Risk analysis and communication for buildings using virtual reality




Terentjevs, Vitalijs

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Traditionally risk management is associated with identification, evaluation and prioritization of risks. Nonetheless, communication of the risks to the parties involved is of the utmost importance. By providing more complete and easy to perceive information regarding potential hazard impacts and economic losses, risk analysis output increases risk awareness and helps make risk-informed decisions. At present, in the field of civil engineering three-dimensional (3D) models are almost exclusively used for the design of structures. The presence of 3D and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies in risk analysis is extremely scarce. At the same time, there are potential advantages these technologies can provide to risk analysis and communication: the virtual 3D environment can emulate physical space and relationships between elements of the system, time-dependent simulations of hazard propagation, and awareness of physical dimensions of elements and their interconnection can be integrated. This work is concerned with the way to communicate risks associated with building systems to decision-makers by visualizing them on a 3D model of construction and through simulation in a VR environment. For this purpose, the Almonte Power Plant in Mississippi Mills, Ontario, is analyzed as a case study. It is a small scale hydropower plant that is at risk of flooding, being located close to the Mississippi River. The last large scale flood in this region occurred in April 2019. The novel methodology is applied to the aforementioned case study and further experiments are performed to test the sensitivity of the model to various parameters. The parameters of interest are flow rate and the degree of dependency between elements. Risk scores are obtained and evaluated as a function of flow rates and duration from the onset of flooding. The change in the degree of dependency between various elements of the electrical system allows an illustration of the importance of expert judgement of those dependencies.



Risk management, Building Information Models, Virtual Reality, Flooding simulation, Risk awareness