Hi-tech checks for 17 Walsall tower blocks

By Deborah Hardiman | Walsall | News | Published:

Fire crews visiting high rise flats run by Walsall Housing Group can use cutting edge technology to check on incidents before arriving at the premises.

3D image of Woodall House, in Bloxwich

The social housing landlord, also known as (WHG), has unveiled a ground breaking app which makes use of virtual reality science.

The housing association working in partnership with digital design and engineering group Deeo came up with the 'Twinned I' app which provides 3D models of all 17 of its high rise buildings.

It works by using Business Information Modelling (BIM) to create computerised versions of the tower blocks. The 3D models include floor plans, drawings, repairs, materials and fire doors.

The information can be accessed by West Midlands Fire Service which can log on to the app in the event of a fire to assess the incident before arriving at the scene.

In addition a customer-friendly version is available for tenants who can wear a headset to virtually walk around the high rise blocks. It is anticipated that in the future the technology will be able to be used for potential customers to view available flats before accepting a tenancy.

WHG's director of energy and programme management Paul Dockerill said: “In the past, information on a building was all paper based, or stored on a computer that could only be accessed by a few. There was no central point to store data, and there was a danger that what was stored was out of date.

“This app means we can constantly update information on our buildings, making sure that everyone – from our maintenance team to the fire and police service, have live data on our properties. The interactive design means people can “walk through” the building, opening doors and turning corners using virtual reality.

“This project is still in its infancy, but has already been applauded by the fire service, who have commented that the technology will save them time in assessing incidents and help them make early decisions.”

The new app was unveiled at a special presentation attended by industry experts.

Deborah Hardiman

By Deborah Hardiman

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star based out of the head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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