There is a shift in the mentality of the construction industry in part due to the push by architects and engineers to adopt VDC software. VDC software is more than just a suite of new tools that can view three-dimensional buildings; it’s a process and a mindset that is changing how things are built. As always, the goal is to get projects in on time and to budget, and leading members in construction think VDC is what it will take to get it done. With the push towards VDC, what is it and how will it increase productivity?
What is VDC
VDC is Virtual Design and Construction. It’s how design and construction teams work together to simulate all work on a construction project. VDC is done with a 3D virtual environment that incorporates real-world factors. So designers can run simulations on the buildings before construction even takes place. The software VDC typically uses Building Information Modeling, or BIM, software to construct representations of the building. One of the big tools companies are using, besides BIM, in their VDC process is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Between BIM and AR/VR, project managers and designers can walk around sites and tell how everything should look.
VDC Software in Construction
As stated earlier, the big VDC software used in the process is BIM software; however, it isn’t the only software used. Companies are turning to online meeting rooms to collaborate on the projects. Online meeting software, like Go to Meeting, can aide in the VDC process. By ensuring that all of the teams can contribute to the plans in the same room, VDC opens the door to rapid real-world builds with less rework. Companies are even able to use AR/VR in their collaborative meetings to work through schedules and potential risk. The tools, or VDC software, used better the construction process.
The VDC Mindset
Besides VDC software or tools, there is a specific mindset necessary to reap the benefits of the VDC process. To benefit from the process, the design and construction partners must want the whole project to be successful. One might say that design and construction partners always want the project to be successful, but sometimes individual teams are more concerned about the success of their part rather than the entire project. The result is designs that don’t fit the space, parts that must be reworked, and schedules that don’t match the project. The entire project must succeed for the individuals to succeed. VDC encourages trust, respect, and proactivity in construction projects.
How VDC Software Improves Responses to RFIs and Change Orders
The application and continual use of VDC software and processes will help increase productivity in the construction industry in three key ways. Project managers that choose to implement VDC software and processes will see a reduction in change orders and requests for information, or RFI. And since there are open communication and collaboration during the planning phase, it is easier for contractors’ RFIs to be answered in the room rather than months down the line.
Businesses that are reluctant to use the processes must overcome the belief that information is a competitive advantage. If a business believes that their information on a project is an advantage over another company also working on the project, the process won’t be enforced. These mindsets are part of the reason behind change orders and RFIs. Because the information is siloed upfront businesses could be missing something crucial that ends up causing change orders.
Construction businesses that choose to use VDC software and processes have the added benefit of streamlined information sharing and clear communication. VDC software is about integration and ensuring that the designer’s plans can be viewed and commented on by everyone. Therefore, project management, accounting, and other solutions must communicate with shared platforms and plans. Then by adding in the cloud component, it ensures that everyone with access to the plan is working off the most recent of the plans. By working off the most recent plans and designs, contractors are less likely to have to submit change orders because one of the big culprits behind change orders is a lack of accurate information.
VDC software and process can improve profitability and productivity because it encourages collaboration. The increase in collaboration encourages sharing information and prioritizing the health of the project which in turn creates a better project. Contractors, subcontractors, and designers that adopt the process will find themselves more productive.