The future of design – BIM and immersive virtual environments

What does the future of building design look like? At the School of Construction Management and Engineering, two state-of-the-art facilities offer students and researchers the opportunity to explore cutting edge technologies for design, construction and facilities operations and management.

Providing students and researchers with access to up-to-date technologies prepares them not only for a career in industry, but to be industry leaders.



The CAVE is a £2-million, four-screen fully immersive virtual environment that allows users to walk through and navigate, at full scale, a computer-generated world. It is managed by the School of Construction Management and Engineering, and part of the School of Systems Engineering’s Visualisation and Interactive Technology Centre. The CAVE enables users to experience, explore, and interact with a designed environment before it is built, visualise complex data sets such as air flow and fluid dynamics, or provide am immersive training in a controlled, safe setting.


Specification of the system can be found here.



Advancements in visualization technologies offer users exciting opportunities to experience and experiment with virtual design and construction projects in more meaningful and effective ways. Students, researchers, and industry members can better visualize physical facility characteristics, collaboratively interact with simulations and computational data in real-time, test what-if scenarios and thus actively discover innovative solutions to various project challenges.



The CAVE lab is used to explore both technological and human aspects in what are the best practices for visualizing and interacting with rich facility information that comes in many formats. Some of the questions include but not limited to:

  • Exploring how various project stakeholders can interact with the project information at different stages to capture feedback and their tacit knowledge.
  • Exploring how rich project information data sets can be further captured from building information models to allow users to interact with the information in real time for better decision-making
  • Understanding the best practices for deploying the technology to meet the demands for delivering high quality sustainable projects efficiently and safely.
  • Building a knowledge database for developing interactive and immersive digital prototypes for engaging project stakeholders through the project life cycle.



The state-of-the-art technology helps create a shift in current practice among regional firms toward more integrated efforts. This rich visual environment will greatly enhance the methods used to educate construction, civil and architectural engineering students.  It will also allow students to be exposed to challenging, realistic problems early within their education, experience which should improve the student retention rate and attract new students to engineering disciplines.

If you wish to use the CAVE for any purpose please contact Dragana on email: