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Case AF Gruppen: VR reduces costs and emissions for AEC design reviews.

The project team at AF Gruppen use Varjo Teleport VR to explore virtual 3D buildings and perform design reviews at all stages of construction.

The intuitive VR environment is used to visualize BIM models, enhance sustainability, reduce costs, and boost team understanding.

Simultaneous physical and virtual construction

“All design reviews are happening with BIM-models, and we’re able to import all our ongoing projects to VR.”

– Jonas Lund, Manager for BIM & Digitalization at AF Gruppen.

AF Gruppen, one of Norway’s largest civil engineering and construction firms, is specialized in carrying out sustainable construction and refurbishments across the Nordics. They are focused on taking advantage of the most efficient tools, processes, and technology available to deliver cost-efficient projects with a low impact on the environment.

A focal point of their efforts lies in the use of BIM (Building Information Modelling), a relatively modern way of working in AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) industries. BIM involves the use of precise virtual 3D models of structures to aid design, decision making, and improved execution.

After seeing the introduction of BIM reduce costs, improve project quality, and boost cross-discipline understanding, AF Gruppen sought supplementary technology to emphasize and add to those benefits. Virtual reality proved the perfect partner, enabling the project team to easily experience digital structures from a revolutionary first-person perspective, enhance the benefits of BIM, and simultaneously reduce their carbon footprint.

Transforming graphics on a screen into immersive experiences.

Varjo Teleport VR provides AF Gruppen with an out-of-the-box virtual environment where they can render 3D representations of buildings (via imported IFC/BIM files) and explore them on a 1:1 scale or as miniatures. Project stakeholders such as architects, engineers, and end-clients can roam the exterior and interior of a digital property by looking through a virtual reality headset (or with the desktop application) and experience the finished building, even as early on as in the preliminary design phase.  

Multiple users can enter the virtual space simultaneously, and interact as human-like avatars, to perform highly efficient design reviews.  Non-visible elements such as in-wall structural supports, piping, and wiring can be shown to aid different BIM disciplines. The software greatly enhances multi-stakeholder understanding of BIM projects, and enables remote participation, allowing for sustainable long-distance collaboration without the need for travel.

Using Teleport VR to refurbish one of Oslo’s most beloved buildings

Inkognito Park in virtual reality
Inkognito Park, a 3,300m2 building built in 1874, has a rich history and can be found right in the heart of Oslo. It has previously housed government officials including prime ministers and is now being transformed into one of the most sought-after coworking premises in the capital, run by Evolve Drive & 24SevenOffice. The project is set for completion in the spring of 2022. 

In order to be selected as a key player in this complex refurbishment project, AF Gruppen had to deliver on the project demands set out by the building’s owner, R8 Property. AF Gruppen’s eventual selection was cited as being a result of their demonstrated project experience, focus on sustainability, and high expertise in BIM processes and digital tools (namely, the innovative use of Varjo Teleport VR.)

“The first time the whole team was gathered in VR at the same time, we understood that VR is helping us to build better buildings. Simple as that.”

Jonas Lund - BIM and Digitalization Manager at AF Gruppen

From 3D modelling to virtual review in seconds.

An early challenge AF Gruppen faced was only having old blueprints to work with. To combat this, they began by scanning the existing building and importing a 3D model into Teleport VR, instantly giving them a better understanding of the building’s condition. The project team could now accurately visualize the current structure from all angles, and assess technical challenges caused by upcoming modernized MEP (mechanical engineering and plumbing) installations set to be fitted through the existing floors and walls.

With Teleport VR, AF Gruppen could easily identify key parts of the project that needed to be reworked, avoiding potentially huge costs for mid-construction adjustments. Additionally, Inkognito Park is a listed property with a protected façade, so performing the majority of early structural inspections in virtual reality carried the added benefit of reducing wear and tear of the real-life building.  

“What Teleport VR has helped us with most, is the ability to understand the feeling of space and ceiling heights. We had plans ready for implementation, but when we reviewed the model in Teleport VR in a 1:1 scale, we quickly found out that we were not ready to execute on the planned changes.

The height between the basement floor and the ceiling was too low, and with all the equipment we are aiming to assemble in the basement, we had to make changes. It really was a eureka experience for the project.

We went through two entire floors at Inkognito Park, and in each room we looked at the placement of electrical equipment, and it took us about 2 hours. If we would have done the same thing just spinning the model on a 2D screen, it would have taken at least twice as long. So, you get much more utility out of the models within VR, and at least for us, it has made everyday work-life very efficient.”

– Jonas Lund, Digitalization and BIM Manager, AF Gruppen. 


The importance of an intuitive project workflow.

When working on a complex project together with large design teams, communication and smooth workflows are essential for effective cooperation. Varjo Teleport VR formed a foundation for stakeholders working within, and alongside, AF Gruppen to have a common tool to collaboratively review the ongoing project.   

Technological skill and know-how can also vary across roles, but still Jonas was thrilled to see that Teleport VR, was intuitive, easy to set up, and quickly mastered by all participants. Employees remarked after testing that they would love to have a VR-headset laying on their desk to quickly jump into single sessions or collaborative meetings.

“User interface is the most important factor, and Teleport VR is the best solution we’ve tried yet”  

– Jonas Lund, Digitalization and BIM Manager, AF Gruppen. 

Get started with Varjo Teleport VR

For businesses looking to discover the vast possibilities with Varjo Services, virtual collaboration with Teleport VR is a good place to start. Click below to learn more about our out-of-the-box software, and how to get started. 

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