RMIT University’s property, construction and project management students are getting hands-on experience in Melbourne’s off-limits Metro Tunnel sites by repurposing the developers’ virtual reality platform.
The Cross Yarra Partnership Design and Construction (CYP D&C) had been inducting workers to subterranean workspaces using an immersive VR tour on an HTC Vive headset.
“Our virtual reality experience is designed to to take inexperienced workers into an environment that carries high risk and let them understand those risks before we take them to the physical underground space,” CYP D&C workforce development and training manager Jacinta Lanigan said.
But while RMIT sits just above the new State Library station currently being built under Swanston Street, the students could only watch from the sidelines as the project developed.
To make the most of the university’s proximity to the station, a partnership was struck up between RMIT, CYP D&C and the Melbourne Metro Interface Project Team (IPT) to give students access to the VR platform.
RMIT New Developments and IPT project director Murray Walls said the collaboration lets students follow the construction methods from inside the classroom activity and to move around through what would be a typical live construction experience.
“They can design elements, they can visualise elements, and it can all be done and changed very quickly and that’ll return a lot of benefit back to the students,” Walls added.
Lanigan added that it CYP D&C was working with the uni, not just as a stakeholder impacted by the ongoing construction, but because of the importance in exposing the future workforce in the emerging technology.
“It’s really important for these students to have and learn and understand new technologies.
“It is new technology to us, and it’s being embraced by both design and construction companies throughout the industry.”
Based on the early success of the VR platform, the uni plans to continue making the program available to students.