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Disney wants adventurous software to help cut construction costs

ENTERTAINMENT GIANT Walt Disney has urged software manufacturers to develop more adventurous products to help it cut the time and cost of building its theme parks.

Disney is promoting the development of four dimensional computer modelling techniques and its Imagineering construction arm sponsored a two-day workshop at its Glendale headquarters and Stanford University in California this week.

The technique uses virtual 3D objects rather than two dimensional drawings to build up a design. The fourth dimension, time, permits users to leap forwards or backwards through the construction process to see how a building will look as it is assembled. This allows the different construction stages to be practised before site work starts.

Walt Disney spent £3.75bn on construction last year and has 1,200 internal CAD seats.

It has been working on 4D techniques with Stanford's Civil and Environmental Engineering Department for 10 months.

Workshop host Professor Martin Fischer said software companies had been reluctant to develop products for construction because they were unconvinced about the market potential.

Four dimensional packages already exist for process engineering, structural design and building, but there is no one package which works well across all disciplines.

Fischer claimed work done with Walt Disney demonstrates that 4D modelling could save between 20% and 30% on construction costs if used from start to finish of a contract.

Disney says that 4D systems can help speed up building and eliminate geometrical misalignments on site.

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