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Innovating the Way We Build with Virtual Design and Construction

Posted by Patrick Krzyzosiak on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 @ 06:03 AM
Patrick Krzyzosiak
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One of the greatest movements in the AEC industry today is the practice of virtual design and construction (VDC). We believe the impact and influence of this practice is so great that we prepared an editorial series to exclusively discuss how it influences each phase of a project’s lifecycle. 

Our editorial series will be authored by Patrick Krzyzosiak, Virtual Design and Construction Manager, along with Rudolph and Sletten’s expert team of in-house VDC professionals.  Our VDC team is comprised of experienced Architects and Engineers. Among them, Christopher Boehme and Brandon Neish play critical roles assisting design team. The VDC team offers true Building Information Modeling (BIM) solutions along with effective and efficient technology integration. The VDC team optimizes 3D modeling intelligence, 4D scheduling integration for construction, 5D cost estimating, as well as communication, collaboration, and predictive, proactive procurement.  What is Virtual Design and Construction?

Virtual design and construction is like SimCity for building facilities and infrastructure. Project stakeholders have the ability to use any given project site map to frame their BIM model by referencing concept drawings within budget benchmarks.  

From video game metaphor to workplace definition, virtual design and construction (VDC) is the management of integrated multi-disciplinary performance models for design and construction, including the structure (i.e. infrastructure, and/or facility), work sequences, and design and construction team logistics in order to support implicit BIM execution plan objectives.

Rudolph and Sletten, Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)

The five pillars of VDC include:

  1. 3D VDC Modeling and BIM documentation: In the early design phase, a Building Information Model (BIM) execution plan takes shape and tells the truth or reality about what the client should expect through the course of a project’s lifecycle.  This execution plan allows for a sharpened focus on a project’s strategic guidance.
  2. 4D Scheduling Integration for Construction Sequencing and Phasing: During design phases, we focus on using the model for construction activities. Our goal is to help project managers track and monitor everyday construction activities by comparing the actual cost of work performed against the budget of the work scheduled.
  3. Project Earned Value Analysis: In the early design phase, earned value analysis tracks and monitors the project’s earned value (PVE), which identifies areas of potential waste including quantities, schedule, cost 5D interactions and process risks.  Identifying areas of potential waste allows the team to make adjustments and enables a lean construction approach.
  4. Economic Impact Analysis and 5D Integrated Cost Estimating:  Early conceptual planning and estimating begins prior to design by establishing cost model benchmarks including a budget baseline, budget verification triggers, and cost trending by “today’s” market costs. Our goal is to optimize our preconstruction services with the implementation of 5D cost estimation.
  5. Virtual Building Coordination and Constructability Review: The practice of virtual design and construction always references the building information model to identify inconsistencies between design concepts and construction standards. For instance, in the early design phase, virtual design and construction visualization methods allows for a virtual “walk through” of a real-time, detailed, rendering of the facility. The virtual “walk through” allows the team to make adjustments, or tag areas of concern, before construction teams break ground. This early visualization allows the client to accelerate the decision making process and make more informed decisions.

VDC takes a predictive and proactive approach between the office and field activities throughout all project phases.

Virtual Design and Construction is applied during the entire project lifecycle.

These five pillars are common themes throughout each project phase. In our virtual design and construction editorial series, we will intricately weave a story of real world applications on how this practice is greatly changing the way we build at every stage, including: 

  • Conceptual Planning Phase, Series One
  • Design to Preconstruction Phases, Series Two
  • Construction Phase, Series Three
  • Project Close-out Phase, Series Four

Our Virtual Design and Construction Editorial Vision

We aim to begin an exchange with audiences interested in virtual design and construction.  The VDC building information model is the centerpiece for all areas of the project that need to be designed and managed including the facility or structure, all stakeholders responsible for conceptualizing, designing, constructing and operating a facility, and sequencing and logistics plan teams needs to follow. 

Our intent is to build a greater understanding of an integrated model. The model is multi-disciplinary because it is a source of shared data and, if a discipline changes one area, the integrated model will accommodate for the change upon dependent areas of related models.  Through a shared understanding of virtual design and construction, we strive to shift the paradigm in building great structures with our fellow designers, builders, craftspeople and facilities managers.

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Topics: Business, Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), Best Practice