Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) in construction project planning

by Kevin Martin BIM Manager
Virtual Design & Construction is the methodology that allows the management of multidisciplinary 3D models integrated into design and construction projects. The advantage of having the different models of our building fully modeled before the start of the work is unprecedented in the construction industry.

Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) is a methodology created by Stanford University in California, USA, which uses as a fundamental tool the virtual model of the building, known as 3D BIM Modeling, which is mistakenly believed to only serve to detect collisions between different disciplines in the design phase, and is developed in parallel in the evolution of the 3D virtual model and its purpose is to establish the way in which the building will materialize, taking into account:

  • Time (4D)
  • Cost (5D)

VDC uses the data generated in the 3D BIM models to manage production processes (Project Production Management) using these two variables (time and cost). This allows more precise planning to be able to model the sequences of the construction processes and discuss the alternatives to improve productivity from the model, evaluate the impacts on the cost of any alternative in the design, etc. However, the great potential of this methodology will depend on the collaborative environment that is generated in the project team.

Virtual Design & Construction establishes the coordination procedures for the construction elements of the virtual model, taking into account the following aspects:

  • 3D BIM Modeling: (M, for Modelling)
  • Time, planning and programming, 4D BIM: (S, from Scheduling)
  • Cost estimate, 5D BIM: (C, for Cost)

Currently, the implementation of BIM procedures has been following the life cycle of a building, there are already BIM experiences in the design phase, but it is still little in the construction phase, so it is very important to know and establish the criteria for the Project Content Level or Level of Development (LOD), taking into account the three aspects mentioned above, Model (M), Planning (S) and Cost (C).

Likewise, in the Virtual Construction phase, it is where the fourth dimension has created in the construction. When we talk about 4D we will refer to the incorporation of time as the fourth dimension of the 3D model, that is, the project schedule linked to the 3D model, which will allow us to create a simulation of the construction according to the planning established by the team that manages the project.

So in this phase, two processes of a very different nature are integrated:
Although the 3D modeler does not require programming skills, they do need to learn modeling skills so that their models are Level of Development (LOD) and compatible with the needs of the person responsible for programming the project in the construction phase.

Planning a construction project is a task-based on experience, technique, and knowledge of construction processes, and in this phase, the planner will need some tools to help him create 4D construction simulations that allow him to define the best scenario to carry out. Project scheduling, to reduce economic risk and make the project run smoothly. To do this, you will need to be able to interoperate between planning and a model called pre-construction that allows you to execute your plan as efficiently as possible.


Finally, when we approach a project using the VDC Services methodology, it is important not only to have construction knowledge but also to know how it is going to be built, which is why construction companies that are implementing BIM have recently begun to intervene in the early design phases to that they also set their guidelines and level of collaboration because, in the end, they will be the ones who will use this preconstruction model to extract measurements, budgets, work planning, create the As-built model and more uses that with the acquired maturity they will be implementing.

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About Kevin Martin Innovator   BIM Manager

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Joined APSense since, March 23rd, 2022, From California, United States.

Created on Jun 7th 2022 06:16. Viewed 54 times.


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