How to Use 3D Virtual Tours For Faster City Planning Approvals

How to Use 3D Virtual Tours For Faster City Planning Approvals

Time equals money in just about every industry. In the world of construction, delays can lead to major expenses and considerable lost revenue. 3D Virtual Tours help prevent delays by providing city planning officials a better understanding of a project to expedite the zoning approval process. 

We all know that city planning boards have a process to follow. Unfortunately, the process isn’t always quick and efficient. Particularly with large or complex projects, boards won’t approve the plans until they have a clear understanding of the scope and details of the project. The more help you provide them in getting there, the faster the project will be approved.

3D virtual tours offer video-like views of how a project will appear when it’s complete. Board members and interested parties like abutters will know exactly how the project will be designed, how it will appear on the property and how it will look in the context of buildings around it. By commissioning a 3D virtual tour, you’re saving time by answering questions before they exist. 

Why 3D virtual tours?

3D virtual tours, or Augmented Reality Tours, are computer-generated images/videos of a property or development. They are panoramic and interactive, simulating what a person would see if they walked around the property. They offer 360-degree views of the property, from a variety of angles, and viewers can zoom in on specific features or details.

In most cases, 3D virtual tours are built around a photograph of the property. Virtual models are superimposed on geo-tagged photos, essentially a kind of augmented reality, which makes the tours realistic, not interpretive like artist renderings. City planning officials won’t have to imagine how the development will look on site; they’ll see it. They won’t have to wonder whether the project fits the character of the neighborhood.

As 3D virtual tours grow in popularity, builders and developers are using them in addition to, and sometimes in place of, 2D artist renderings. There’s no competition between the two when it comes to the level of detail and accuracy. Developers also gravitate to 3D tours because they are relatively simple to revise if changes are made to the plan or design. There’s no going back to the drawing board, so to speak.

3D virtual tours shape city planning, public opinion

A 3D virtual tour can be submitted to the city planning board as part of your site plan application. This extra touch shows city planning officials that your plan is complete and well thought out. Before you step foot in the meeting room for the first approval hearing, board members have a strong visual. They will have already formed an opinion, and if your project is attractive and well-designed, you’re likely to find that they are already warm to the project.

3D virtual tours are also used during planning board presentations to introduce your project to the public. We all know that a few crotchety neighbors can create a lot of controversy around a project - it just takes one person calling the local newspaper to complain. 3D virtual tours can squash controversy before it bubbles up by showing abutters that the project will be an attractive addition to the neighborhood, not an eyesore. A virtual tour can’t resolve every complaint, of course, but it gives you the leg up when it comes to public opinion.

The format of 3D virtual tours makes them easy to share. You can email links to city planning officials in HTML or Flash formats. Post them to your website or share them via social media sites. 3D virtual tours are tablet and mobile friendly, which is crucial because some 30 percent of web traffic comes from mobile devices these days.

Let’s be honest: There’s no way to guarantee a fast city planning board approval. Issues come up that need to be resolved, and some amount of design change is almost inevitable. But 3D virtual tours ensure that you and city planning officials are on the page, which is paramount to making the process efficient.