One Creative Environments Ltd. (One) – “The Virtual Mock-Up”

One Creative Environments Ltd. (ONE) was commissioned by Multiplex for “The Broadway”, a £420m mixed use development in Westminster.  It consists of six buildings – ranging between 13 and 19 storeys tall – surrounded by extensive public realm works. It sits on a 1.72-acre triangular site between Broadway, Dacre Street and Victoria Street and contains 268 luxury apartments


The high profile nature of the development, with stringent demands on quality, a tight programme, and a large amount of repeatability, prompted Multiplex to contract design practice ONE to develop a detailed BIM “virtual mock-up” for the project, needed to identify potential issues before going to site.

Construction teams on residential projects typically create full-scale physical mock-ups of key apartment types to enable the design and client team to inspect quality, and for contractors to test and resolve coordination issues ahead of the build.  However, mock-ups can be very costly (typically over £1 million), take months to build and require multiple alterations and iterations to resolve coordination issues (creating wastage), all while the construction programme advances on site.

To address these concerns, ONE worked with Multiplex to develop a “virtual mock-up” of one key apartment and corridor much earlier in the build, designed to improve coordination, test the design, resolve clashes and deliver a range of other benefits.

We believe this is an award-winning entry as is takes BIM into its next evolutionary step, obtains demonstrable tangible benefits, and is repeatable for other projects.  Modern procurement creates a growing gap between design and construction, that can be hard to bridge.  Suppliers are commissioned too late, design isn’t resolved early enough, and responsibility falls into grey areas, leading to frustration and wasted resources – the Virtual Mock-up exists to bridge this gap, which represents a method of merging the best professional minds and construction experience, with the latest BIM technology and process.

This entry stands out from the crowd as ONE has differentiated this offering from the current market.  By combining genuine onsite construction expertise, modelling skills, procurement and regulatory knowledge into one in-house team, the output is more than just 3D clash detection – issues around buildability, sequencing, health and safety, compliance and quality are reviewed and resolved, using the 3D model as the basis to test all of these aspects.  The result is a process that provides all the benefits of a physical mockup (and more), but with an estimated reduction in cost of 95%.  Additionally, the virtual mockup is more accessible to the supply chain and can be re-used within the project for further benefits.

Key achievements

  • Having now applied this Virtual Mock-up process to a project of this scale, this efficient approach can now be replicated on a range of other projects saving time, resources and money for clients and contractors.
  • Design and construction stage benefits: reduced material wastage, saving time in rectifying errors on site, ‘right first time’ approach, safer project working as logistics have been sequenced and reviewed in advance, reduced cost.
  • Operational stage benefits: maintainable assets have been carefully planned out to ensure they can be accessed and replaced, higher quality finishes due to the build being coordinated to a high level of accuracy before construction, less over-run due to reduced errors, less material wastage during construction, reduced cost.