Building Information Modeling and Virtual Reality

Workflows for Design and Facility Management

  • Zhan Yang University of Southern California
  • Karen Kensek University of Southern California


ABSTRACT: Building information modeling (BIM) is used throughout a building’s lifecycle from design to operations and maintenance (O&M). Virtual reality (VR) can be used for real-time simulation of a user's presence in a 3D interactive environment. Three workflows of BIM based VR were developed and applied towards design review and facility management (FM) for a patient room: (1) cinematic VR; (2) Revit + Unity; and (3) Revit + Fuzor. In the first workflow, a VR film was made with Revit, Maya, Mettle Skybox, Handbrake, Redshift, and After Effects to present the project through an Oculus Rift HMD for a semi-interactive immersive VR experience. In the second workflow, parameter data including the equipment’s manufacturer, cost, and website was added to a project file in Revit. The geometry was exported to Unity using Maya as a go-between. The data was extracted from the Revit schedule to a text file. In Unity, the data was parsed based on a unique identifier and linked back to the equipment through C# scripting based on a panel based user interface of Unity. Through customized programming, the outcome was a room in VR where equipment information appeared on canvas panels. The third workflow used Revit, a database of the equipment in Excel, Fuzor, and a customized link written in Python using the Fuzor Application Program Interface (API). Fuzor was chosen as it is a game engine based solution specifically tailored for the building industry. An XML tool was developed to link an Excel sheet to the Revit and Fuzor models. This tool has immediate application potential because the Excel file can be any kind of database in a real project like a maintenance or repair logging schedule.


KEYWORDS: Building Information Modeling (BIM), Virtual Reality (VR), 3D Game Engine, Integrated Facility Management (IFM), Design Review of Healthcare Facility

How to Cite
Yang, Z., & Kensek, K. (2018). Building Information Modeling and Virtual Reality. ARCC Conference Repository.