects and ensuring that this technology can be customised and applied across different kinds of projects.”
Furthermore, a study by McKinsey shows that the construction sector lags behind other industries in adopting new technology.
Nevertheless, Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority has established a Construction Productivity and Capability Fund to help reduce the costs involved in adopting such new technologies.
As of 31 December 2016, around $450 million out of around $800 million have been committed to over 9,000 construction firms.