Vico Office Document Controller FAQs

Vico Office Document Controller is the first step in the 5D Workflow.  Users simply organize their drawing sets and model versions as they become available and load them to the Registry. 


Now here's where the magic happens.


Document Controller detects where changes have occured between drawing sets and model versions.  This is displayed with a very easy-to-use color-coded system: green means no changes were detected; red means that changes were detected.  Now the user can pinpoint those changes by placing the two document versions on top of each other and using the slider bar to reveal the changes.  Another method is the highlight mode which reveals changes much like a light table.  Once located, the changes can be clouded and annotated and logged in the Vico Office Issue Manager.  These issues can now be routed for discussion, or even to estimators or modelers to consider the impact of changes.


In just the same way, users can also compare 3D model versions.  Again, with either the slider bar or highlight mode, new elements, deleted elements, and changed elements can be revealed.  These, too, can be clouded, annotated, and routed to the correct teammates.  And with a right-mouse-click, new model versions can be activated for quantity takeoff.  And if you know Vico Office, those new quantities ripple through
the schedule and cost plan and update each.


What makes Vico Office Document Controller unprecedented in the construction industry is the ability to compare the coordinated 3D models with the 2D contract documents.  Users can slide in drawings onto reference planes in the 3D model and compare what has been drawn to what has been modeled.  Finally, there is no longer a disconnect between the 5D BIM Workflow and the contract.


After reading through these questions, please navigate across the product line:

Vico Office FAQs

Vico Office Client FAQs

Vico Office Constructability Manager FAQs

Vico Office Takeoff Manager FAQs

Vico Office LBS Manager FAQs

Vico Office Schedule Planner FAQs

Vico Office Production Controller FAQs

Vico Office 4D Manager FAQs

Vico Office Cost Planner FAQs

Vico Office Cost Explorer FAQs

Also read through these questions:

Model Progression Specification FAQs

Location-Based Managememt System FAQs (the theory which powers Vico scheduling solutions)

5D Data Pack FAQs


We also have a Vico Office Video Training Series for Estimators, Schedulers, Supers, and PMs who are looking to learn how to use the software.  The videos are just 2-5 minutes in length, but dive into a particular feature.  You can follow along with extra commentary and resources on our website or download the series to your desktop.




Q:  Is this the same technology that PlanSwift and On-Screen Takeoff use in their systems?


A:  Initially the functionality may look the same in all three sytems. You bring in 2D drawing information and for all three you can view them. The big difference is in the comparison capabilities. In Vico Office we use the graphics engine that allows us to review individual entities not of just model elements but also for the 2D entities.  That results in being able to highlight where the differences are. So that way we can color code those line segments or those objects in red, yellow or green.


Q:  Do drawings have to be aligned when they're printed in order to accurately compare them?


A:  If the PDFs have been misaligned during the printing process you can go on to the different reference planes that are created inside Document Controller and you select different points. So you would pick two end points from the first PDF and two end points from the second PDF to get them aligned in the same direction. So you can actually match them up if the version has changed a little bit.


Q:  Is this going to be a standalone product or is it part of the Vico Office 5D work flow?


A:  It is part of the 5D workflow in Vico Office.  So for example if a drawing changes and you log an issue that reflects that change, the Issue Manager can be used by the cost planners and the schedule planners to make sure that that change is incorporated in the updated cost and scheduling information.


Q:  Can we view these changes in multiple models at once?


A:  The comparison is one model to another model. But you can include additional models in that comparison for context. So say you're comparing the facade models version one and version two then you can include the structure as well to provide the context.


Right now we're not able to compare three models at once. But what we can do is compare across multiple versions that are not necessarily in order. So if you wanted to compare the model from week 8 with the model of week 12 you can skip over the model of week 10 and view just those two in a single view. But in general for right now we have two model comparison.


Q:  What are the maximum number of drawings you can compare in the version column?


A:  With 2D drawings you can conceivably compare as many as you wish. So if there were nine design releases on your project it's a possibility. However, after three it gets difficult to see and delineate the differences between them. You could go as deep as you like but I usually keep it to about three.


And in regards to how many version columns in the Document Controller interface one can have... And the answer is as many as you like.


Q:  Does the 3D comparison pick up non-geometric comparison changes?

A:  At the moment it doesn't but it sounds like a great thing to look at. We focused on the geometry first because that directly impacts the quantities. But having the ability to look at attributes may be something to look into in the future as well.


Q:  In the model version comparison what are the parameters used to define modified elements? For instance can it be location, geometry, object parameters such as sight or mark type?  Is there a way to pick what to look for and report that categorically?


A:  I think there is a 2D and 3D answer to this but I believe the question is mostly about the 3D answer. Still I will answer in 2D world as well... Because you do have the ability to pick which criteria you want to include in the comparison and which one you want to exclude. For example, you can say that you don't want to include in the comparison the text entities. For model comparison it is everything that has an impact on the geometry. All of the properties such as location, height, width, etc. all result in a code that is saved with the object and if any of those parameters change then we know that that code has changed there is something that must have changed in that object. The other parameters (attributes) are currently not considered.


Q:  What happens when an architect doesn't use the same origin point when sending over two sets of drawings?


A:  In that case we just select two points on each of the drawings and we match them up. So we look for something like the corners of the building or maybe a notch out slab area and we select points on the first drawing and then points on the second drawing and align them that way.


Q:  How do the comparison reports look?  Is everything listed numerically, categorized, summarized or can users create their own change reports?


A:  The report engine is totally customizable. Whatever layout and format you want for your report you can go in and create. And then there are different data fields in issue manager such as the owner of the issue or trades involved and even location and severity of issue. So the user has the flexibility to filter them and output them in any way they need. So you could run an issue report just for the structural changes that have occurred. Or you could run a report specific to the exterior facade trade contractor and the metal imbed stud contractor. And then put a filter on that so that the PDF or excel export is configured however you would need it.


Q:  Does the program pick up on non-scaled changes on 2D design documents?


A:  You would want to go through the align and scale process of the two documents to get them at the same exact size. And the way the program works is it looks for geometric position of the two different lines... You can actually set a tolerance on how different that geometry needs to be. SO for example you can set a 2" tolerance on geometric position. But once you align those 2D documents and you set that tolerance that's what really alerts the program to the sensitivity you have for comparison.


Q:  What file types can be overlaid onto reference planes?


A:  We've looked at what file types are typically used for contract documents and the vast majority of documents that are being shared for that purpose are PDF.  So PDF is the file format that you can bring in and put on the reference planes.


Q:  Do you support BCF in Document Controller?


A:  We do not yet support BCF in Document Controller.


Q:  Are documents stored in network folders or the Vico database?


A:  The PDF documents are stored inside of the Vico database but they maintain a reference to their source location and that reference is helpful because you can actually display the source location right in the green and red cells so you know where they are coming from.  So it's fully loaded into Vico but it has awareness of where it came from and if you ever need to edit the information about where the source folder is located you can do that. For other documents such as the pictures and excels, they do look for the Source folder location to open in the external applications that are not necessarily built into Vico.


Q:  Can the entire 2D document be looked at when doing comparisons without using the slider? And can you simply toggle on and off like the demo to see the changes quickly?


A:  Yes it is possible to turn the 2D drawings on or off. But we like the sliders so much we like to showcase that piece in particular!


Q:  What about Bentley Microstation drawings? Do they work as well?


A:  They work just as well. Just save them as a PDF file and then open them in the document register in Document Controller.


Q:  When you import the drawings into Vico it shows you the version and displays a green and red if something has changed... Now how sensitive is that tool? Does it need to be a large change for Vico to recognize or it something minute?


A:  It will pick up even the smallest things. But there are settings in the 2D comparison mentioned earlier that allow you to exclude some of the entity from comparisons. So it is user definable as well.


Q:  So we are getting in all of these different drawings and models. Could you use the comparison for different disciplines from one version to another to ensure that all parties are developing their models and drawings at similar rates? Just to make sure that a sub isn't falling behind or developing their ideas to quickly?


A:  Yes you can absolutely do that. And one of the cool things about the different documents that you can store within Document Controller is that you can have your Model Progression Specification stored in there so the template that you work on to define what that progression should be can be stored in the document register with all of the different subcontractor models and the different versions releases. And you can view your MPS register right there against the latest model release to see that you are really matching it. As well as being able to go back to different versions of it to see how it's progressed.


Q:  Do you have an iPad app for Vico that can access Document Controller or different Vico modules?


A:  We do not have that. Vico Office is a desktop/laptop version. But is certainly something to look into.


Q:  It would be great to compare version to version of models and not just individual models.


A:  You can compare version to version of different models. You choose by holding down ctl and choose two of those cells for two different models whether they’re different versions of the same model or different models entirely and it will provide you a comparison. That comparison can be either via the slider or by highlighting those differences with different colors.


Q:  Do the 2D document comparisons work for Raster based PDFs or just your base PDFs


A:  It is vector based if you want to recognize the entities. Because there is no ability to recognize the individual entities if you have a raster based PDF.


Q:  In lieu of realigning, does the same step work with two drawings of different scales or a drawing that may be a scan that is distorted?


A:  In Document Controller it is a great thing that you can use drawings that have different alignment going form version to version. You can set the origin point and the rotation scale for each individual drawing. And if they are vector based on two different scales you can normalize that scale by putting them both in the same orientation and size and that would then be comparable.


Q:  What is the average set up time to get a project started and organized so that when a new model comes in it easy to compare to other models?


A:  For the average five story office building to open it in the authoring application and apply the filters that you may want to publish to Vico Office, defining work sets or different elements that you want to send to Vico for quantification, etc., that can take about ten minutes.  And if you have a couple of versions, then 20 minutes.  And with the folder structure and creating versions it goes really quickly.  And then importing the PDFs goes fairly quickly, too. It depends on the project but on a four or five story office building you'll have it set up in an hour. If it is a multi-million dollar hospital it could take a day or even a couple of days to get a full data set with a couple of design releases in there. But it is well worth the time you put in because then when the changes come you can document them much more quickly.


Q:  Is there an automatic report that we can use for model comparisons?


A:  We can share a template that's predefined and has all of the fields that we would typically see in a change report. Or if the user would like to define it themselves they can certainly jump into the Report Editor and customize it however they would like. 

If you are asking “if you put a model in, click a button and get a changes report”?  No. We believe that there's a step of manual intervention between minor revisions you have thousand of lines that have changed and obviously that's not as useful as grouping those changes into consolidated and useful lists. So if a wall position changed would you want to know the difference between the coordinates or would you want to know that that included with six other walls of the same type had changed and potentially would affect the schedule sequencing. That would be the grouped item that would be reported in report that we mentioned.


Q:  Can you compare two models created by two different parties? For example a structural steel model created by a designer in Revit and a designer in Tekla?


A:  Absolutely. You just overlay them... The color coding will not work because those elements came from a different origin... But you can definitely overlay them and then use the slider to see what the differences are.

Q:  Currently you have to click on two drawings to compare them. Is there a feature that recognizes the same sheet name and automatically compares the two documents in the background and does Vico cache the information in the background allowing for a faster comparison time?


A:  It does partially perform the check in the background and that happens during the import process. So the comparison occurs and then you would see the red cell or green cell to be able to tell the difference and that information is permanently stored in the Vico database. Really what you are doing as you navigate through the Document Register is you're control clicking the different versions that you want to display to the team at that time. So there is a slight amount of regeneration that has to happen but that change analysis is happening during the import and is really stored inside the Vico database permanently.


Q:  In the 3D highlight comparison the modified elements will appear as yellow. Occasionally, instead of modifying a particular element modelers will delete that element entirely and create a new one in its place so instead of appearing as yellow the element will appear as red and green in the same location. Could there be some sort of compare and separate geometry functionality?


A:  Yes but it would of course take longer. Because you would have to compare potentially thousands, maybe even millions of polygons that have exactly the same X,Y,Z coordinates on their defining polygon. So a much quicker way to accomplish this with very similar results is by doing that visually which is what we've done.


Wow, that's some great information on Document Controller.  Would you like to speak with a member of our Business Development Team to schedule a demonstration?


Still researching? Here are some resources to help you: 


Solution Overview: 2D-3D Change Management

Product: Vico Office Document Manager

Webinar: Introducing Vico Office Document Controller

Blog: Vico Office Document Controller Means No Surprises


We also offer a step-by-step guide to our 5D virtual construction workflow with video tutorials. These videos are just 2-5 minutes in length, but illustrate how to use a particular piece of functionality. You can access the video library index and view just what you need, or download the complete set of training videos.  We have tracts specifically for Schedulers, Estimators, Supers, and anyone who does project/portfolio reporting.