Picture This: Photo Sharing Solution Enables Efficiency in Singapore

With a short schedule and remote customer contacts, DPR’s team leveraged software in a non-traditional way to deliver a project on time.

By the time DPR had signed its agreement to fit out 5,000-sq.-m. of existing space for Curtin Singapore—a Singapore-based campus for Australia’s Curtin University—the project deadline was only 114 days away and needed to be complete. With many project stakeholders based nearly 2,500 miles away in Australia, keeping alignment among project partners was a key challenge to the schedule.

“Time and information sharing were key challenges,” said Sean Hillier, who led DPR’s project team. “We knew we’d have to have crews working around the clock and, while there were supply chain challenges like those being felt worldwide, our relationships with local partners helped ease procurement. But managing any issues that came up and providing progress reports in a timely way was vital.”

Curtin University student connects space made from wood facade paneling. Yellow/orange tinted lighting inside the pods with a computer connection.
Curtin University student connect space supports collaboration for students so they can come to work, study, or even relax. Photo: Project Innovations

The solution was using a tool at hand in a new way: the use of Matterport to capture immersive 3D models of the space in real-time as the project progressed.

“Matterport is a tool we’ve used in a variety of applications for 3D modeling as part of our virtual design and construction efforts,” Hillier said. “It was designed to do that, but we thought maybe this can be applied to solve our communication challenge.”

The team provided 3D scans of the space as weekly visual updates to keep remote customer stakeholders informed on progress throughout the project. Stakeholders from the school as well as from Navitas, a leading global education provider, could virtually walk the spaces with DPR’s team nearly in real-time, as opposed to a 1-2 day lag time with a more traditional approach. That also meant faster discussion of design: and or operational challenges arising from Covid-19, such as more incorporation of systems to support hybrid teaching platforms.

"These scans allowed the clients’ remote stakeholders, many of whom are unable to visualize layouts from design plans, to view controllable walkthroughs and provide spatial awareness, in order to better understand and implement if needed, operational and construction changes within the earliest possible timeframe,” Hillier said. “They felt much more informed about how the work was progressing and was able to bring even more stakeholders to the table to have input that would be normally feasible. This is especially notable as VDC tools are not yet widely adopted in Singapore, especially for interior projects.”

Curtin University nursing lab workspace for students. Blue nursing beds with large black numbers to label each work space. White and grey walls.
Curtin University nursing lab is a workspace for students to study and practice what they have
learned. Photo: Project Innovations

Completed on schedule and under budget, DPR’s scope included advanced mechanical works, structural works (internal stairs and slab opening), partition, ceiling and doors, floor finishes, joinery, loose furniture, signage, AV and teaching aid technology, and associated MEP works. All of it will support a new space spread across three floors in an existing building that includes classrooms, office space, a seminar room, a library, collaboration spaces, IT labs and nursing labs. DPR’s team worked nearly 70,000 worker hours over the course of the project without incident.

Hillier sees the creative use of VDC tools as instrumental for any project type.

“There are so many new tools at hand that can connect more people to projects and increase efficiency,” he said. “For the types of work we like to focus on, there are all sorts of applications for this sort of technology.”

Kitchen area. Brown wood-like cabinets, fridge, overhead lighting, and a seating arrangement.
Curtin Singapore features a variety of student spaces, including this kitchen area. Photo: Project Innovations
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