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Digital Twin initiative – eComply

What we did and why

The VBA partnered with Land Use Victoria (within the then Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning), Development Victoria, Brimbank City Council, Victorian Planning Authority and Office of Projects Victoria in early 2021 on a digital twin initiative that aimed to develop a protocol and/or platform for an end-to-end digital development process (from planning, approval, occupancy, operation and maintenance, renewal to retirement).

What we found

The project delivered a proof of concept that incorporates planning and building ‘rules’ into an automated approvals platform with digital twin visualisation. Now called eComply, the proof of concept uses the Small Lot Housing Code to show how ‘rules-as-code’ can operate – using a ‘rules engine’ to automatically assess building design/plans through a portal that assesses the design against appropriate planning and building rules. The digital twin component of the ‘rules engine’ visualises the approved design within a development area.

What difference this made

The VBA’s participation helped us learn from and better understand digital twin technology and accelerate our journey towards digitalisation of building information. The eComply proof of concept shows the potential opportunity for the end-to-end digitalisation of the built environment through digital technology, which could deliver significant benefits to the building and construction industry and the Victorian economy.

Further development of the project (led by Digital Twin Victoria) has been incorporated within the Government’s Digital Twin Victoria program.

Building on the learnings of the proof of concept, Digital Twin Victoria partnered with Australian property technology start-up Archistar to further develop this innovative digital building and planning compliance assessment technology for builders, designers and architects to pre-check building designs against the Small Lot Housing Code. eComply can provide feedback on a 3D digital model of a new house in seconds (making 90 complex checks in around 90 seconds), helping to make building compliance with the Small Lot Housing Code easier and faster. This also means designers can rapidly make changes before sending their plans to a building surveyor for final assessment, cutting up to four weeks off the approval process.

With testing complete, the first commercial solution, Archistar Comply, is now publicly available for use in Victorian development projects that use the Small Lot Housing Code.

The eComply project will also deliver an open specification known as the ‘eComply Framework’ to build industry capability, support the development of more digital assessment tools, and encourage the broader adoption of digital building processes.