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IMA Architects Demo ‘UK First’ at  25th Anniversary Event

IMA Architects Demo ‘UK First’ at 25th Anniversary Event

On Friday 2nd September, IMA Architects (IMA) and guests celebrated a successful 25 years in business with an event at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium.

Started in 1997, IMA has progressed to become one of the leading architectural practices in the Midlands, working on projects for companies such as Clowes Developments, Lidl, Taylor Wimpey and Toyota UK.

IMA’s anniversary event not only celebrated the past achievements of the firm, but also looked to the future of architecture with the multi-award-winning firm demonstrating a new prototype – ‘The Digital Twin’. 

Believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, IMA’s ‘Digital Twin’ prototype has been designed – and successfully tested – to accurately represent a physical space as a virtual model. Linked to a Building Information Modelling (BIM) Model, sensors in the physical building feed data back to the virtual model, showing how even the slightest change could impact performance in the real world. This grants the building owner or manager access to real-time data with an in-depth analysis of a building’s performance.

This is significant as it means that tests can also be run in the virtual space, allowing users to gain information on important metrics such as energy consumption to carbon emissions, informing decisions that are made in the real world.

In this instance, the ‘physical space’ is at IMA’s headquarters in Blaby.  Two new outbuildings known as the ‘IMA Digital Pods’ have been installed – a staff coffee area and a small gym. The pods use the latest Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to collect real-time data from the relevant spaces and feed it back “through a cloud platform” into a 3D model that has accurate information about the pods’ structure and assets installed within. This data is then analysed and visualised virtually within the Digital Model and can be stored in the cloud for further analysis. Commands can also be sent from the Digital Model to activate or deactivate devices in the Pods as well as monitoring performance.  

Ian McCann, IMA’s Managing Director comments:

“It was great to celebrate 25 years of business with so many of our industry peers, and we are incredibly excited to see what the future holds as we embark on the next 25”.

Dr Asem Al Bunni, Design and BIM Associate at IMA added:

“At IMA, we believe that the successful use of BIM and ‘Digital Twin’ is the future of building design, and having more buildings with this level of information and intelligence will play a huge part in helping the UK meet its Net Zero targets, reducing costs for businesses along the way.” 

“Amongst other things, it has the potential to lower construction costs by 33%, increase delivery speed by 50%, and lower emissions by 50%, the latter of which is incredibly important as the Government continues to set out plans to decarbonise all sectors of the UK economy. And with increasing energy costs, the Digital Twin will be an incredibly valuable cost-saving tool, leading the way to a better, greener, future.”

IMA is an award-winning firm of architects based in Blaby, Leicestershire. The firm has grown from a two-person team to now employ 20 members of staff and work with a range of FTSE 100 companies, such as Marks and Spencer, and global brands such as Lidl. The company is a proud sponsorship partner of Leicester Tigers RFC, Leicester City Football Club, and Leicestershire County Cricket Club.

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