Case Study: How does Whitestone Enterprises save rework in design using VR?
Whitestone Enterprises is a design-build firm that offers Project Consulting, Custom Designs, Project Management & Turn-Key solutions. We talked to Rob Pryzma from the firm about how they use VR to ensure clients' needs are undertaken successfully and save rework in the process.
How has architectural visualization evolved and how does VR play a crucial role?
I've been doing renderings of architectural details, landscapes, and other things since 2010. Earlier, I was doing two picture renderings, but when I started creating videos, the clients had a lot more to look at since they could pause and play at their convenience and were able to see more than just a picture. However, VR takes technological advancement to a whole new level and raises the bar by allowing people to see the environment and actually feel the space before it is constructed. People are quicker and better at making judgments and incorporating changes since you can feel how large something is right next to you and we can quickly alter if something needs to be changed, which saves a lot of time and effort for us.
How are clients using VR in the design process?
Clients love seeing the space in VR. The time and effort to make changes and decisions are significantly reduced when they are actually visualized in VR. They're able to make quick decisions on things that would normally take quite a long time to resolve. It also saves money. For instance, one of our clients is building a home in Tennessee, although they are originally from California. I sent them an oculus so they wouldn't have to worry about traveling to Tennessee every couple of weeks for design reviews, and I gave them their Sentio 6-digit access code so they could view the tour I made for them. We are able to manage the decision process remotely, and Sentio's cloud-based service is a big help for us to cater to all of our clients in different ways.
Are clients comfortable using VR headsets?
Clients really enjoy the VR presentations; everyone is smiling and having a great time with it. When clients put on the headset and look around the space, we can tell by their expressions that they are enjoying it. To enhance that experience, if there is a step in the design, I place a viewpoint right on the steps so that the client gets to play with it, and when they turn around, they kind of get that jolt or that feeling of height, which is a lot of fun. It's an incredible experience. Like I stated, a lot of smiles and just a whole lot of fun. It really is a good representation of time.
What impact does VR have on productivity in the design process?
Without a doubt, VR is saving us hours. As I mentioned earlier, our clients are able to comprehend plans and make quick decisions that would have previously required a lot of time if VR presentations weren't used. While there are many modifications that are made to the projects when they are in the evaluation stage, like changing the floor plans, elevations, roof lines, and other details, with VR presentations, the errors and changes can be caught easily, saving a significant amount of time on the backend for our team, resulting in less number of revisions and rework in projects, which directly influences productivity.
How important is cloud-based collaboration for an efficient design review?
Cloud-based collaboration is a game-changer. There are clients living out of state and the possibility of seeing the progress of design with the cloud-based service is just overwhelming. We upload the content to the client's project on Sentio and, with a 6-digit access code, they can review their designs remotely. Furthermore, having the design with precise details in VR is so powerful because the clients had a hard time reviewing the designs using traditional tools like floor plans, videos, etc.
With VR, you can be in the actual space and examine all the details like lighting, textures, etc., and make faster decisions. There is a significant cost involved in the projects for the clients, and when clients experience the design in VR in the pre-construction stage, it helps lessen that risk and removes clients’ fear of the unknown.
What role does VR play in internal team communication?
VR does play a really important role not only with clients but also with coordinating internally with the team. Internal communication before presenting to clients is quite beneficial when working on significant projects with numerous teams, such as interior designers, landscape architects, builders, etc. For example, I used Sentio VR’s 360 interfaces for one of our major projects and added multiple notes to the 360 tours along with the description and images of the material. Then I presented it to the interior designer in VR, and we could make decisions if any changes had to be made. A well-integrated design is possible because VR makes the process more collaborative across different teams.
Check a quick video of Rob sharing his insights here:
A big thank you to Rob for sharing his experience with us. If you also want a great client experience for your design-build firm, try Sentio VR for free or get in touch with us directly.