BAM Nuttall bring virtual reality to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017 for the first time

Industry leading civil engineering contractor BAM Nuttall, is partnering with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) to bring virtual reality (VR) to the Chelsea Flower Show (23rd-27th May) for the very first time this year, creating a virtual experience of the prestigious garden exhibition for the official website

Members of BAM Nuttall’s London based Innovation team are using Matterport cameras and software to create a virtual walkthrough scan inside the Great Pavilion, replicating the route that the royals will take on Monday 22nd through the marquee’s exhibits. Alongside this, BAM Nuttall will also be capturing 360-degree images of many of the globally-inspired show gardens.

All of BAM Nuttall’s content will go live on Monday 22nd, allowing members of the public to immerse themselves in the world famous five-day show, especially those that the missed the opportunity to get tickets to the sell-out event and also making the show far more accessible to all.

“With a phenomenal growth in popularity for VR in recent years, BAM Nuttall is thrilled to be working at this iconic event,” says Colin Evison, Head of Innovation at BAM Nuttall. “This will be the first time we have created VR content outside of the construction industry but are looking forward to giving visitors a souvenir of the event and showing off the state-of-the-art designs to those who were unable to make it in person this year.”

BAM Nuttall will be capturing the royal walk and gardens on the weekend before the show opens, working around the exhibitors setting up their displays and alongside the judging panel assessing the finished gardens. Using leading edge technology the team will capture images in a carefully planned sequence to ensure the fine detail of the exhibits is shown at its best. Data captured by the camera is then accessed via a tablet to ensure the modelling is complete. Images will be taken at eye-height level to virtually replicate what visitors will be able to see when walking through the pavilion. For the show gardens, 360-degree images will be taken from the centre of each plot, providing a previously inaccessible viewpoint for the public.

“It’s going to be a busy and hectic time to work in the final hours of show preparation but we are working closely with the RHS operations team to ensure we do not get in their way,” continues Colin. “Obviously we are mindful of the sensitivity of the show environment which has had untold hours of planning, cultivation and construction, but we are well placed as we have extensive experience and skills learnt in creating infrastructure within sensitive and constrained spaces. This is a different challenge and hopefully will be the start of a long lasting relationship between us and the RHS.”

Nick Mattingley, RHS Director of Shows, says: "RHS Chelsea Flower Show is more innovative and cutting-edge than ever before and this Virtual Reality experience, another first for the Show, will enable us to bring the world's most prestigious flower show into the homes of many thousands more people who missed out on tickets this year. We're so excited about BAM Nuttall's plans and can't wait to see the finished product which will be available on the RHS website from Monday 22nd May. We want to share our love and passion for horticulture and hope this immersive Virtual Reality experience sparks an interest from people who mightn't have considered the joys of gardening before."

BAM Nuttall’s previous use of this technology has included capturing the bridge exhibition at the Institution of Civil Engineers which has resulted in people from across the globe being able to visit the exhibition virtually. Internally it has been used for site inductions allowing construction workers and visitors to familiarise with their surroundings and health & safety procedures, without having to be on the premises. More recently, BAM Nuttall have used VR on its offshore project site in Blyth, installing five-full size gravity base foundation to wind turbines off the Northumberland coast.

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