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Introduction to VDC

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Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)

VDC has become a common practice in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry, but it does not have a scalable framework or management tool to inform and guide owners, architects, engineers and builders on their VDC performances.

The history of three-dimensional (3-D) modeling goes back more than three decades – primitive research on 3-D modeling began in the 1960s and migrated to commercial use in the 1970s largely in the automotive and aerospace industry (Bozdoc, 2003).  The Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry started its research in 1960s and adoption in the 1980s when cheaper, more powerful personal computers became available. The creation of these models, referred to as Building Information Modeling (BIM), allows AEC professionals to:

  • Achieve better building performance with higher accuracy and quality
  • Lower costs
  • Expedite schedules
  • Improve communication
  • Improve worker safety

These goals are most readily achieved when the organizational structures, labor resources, and processes involved in using these tools are chosen specifically to optimize project outcomes. This broader set of considerations gives rise to a second term, Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), the use of which has increased rapidly in recent years such that today more than 80% of major AEC firms in the US have adopted VDC applications (Barista, 2009).

A number of organizations and researchers have started creating an evaluation framework, emphasizing on different phases of the Virtual Design and Construction performance, with certain studies focused on some aspects more than others. We have tried to complement their research by working on a comprehensive and extensive evaluation framework aimed at conducting all-encompassing surveys for verification, and compiling case studies to investigate the industry norms of VDC practice. Based on the project assessment, the VDC Scorecard shall guide the project team to utilize more specific material based on the work of CIFE and other research institutes and industry partners. Leading and exploring this research (through surveys and benchmarks) will be important and valuable.

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