VDC in Action: What does it look like?

VDC in Action: What does it look like?

Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is about people. But the best people can only do so much without the right tool. And even with the right tool, the best people will not achieve anything in a poor workflow. Still, the best people, tools, and processes will not matter much unless they focus on the right things. When properly implemented, VDC can help project teams navigate the challenges of unpredictability.

People Tools Process Objectives

"The path to the pinnacle of the VDC maturity program covers a multi-stage ascent for a team, a project, and an organization," said Flora Liu, VIATechnik Studio Lead, during the VDC in Action webinar. "Before you even take the first step on the journey from BIM to full VDC potential, the company culture must be prepared."

 

VDC is a concept that’s been around for 20 years, with its inception credited to two professors from Stanford University. Despite two decades of practice, some firms still struggle to realize value from investment in VDC. What sets those organizations that realize ROI from this investment apart from the pack? VDC maturity.

In VIATechnik’s VDC Maturity Curve report, we describe a core need in implementing VDC, where it is imperative to have the senior leadership initiate a three-phased approach:

I. Setting the foundation - Focus on alignment with the organization's business strategy

II. Breaking down VIATechnik's VDC Maturity Curve to assess where a program is and where it can go

III. Supporting the VDC journey – Determine how VDC can be operationalized into the DNA of the project portfolio

How can project-level VDC execution drive enterprise-level results?

For PCL Construction, integrating VDC into a trailer complex setup project, for instance, enabled them to optimize the trailer layout and reduce its size by ~30%, as well as maintain an aggressive fit-out budget by procuring used furniture. PCL is a master at creatively infusing VDC as an organizational mindset to empower better decision-making, leading to better outcomes.

Photo credit: PCL Construction
Photo credit: PCL Construction

"When we're planning out how we're going to mobilize to the site, the VDC team laid out the overall trailer complex for all the trades that we're going to have trailers on site," said John Tocci, PCL's VDC Manager. "Doing things like that saved money, solved problems, and made for a far more flexible work environment for the entire project team."

How can organizations evolve their VDC journey?

In Ryan Companies' case, their VDC journey started in 2012. At that time, they had VDC generalists who did "all things to all people." They started the transition to honing their VDC teams into sector specialists in 2015 and went one step further in 2018 by layering in client specialists. It became Ryan's organizational evolution to meet the growing project complexity and more complex client needs.

"If you want to advance VDC throughout your business and throughout that enterprise-level change, it's got to be tied back to broader goals than just it advances VDC," said Megan Conrad, Ryan's Senior Director of Operational Excellence. "It's bigger than that. We can do so much more; we can help in other areas of the business, and making that case is important."

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Photo Credit: Ryan Companies

How can organizations align VDC with their strategy and objectives?

The Boldt Company is working on developing more robust standards and tying those into their operational objectives to achieve improved outcomes on their projects and across the enterprise. Integral to their standards now are peer reviews across team members to transfer the information VDC leads have and make recommendations. As a result, they can identify who they can train to bring into the fold of learning the different tools they have. They are also spending a lot of time on self-perform, focusing on thinking through the type of model libraries they need to capture.

Photo credit: Boldt
Photo credit: Boldt

"Boldt has a high level of focus on creating VDC-enabled project team members," said Josh Mercado, Boldt's Director of BIM and Technology Integration. "One of the ways we do that is to make sure the fundamentals of any kind of model maintenance, the information that the project team is reviewing is up-to-date and has a high level of quality. A lot of times, it takes an experienced professional to monitor that process. What we found is that we can train up our senior project engineers and, in some cases, our project managers to understand how this work needs to happen."

To learn more about VDC in action, fill out the form to access the webinar recording.

VDC in Action

How can construction organizations unlock the value propositions of a well-executed VDC process?

This is an encore presentation of the session delivered at Digital Built Week conference in Anaheim, CA.

This webinar was recorded on July 8, 2022. Fill out the form for immediate access to the recording.

View this interactive session with experts to:

  1. Learn how best-in-class organizations have evolved their VDC journey
  2. Understand how project-level execution can drive enterprise-level results
  3. Gain insight on how to align VDC with your organization's strategy & objectives.

Speakers:

  • Flora Liu, VIATechnik, Studio Lead
  • John Tocci, PCL Construction, VDC Manager
  • Megan Conrad, Ryan Companies, Senior Director of Operational Excellence
  • Josh Mercado, The Boldt Company, Director of BIM and Technology Integration
Register for Instant Recorded Session Access

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