IMA Architects (IMA) and guests celebrated a successful 25 years in business with an event at Leicester City’s King Power Stadium. The event not only celebrated past achievements, 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’ was designed – and successfully tested – to accurately represent a physical space as a virtual model. Granting the user access to real-time data with an in-depth analysis of a building’s performance, the Digital Twin is linked with Building Information Modelling (BIM) – 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. 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.

At IMA’s HQ 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) to collect real-time data before feeding it into a 3D model that accurately displays information about the pods’ structure and assets. This data is then analysed, 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.

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.

“At IMA, we believe that the successful use of BIM and our ‘Digital Twin’ is the future of building design, and having more buildings with this level of 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.”