Implementing the right virtual design and construction (VDC) workflow is the key to getting the most benefit from building information modeling (BIM).
BIM and VDC have become industry buzzwords that have many different meanings depending upon who you ask. This, I find, is mostly due to preconceived perceptions and expectations. Some companies have had bad experiences in the past, which can lead to hesitations in fully adopting BIM on future projects.
To combat this, it is important to convey what our BIM/VDC workflows are, and more importantly, how they fit into this process.
Client involvement is critical in the VDC workflow
One huge advantage of BIM/VDC is providing a model fly-through of a new building or retrofit using Navisworks. CRB is able to review design elements, such as accessibility and spatial arrangements of equipment. Though this is a standard practice for a lot of firms, CRB has incorporated minor changes into our VDC workflow to promote more client involvement.
CRB uses colors to convey a reviewed space so time is not wasted going over areas and/or systems that have been reviewed and approved in previous meetings. For example, last week we met with a client and reviewed a WFI loop and it was approved. Fast forward to this week’s model review meeting. As we’re flying through the model, all WFI piping will appear green in the model, indicating it has been reviewed and approved. Now to take it a step further, let’s assume it’s a ONEsolution™ project. The color red can be used on that WFI piping to indicate that it has been released for fabrication. This will alleviate last-minute changes or it can convey the cost implications of changes.
Not only do we have the ability to review the model with our clients, but we can also give you access to the model using Assemble, a cost estimating tool that doubles as a model viewer, at no cost. Assemble’s primary use is with our construction group as a Quantity Take Off (QTO) tool, but can also be used as a web-based model browser. You don’t need any software to view the model, just an internet connection.
These are the conversations that need to be happening at the beginning of the project. Client involvement is key. It’s time to think outside the box and start using BIM to its full potential in a practical manner in order to drive better decisions.
*This is the first in a series of Practical Approach to BIM CRBlog posts.