Q&D Construction & Swinerton Builders

Ritz Carlton Highlands Lodge, Resort and Spa


Vico Software's 5D BIM products and services enable Q&D/Swinerton (QDS) to coordinate between different trades, conduct effective communication, and save time and costs by running detailed constructability analyses.


The Highlands Lodge Resort and Spa project is a joint venture of Q&D Construction and Swinerton Builders, Inc. The team combines the large project experience of Swinerton Builders, San Francisco, with the mountain construction experience of Reno’s premier contractor, Q&D Construction.


Ritz Carlton Highlands Lodge Resort and Spa is being built on a 20-acre site at the Northstar-at-Tahoe Ski Resort in Northern California. The project consists of two main structures connected via an underground pedestrian tunnel. The main structure will house 173 five-star hotel rooms, an attached four-level parking structure, a 19,000 sq. foot spa, and commercial spaces. Seventeen luxury condominiums will occupy the hotel’s top floor.


A future phase of the project will include 58 luxury condominiums with dedicated underground parking.  The current phase of the resort will comprises 406,500 sq. foot building and ssix above-grade and four below-grade stories.



This large-scale project involves numerous design firms and poses multiple coordination and communication challenges. Project leaders bridge all parties to ensure efficient and cost-effective operations along with high-quality results. In addition, the scope of this project requires cutting-edge technology and constructability analysis to facilitate coordination of trades both prior to and during field operations. As with any project of this size and complexity, managing budgets and costs is critical. Due to the unusually heavy demands of this project, QDS was determined to find a sure-fire way to reduce errors, prevent delays, and minimize waste and expenses.



Vico Software’s Construction Services Team was brought in during the design development phase of the Ritz Carlton Highlands Hotel Project. Working closely with designers and subcontractors, the team created a detailed 3D model, which served as the hub for communication during preconstruction. To obtain the most value from the 3D coordination process, MEPF subcontractors were brought in on a design-assist role. Each was required to create a trade-specific 3D model according to a unique coordination protocol which enabled a smooth integration with the master Architectural-Structural model. Because the design team worked in a traditional 2D process, Vico Constructor enabled QDS to provide an Architectural-Structural model based on 95% Construction Documents (CDs) and to generate a model-based constructability report – a live document that is constantly updated – which identified spatial clashes, missing information, and discrepancies in the CD documentation.



A Vico BIM Services representative hosted bi-monthly, on-site coordination meetings with QDS, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection (MEPF) subcontractors.  At each meeting an assigned 3D model location was integrated and analyzed for clashes. Clashes identified during the previous meeting were reviewed and new clashes designated for resolution. With each meeting, the number of new clashes dropped indicating that the process had triggered profound noticeable changes in the efficiency of the construction team.


During the modeling process, the architect issued several updates and addenda to the documents set. With each release, Vico identified the changes, updated the model, and re-checked the synchronization. Using Vico Constructor, the team generated a 4D simulation to represent the sequence of construction. The simulation is used to identify inefficiencies in the schedule, improve communication, and support decision-making by visually defining the construction sequence to subcontractors and field crews.



In the first analysis of the integrated Architectural-Structural-MEPF model Vico’s
5D process identified more than 200 legitimate spatial clashes. By using the 3D model as a single communication point, QDS and the design-assist subs were able to identify, document, and address each issue as a team.

Using Vico’s 5D Virtual Construction Suite, QDS successfully coordinated designers
and subcontractors, establishing an effective change management process and facilitating better communication during pre-construction and on-site.



Looking Ahead
During the project’s next phase, QDS and Vico performed a changes analysis and
generated a report to document differences between the 95% CD and For Construction
documents. This report was used to update the 3D models to reflect targeted changes. A QDS project engineer assumed ownership of the 3D model and used it onsite during construction. The engineer, trained by Vico experts to act as 3D Model Manager, controlled the coordination process using the virtual construction model.


The team's next steps were to perform the schedule sequencing for the structural steel and slab model.  Superintendents on the job also had the luxury of doing a preconstruction walk-through where they were able to see exactly what had to get done in a particular area of the construction.


Marketing also got involved.  The Owner wanted images of the hotel for potential buyers illustrating the views from the upper levels.  These were easily produced from the virtual construction model.


To learn more about the project, please watch the archived Swinerton Case Studies episode of Fridays with Vico.