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VDC Primer: Understanding terms, creating real value

VDC Primer: Understanding terms, creating real value


“Where is the value?”

It’s the most common question companies ask when determining whether or not to try a new method of work. As the construction industry becomes more deeply entrenched in various modes of technology, Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is a system clearly upping the value companies are able to provide their clients.

VDC has been around for awhile, but plenty of companies aren’t entirely sure what it means or how it will change daily operations. We’re giving you a brief overview and a few useful recommendations for getting educated on VDC.

What is VDC?

VDC is a virtual computer-based representation of how various components will come together on a project before the project is built. The term is often used interchangeably with building information modeling (BIM), and the two do go hand in hand. But BIM is a tool in the construction process, whereas VDC is the overall approach to planning and mapping the project.

Where is the Value?

With VDC, companies are able to see how the hundreds of moving parts of a project will come together before the building process begins. It allows for early detection of potential problems, makes solutions easier to test and develop, provides better estimates of materials and services required from vendors and subcontractors, and ultimately cuts down on various wasteful processes like rework or prolonged decision-making. The detailed information provided by VDC saves time and money – two of the most valuable commodities for any construction project team  enabling them to deliver greater quality to owners. Ultimately, it comes down to project teams having all the information necessary to be able to make quick and informed decisions for the best possible outcome.

Required Reading, Viewing

Industry leaders like MortensonRyan Construction and DPR proudly emphasize their use of VDC, and there are plenty of resources out there for companies and professionals wanting to learn more. Building Design+Construction recently put together a great roundup of articles on VDC discussing latest trends, value gained in the industry, and much more. LinkedIn groups such as BIM Professionals and the BIM Roundtable also are an excellent resource providing a space where professionals of all levels can share information and ask questions to an educated community.

Finally, the video below is a worthwhile, 45-minute panel discussion from BIMForum 2014, discussing VDC from the owners', contractors', and architects' perspectives.

Fall BIMForum: Representatives from Hensel Phelps, Gilbane, The Beck Group, Methodist Hospitals and Mexico's ICAbim all discuss VDC last October in Dallas.

The author is public relations & marketing manager for NYC-based FieldLens. Before joining the software startup, she was a publicist for such authors as Hillary Clinton, the Dalai Lama, architect Toyo Ito, Charles Saatchi, Dieter Rams, and many more. Having grown up with a grandfather, father, and brother all owning industrial painting and concrete companies, her family ties to the construction industry comes full circle in her role with FieldLens.

Top photo © Wavebreak Media Ltd/Bigstock

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