You could say Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is a practice that ensures the best BIM plans do not go to waste. It is an integrated process focused on the data management of multi-disciplinary design and construction models. BIMs capture and organize the design and construction work processes required to meet project scope and business objectives. VDC analyzes project data to both identify and then mitigate risks that may jeopardize project cost and schedule goals. Evaluation includes the visualization and analysis of 2D details in a 3D environment enabling a design to build approach. You could say VDC ensuring more reliable information and better decision-making. This post offers a few tips on how to run a productive VDC meeting.
If you have not yet experienced a VDC meeting, you will. VDC is gaining traction among innovative builders and architects. You’ll find expert judgment is critical. VDC requires a significant change in the behavior with regard to how a project will approach design and construction processes. There is a dramatic reduction in decision latency, or the time between asking a question and having sufficient information to make a more reliable design decision.
The three key goals for VDC is to
- Reduce as much risk (RFIs, change orders) as possible;
- Maintain “lean” design practices by reducing rework, and;
- Develop reliable models in preparation for construction.
Tools and technique: BlueBeam Studio and Revit embedded images
Many project teams are using multi-disciplinary VDC models in their daily, weekly and major milestone design, planning and review meetings. The following list offers up a few helpful tips for your next VDC meeting:
- Invite all relevant stakeholders to the project kickoff meeting, including the owner or owner’s representative, architect, major contractors, consultants and users.
- Subsequently, invite all relevant stakeholders to the project meetings.
- Hold project kickoff, major review, weekly and daily design and construction project meetings in a room with multiple computers, ideally with high resolution screens that all participants can see simultaneously.
- Define the project, organization and process vocabulary in a generic model as part of the kickoff meeting.
- Plan the agenda around description, analysis and evaluation of the project together with organization and process issues as shown explicitly in models.
- Assign someone to take notes, capture and communicate action items.
- Make sure to communicate clearly. Don’t assume that everyone understand the technology, terminology, and integration like you do.
- Track team performance, such as number of issues found and resolved with potential cost and schedule impacts. It motivates people.
- Follow a well-defined agenda with a clear purpose and objective. Meetings should be concise, productive and lead to the next action items. Resolve pending action items or bulletin items as soon as you can. Only invite those who need to be present.
- To effectively participate in the design, project stakeholders should be able to access the visual VDC models to understand all models as they evolve, and express their perspectives in a timely manner to other stakeholders. A visual is worth a thousand words.
- In the meeting, identify the VDC models and visualizations for the project that will help stakeholders provide meaning and timely input to the project design and management.
- Questions can be formal “Requests for Information” or informal inquiries of fellow stakeholders using log or markups using BIM 360 Glue.
Tools and Technique: Design and construction coordination using BIM 360 Glue
- Provide your solution to a problem if no one has an answer.
- Understand how your process outcome can enable a productive and efficient production design, fabrication and construction.
- Create an integrated team to integrate processes. Help others, others will help you.
- Use cloud collaborative environment tools and techniques like Glue. Track your team’s work performance data such as number of issues found and resolved with potential cost and schedule impacts.
Communication, understanding and active participation are essential to a productive VDC meeting. Teams find interactive 3D models more insightful than static 2D plan and section drawings. Similarly, 4D building-construction process animations are much more understandable than the traditional project schedule Gantt charts. Interactive project models are mutually parametric in the sense that a change or highlighting any one variable will lead to instant change or highlighting in all others that are dependent. Models can be examined with respect to how they relate to each other - each model grows to support the issues of others. The time to get explanations and make decisions drops from days to seconds and the likelihood of both design and construction rework drops because relevant stakeholders have increased ownership and engage in timely participation and decision-making.
Do you have any additional tips for running a more productive VDC meeting? Please share them with us in the comments section.