By Applications Software Manager Ralph Kreider and Virtual Design & Construction Engineer Patrick Scarpati
The changing pace of design and technology has the potential to make the construction industry more efficient and building information modeling (BIM) remains at the center of opportunities for virtual design and construction (VDC). While we have used BIM and VDC on numerous projects in the past, most of the heavy lifting was accomplished through third-party consultants. In 2019, we shifted this paradigm and dedicated project resources towards advancing these efforts in-house.
BIM vs. VDC
BIM is a process that provides a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of a facility. This technologically enabled process allows project teams to work together in a single model. A BIM file includes details of performance characteristics, specifications, and other non-physical data embedded in a shared 3D digital model of the project. VDC, like BIM, is also a process with the application of various construction technologies to improve the overall effectiveness of project delivery. Models are used from the inception of a project through the turnover into construction operations to improve overall understanding of the project and promote effective team collaboration.
As a result of our increased commitment to VDC and BIM, we have seen the following value-adds:
- Optimized project schedules with better sequencing and trade coordination
- Improved communication and collaboration by working together in a single model
- Identification of coordination and constructability issues prior to the start of construction
- Enhanced construction document quality prior to trade partner bidding
- Digital coordination prior to installing building components
These value-adds all have one thing in common: identifying and resolving future issues prior to them becoming real issues in the field. One important factor we cannot forget is being able to marry field knowledge with software knowledge. By taking models and putting them into the hands of our employees and trade partners, we are able to verify our preconstruction efforts and quickly resolve anything that might have slipped through the cracks.
At the end of the day, BIM and VDC are just a few of the tools in our toolbox that the Harkins team is leveraging on a day-to-day basis to deliver an exceptional customer experience.