Revolutionizing Building Management with VR


University of Sheffield's Diamond Building in VR Welcome to a glimpse into the future of smart building management! The University of Sheffield’s Diamond building, a beacon of modern architecture and technology, serves as a pioneering example of how Virtual Reality (VR) can transform our interaction with smart buildings. This post dives into my journey of integrating the Diamond’s sophisticated sensor network with a dynamic VR experience, using Unity.

The Challenge

Diamond Building's BIM Model The Diamond building, equipped with over three thousand sensors, constantly records data like temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels. However, making sense of this vast data pool proved challenging. My goal was to transcend traditional data analysis methods by leveraging the building’s detailed CAD model, creating an intuitive VR environment within Unity that brings this data to life.

The Solution

By marrying a gaming engine with architectural precision, I developed a VR system that lets users visually navigate the Diamond’s environmental performance. This system not only provides real-time insights but also tracks changes over time, offering a comprehensive understanding of the building’s dynamics.

Recognition and Impact

CIBSE Technical Symposium 2019

James Milton presenting at the Symposium My work gained recognition at the CIBSE Technical Symposium 2019 held at the University of Sheffield. Here, I presented my findings and received an award for the ‘Most Significant Contribution to Building Services’. A detailed account of my project is available in my published paper.

Expansion to ARUP Design

Following the success at Sheffield, I collaborated with ARUP Design to enhance the VR Smart Building platform. This new system not only monitors the Diamond’s internal environment but also visualizes external conditions like weather and wind.


Virtual Reality is not just a tool for gaming; it’s a revolutionary approach to building management. Through this project, I’ve seen firsthand how VR can transform data into insights, making complex environments like the Diamond more understandable and manageable. I invite you to delve into the details of this project through my paper and join me in exploring the potential of VR in smart building management. Thank you for reading, and I look forward to your thoughts and discussions!