Vico Guest Blogger Series

See What's New in Vico Office 4.7

Posted by Holly Allison on Wed, Jan 08, 2014 @ 08:59 AM


Back in July of 2013, we had the privilege of meeting with construction executives and many power users for the Trimble Buildings portfolio products like WinEst, Prolog, and Vico Office.  It was a real pleasure spending the week in Vail, Colorado, discussing the new and better ways our software products, and more importantly, our Trimble company, can help make a difference in efficiency, mobility, and profitability.  Our secluded setting really allowed us to listen to what customers had to say about our products and hear their suggestions on how we could improve them. The advisory board setting helped us develop some clever solutions that better serve our user community.


trimble vail customer advisory board vico


Case in point.  The latest release of Vico Office, R4.7, incorporates three of the ideas from the wish list sessions with our power users.  Here we’ll explain just a few of the enhancements that our long-time users will recognize and appreciate!


Location copying.  A key benefit of Vico Office is the ability to create location breakdowns for the 3D model to get quantities and costs per location. (#TrimbleTip: see the Costs per Location Report in Step 4 of the Cost Planner video training.) The locations are oftentimes repetitive, such as what you might find in an office building or apartment project.  Prior to R4.7, users would create each location manually and replicate them again and again for each floor, which we heard was a bit of a repetitive and low-value task.  So in R4.7 we added location copying to make this much easier.  Now users can duplicate the LBS structure through many floor levels with a simple copy/paste action.  After copying locations, a quick batch activation (introduced in R4.6) provides updated quantities for the tallest of buildings in the shortest amount of time. (For those of you who attended the Denver AGC BIMForum on prefabrication solutions, this is a tremendous time saver for repetitive buildings.)


Reference planes and document scalingDocument Controller users will love this drag and drop feature that connects the 2D document register to the 3D reference planes. (A #TrimbleTip is to use the project LBS for quick creation of the reference planes – see how to create the LBS in the Schedule Planner video tutorial.)  Now, users can map all their 2D drawings to the correct reference plane with great ease and get right into comparing the 2D drawings and the 3D model.  After all, we all know that the 2D documents are the contract and how important it is to ensure that our 3D model matches them for estimating, scheduling, and layout purposes.


Tags fields in Takeoff Manager.  Customers have grown to love tags for creating all the additional data fields we can dream of to sort and report from our projects.  Now, we can apply Tags to takeoff items for tracking information such as the LOD from our Model Progression Specification.  Tags can now be used to automate the estimating and scheduling deliverables coming from Vico Office as we visually inspect our models with them.  We’ve also added the ability to drag and drop the takeoff quantities directly into the cost plan once your done inspecting the model. Et voilà!  Our downstream estimating and scheduling level of detail is in synch with the model level of detail. (A #TrimbleTip: review Step 5 – Creating Tags in Vico Office in the video training series!)


Check out the video below to see how it all works together...




Now as teams are coming back from the holiday break, we thought we would remind you to check with your License Administrator for the Vico Office 4.7 download link so you can get up and running with the latest functionality.  If you need any assistance with the download link, just let us know – we are more than happy to help your team. You do not need a new license file – just the download link which was delivered to your license administrator – the Vico Office R4.0 license remains valid for all R4.x releases.


Each of our Trimble Buildings solutions are striving to meet your needs.  This Vico Office release represents invaluable customer input, so please keep the great ideas coming.


Trimble Buildings Customer Advisory Board Vail 2013

Caption: Sometimes you gotta get down and dirty to come up with the best ideas.  We can't wait for our next Executive Round Table and Customer Advisory Board meetings. 

Tags: quantity takeoff, LOD, reference planes, location breakdown structure, costs per location, location copying, document controller, document scaling, vico office, trimble buildings, level of detail

On a Scale of 1 to 10, What's Your Level of Pain?

Posted by Holly Allison on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 @ 09:18 AM


One of our colleagues here in the Trimble Salem office, Pete DiNardo, plays in a hockey league on the weekends. Inevitably at lunch, we’ll hear the latest stories about the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” Then, after we’ve finished eating, we’ll get the blow-by-blow of the latest gruesome injury on the team. (So, if you are eating or drinking something right now, just set it down to the side.)


Here’s Pete’s list of horrible injuries on the ice:

  • A high ankle break in the skate

  • A puck to the mouth and chicklets on the ice

  • One of his teammates accidentally swallowed his mouthguard (after the puck to the face, thank goodness he was wearing one!) and they had to do a tracheotomy on the ice to get him breathing

  • One guy was standing in the penalty box as another teammate was climbing in – the climber’s skate found the void between the leg pad and knee pad. The first guy didn’t even know he had been sliced until he tried to skate out

  • Most pucks come screaming at your face head on. One puck flew perpendicular to the teammate’s face and sliced through his nose and cartilage creating a divot where his nose should have been


When the paramedics get to the rink they race to the fallen teammate and get him ready for transport to the hospital. They always ask the same question, “On a scale of 1 to 10, where would you rate your pain level?” You know as well as I do that all of these injuries rate a clear and resounding 11. But the injured guys try to brush it off. They don’t want to call attention to it – they just want it taken care of so they can be home watching football later that afternoon.


Now we all agree with Pete’s wife that he should find another sport to play. But doesn’t this same thing happen out on the jobsite? We can always get a project done, but aren’t some harder than others? Isn’t the level of pain on some projects so much greater than others? And sometimes we can’t even explain why. Was it good/bad plans, team, subs, pre-planning, coordination, layout, change order management, document control, as-builts, warranty. . .?


Trimble Buildings has a set of solutions for general contractors and construction managers that effectively ratchets down the pain on every project.



We all know that the pain from projects can lead to turn over of critical employees, lost money/time/quality, and bitter relationships with other stakeholders including the owners, designers and subcontractors. Trimble Buildings take common project chokepoints and makes them easier to manage. After all, we’re builders, too – so we know exactly where the pain is and designed our solutions to alleviate those flare-ups.


There’s no need to put on a brave face and swallow the pain like Pete’s teammates. Be honest and tell us, on a scale of 1 to 10, where’s your level of pain? We can show you a targeted solution that helps make your projects fun again…just like playing hockey on the weekends.


Tags: tekla, prolog, WinEst, level of pain, modelogix, integrated construction management, vico office, trimble buildings, sketchup, construction solutions

How's That Working Out for You?

Posted by Holly Allison on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 @ 10:00 AM

You have probably seen our invitations for our Modelogix webinars.  We believe it's an extraordinary complement to your estimating department and hope you'll download the recorded webinar learn more about it.  Our customers use Modelogix to collect and organize all past project data to use on new feasibility budgets and bids. Consider being able to slice and dice estimating data from similar projects, normalize the data for inflation and geographic price differences, and then check scope and variances. Every great estimate starts with a great project in Modelogix.


If you haven't already signed up for the webinar, we really just have two questions for you:


1.) Is this how you archive your past project data?



2.) How's that working out for you?


Show us a contractor who's busy trying to win new work and deliver it for their clients and we'll find an organization who wishes they could easily access their ocean of past project data.  Because until now, the filing cabinet has been holding all past estimates and completed project data.


Modelogix is the first solution that harnesses your past project data: what you've built; how you built it; where you built it; materials, labor, equipment; actual costs -- so you can leverage it on your next bid.


Modelogix is the linchpin of the Trimble Buildings construction solutions and we want to show you why.

And be sure to catch up with these other Modelogix resources, too:
Webinar: The New Estimating Lifecycle (Modelogix, WinEst, and Prolog)

Tags: past estimate data, modelogix, trimble buildings, past project data, cost models, use modelogix to create new estimates

Under the Hood with Prolog Project Management

Posted by Holly Allison on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 @ 12:06 PM

My first car was a navy blue ’72 Ford Maverick.  (A lot of you are nodding, “Niiiiice – that’s a good tank of a car for a teenager.”)


Of course, my Mom insisted on the drivers’ education class to get a discount on the car insurance. She also taught me how to jack up the car and change the tires.  And we practiced how to use the jumper cables – she even made me write out a cheat sheet to have in the glove compartment.  Remember that this was all in the time before cell phones – so these skills were clutch.


It’s been almost 30 years since that Maverick.  Now my car emails me when its own onboard computer system detects a glitch or we pass over a mileage milestone for service.  A lot has changed.  But with the snowy New England winter coming on, those basic skills like jumping a car and changing a flat still come in


That’s how it is with construction software programs these days, too.  We need the basic set-up skills so we can get to the cool stuff.  In many cases, we were in such a rush to deploy the system that we skipped over some of the workflow set-up and now we’re not sure how to go back and fix it.


This Fridays with Trimble webinar is that refresher course – that “under the hood” training that’s so important.  We go through basics like how to configure the Prolog dashboard with cool things like the project webcam and weather and basics like role-based security.  We see how easy it is to add video to our Issues routing, but we’ll also see how to set up that routing in the first place.  And we see how easy it is to cull data from your project portfolio…if you set up your database correctly.


We know everyone loves using Prolog to keep projects organized and have all the information you need to know delivered directly to you.  But for this episode of Fridays with Trimble, wel pop the hood and see how it’s all connected.  Download the recorded webinar and watch it at a time that's convenient for you.


And be sure to catch up with these other Prolog webinars, too:

Webinar: What's New in Prolog 9.7

Webinar: Collaboration at the Speed of Prolog

Webinar: The New Estimating Lifecycle (Modelogic, WinEst, and Prolog)

Tags: construction project management, prolog project management, prolog under the hood, prolog set up, prolog tips and tricks

Back from the AGC BIMForum in Denver

Posted by Holly Allison on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 @ 11:20 AM

We hope everyone made it back safely from last week's BIMForum in Denver!


Trimble Buildings booth at Denver BIMForum


It was so great to meet everyone at the Trimble Welcome Reception on Monday night and then learn more about the conference theme of prefabrication and modularization in the sessions. In getting ready for the conference ourselves, we looked back on some of our favorite case studies, three of which have to do with our own headquarters in Westminster, CO. Please take a look at these four different case studies on the topic, plus a new MPS LOD Playbook:


Steel Case Study featuring Tekla Structures and the Robotic Total Station

Trimble’s new four-story, 125,000 SF office building in Westminster, CO consisted of a structural steel design with concrete elevator and stair cores for bracing and seismic compliance. This prefabrication case study highlights the use of Tekla Structures and the Trimble Robotic Total Station (RTS) to achieve complete accuracy in the placement of anchor bolts and embeds. Also check out the great video featuring a column set in place with vertical plumb within 1/8 of true 90 degree vertical.


Concrete Case Study featuring Tekla Structures and the Robotic Total Station

The new Trimble Westminster campus was built with 29 different Trimble construction solutions. This case study examines the use of Tekla Structures and the Robotic Total Station (RTS) to speed the 100% accurate installation of concrete, rebar, and anchor bolts.


Exterior Framing and Glazing Case Study featuring SketchUp Pro

This prefabrication case study focuses on exterior framing and glazing on the new Trimble Westminster campus. The project team utilized SketchUp Pro, Tekla Structures, and the Robotic Total Station to aid in prefabrication and
installation. All in all, 139 panels went up and fit within ¼” tolerance before the winter weather set in.


Virtual Mock-Up Study featuring Trimble VDC Services

The St. Joseph Mission Hospital project exemplifies teamwork. Starting with a virtual mock-up of a complicated steel, glass, and fireproofing material intersection, the team determined the best approach for the exoskeleton structure and saved $1.8M in prefabrication costs.


And finally, we created a new LOD Playbook featuring the primitives you’ll need when deploying the MPS on a new construction project. The packet contains the 60+ page playbook, as well as a recorded webinar detailing how to use the primitives during modeling, scheduling, and estimating.


Guy describing Trimble Buildings Tekla at Denver BIMForum


We can’t wait to see everyone again in Boston for the Spring BIMForum!



Clive describing Trimble Buildings Vico Office at Denver BIMForum

Tags: tekla, AGC BIMforum, prefabrication in construction, modularization in construction, denver BIMforum, robotic total station, vico office, trimble buildings, sketchup

Vico Office Document Controller Means No Surprises

Posted by Holly Allison on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 @ 10:28 AM

Most folks at Trimble know that I like to run and I like to race even more.  I wasn’t born with speed, but I am tough as an ox and I like to think that I can “Orel Hershisher” my way into the top ten.  (For those of you outside the US, Orel Hershisher was an amazing baseball pitcher, not known for the speed of the pitches, but rather for studying each and every batter’s weakness and placing the ball exactly where they couldn’t hit it.  His smarts made his athletic abilities more dangerous.)


That being said, I like to over-study for big races.  I used to print out the elevation profiles and then map out where the water stations would be, which ones I would stop at, etc.  Then I got even smarter.  I bought a treadmill with Google Maps so I could draw out the race course and run it several times before I raced it – the treadmill automatically responding to the elevation changes in the road with the added bonus of seeing the road from their street view technology.  Now I know when I get past the gas station, the road turns up to the right with a 4.1% incline that lasts for 0.6 mile.  That’s exactly how I like it – zero surprises.


That’s exactly how you would like it, too.  If you had your druthers, every drawing set would come with clear annotations that the design team changed this, removed that, added these bits.  But we know the FedEx guy comes at 4:30pm and drops off a new set of drawings with a thud and there is very little time to compare each and every drawing on the light table.  Likewise, you get new models from subs or the design team and you need to know if the changes are significant enough to warrant getting the estimators involved, but do you really have enough time to interrogate all the geometry in the model?


We want to introduce you to Vico Office Document Controller so you are never surprised by design changes again.  Document Controller organizes all the drawing sets and all the model versions with a simple color-coded system that alerts you to changes.  You can discover the changes in 2D drawings and 3D models with Slider Mode and Highlight Mode turning new, deleted, and modified pieces different colors.


Even cooler, if you do believe a model has been changed enough to warrant an estimate update, you simply right-mouse click to activate it.  And that activation means new construction-caliber quantities are generated and the changes ripple through the schedule and estimate like dominoes falling in a row.


What our beta testers can’t get over, though, is the ability to compare the 2D drawing to the 3D model in a hybrid mode.  We promise you have never seen anything like it before…


vico office document controller 2d drawing floorplans in 3d BIM
Caption: Here we see all of the slabs of the building with all the floorplans laid on top.  It’s 2D and 3D in perfect harmony!


Why do you want to compare 2D drawings and 3D models?  2D is the contract, but with 3D comes all the virtual design and construction efficiencies.  Document Controller closes the gap between the two disciplines and makes certain that you are never surprised by a missed change again.  Just like my fancy treadmill means I’ll have no surprises out on the race course.


You’ll never miss a costly change; you’ll always know when to get the estimating team re-engaged; you’ll be able to make final checks before releasing work for fabrication; and you will always be sure that the 2D
and 3D assets are in synch.


So take a look at the recorded webinar and let us know what you think!


You need Vico Office Document Controller on your team.  No surprises in precon means your team wins in the field.

Tags: compare 3D models, compare 2D drawings, compare 2D drawings to 3D models, construction BIM models, construction drawing sets, vico office document controller

Construction Jobsite Security and Safety Survey

Posted by Holly Allison on Mon, Sep 09, 2013 @ 10:58 AM

You already know Trimble for the yellow layout gear and laser scanners on the jobsite.  But did you also know that Trimble has a new division specifically for construction hardware, software, and services called Trimble Buildings?  This division is based on our heritage in the field but also includes new brands like SketchUp, Tekla, Vico, Meridian, and WinEst.


We are in the process of better understanding your needs for personnel tracking on the jobsite.  Please consider sharing your experience with us through this survey.  It should only take 5-10 minutes to complete the survey, yet it will give us great insight for employee tracking, jobsite access, and emergency protocols.


site safety construction safety survey


At Trimble we are always looking to our colleagues in construction to share insights, needs, and requirements to make your workday more productive and your construction projects more efficient.  We would like to learn more about your requirements for securing a construction jobsite, tracking employees, security clearance and access, etc.  Your answers will help us focus our efforts – so please forward this survey along to your Safety Managers and Superintendents. 


Thank you!

Tags: construction site safety, construction emergency procedures, subcontractor crew tracking, construction personnel tracking

Trimble Buildings in the UK

Posted by Holly Allison on Tue, Sep 03, 2013 @ 01:48 PM

What do you get when you invite Tekla customers, Trimble total station and laser scanning customers, along with all the Vico customers and then reach out to invite Prolog, WinEst, and Modelogix customers in the UK? 


First you get a Trimble Buildings UK user group!  Secondly, you get a great party!


So join our partners, Rapid 5D, Korec, and Tekla for the first Trimble Buildings UK Forum – a jam-packed day of case studies, best practices, and even speed dating to learn more about all the Trimble Buildings products.


When:   September 9th, 2013 from 08:30-21:00

Cost:     £175 ex VAT Per Delegate

Where: The Guoman - The Tower, St Katharine's Way, London, E1W 1LD

How:     For more information or to book your place please visit 


At the Trimble Buildings UK Forum you’ll be able to meet representatives from these products:


Sketchup offers a fast, easy, intuitive user interface that brings 3D design capabilities to everyone connected to a project, allowing anyone to model in 3D quickly and accurately. 


Tekla Structures brings steel and concrete modeling capabilities to contractors that self perform.  Tekla BIMSight allows you to combine models, check for clashes, and share information with project participants.


Vico Office extends the basic 3D model with constructability analysis and coordination, 4D location-based scheduling and production control, and 5D estimating.


Prolog is the leading construction project management solution for contractors, providing all levels of the project organization - from the office to the field - with product information workflow, budget, and change management capabilities.


Trimble Field Solutions are ubiquitous on construction jobsites around the world.  The hazard yellow rugged tablets and Robotic Total Stations are hard to miss.  Installation points are exported to the field equipment for
layout slab edges, openings, and sleeve penetrations. Trimble also provides Laser Scanning hardware and software so your team can document the existing conditions to make certain the new design is compatible.


Wrap up your project with Modelogix to analyze project cost history and then leverage that data for new project early-phase budgeting and benchmarking.


Tags: tekla, prolog, trimble total stations, trimble buildings uk forum, modelogix, vico office, sketchup, rapid 5d, trimble users, laser scanning

New WinEst and Modelogix Training Classes

Posted by Holly Allison on Tue, Sep 03, 2013 @ 12:30 PM

Now that you've seen all the great advances the Trimble Buildings Team has made with WinEst, Modelogix, and new estimating workflow integrations on the Fridays with Trimble webinar series, are you ready for some new training classes?


The month of September is chock-full of opportunities to receive training on new features in WinEst and Modelogix!


Introduction to WinEst

September 12-13, Kent WA, $895
(offered quarterly)


Introduction to Modelogix (first ever open enrollment class on Modelogix!)

September 24-25 (2x2 hrs), online, $295


WinEst Online University

October 14-18 (5x2 hrs), online, $795 (offered monthly)


Focus Sessions

offered to customers with active maintenance at no charge
log in with your WinEst Support Account credentials and click on Focus Sessions link

September 11: Intermediate Assemblies

October 2: On-Screen Takeoff Integrator

November 6: Database Maintenance

December 4: Virtual Takeoff


WinEst Training Class for Estimating

Caption: WinEst training classes in the Kent, WA offices.


Be sure to catch up on all these resources before heading to class!

Webinar: Sharpen Your Competitive Edge with WinEst

Webinar: Adding Modelogix to Your Estimating Arsenal

Webinar: The New Estimating Workflow (featuring WinEst, Prolog, and Modelogix)

FAQs: Frequently-Asked Questions about WinEst

FAQs: Frequently-Asked Questions about Modelogix

Trimble Buildings Integrations: WinEst, Prolog, and Modelogix for a Closed-Loop Estimate


Tags: construction estimating training, trimble buildings, winest training, modelogix training

What's New in Prolog 9.7

Posted by Holly Allison on Sat, Aug 31, 2013 @ 03:21 AM


How could Trimble Buildings follow-up the closed-loop integration with WinEst and Modelogix in Prolog 9.6?  We simply upped our game with field access to Prolog 9.7!


Prolog is the leading construction project management solution, offering the most complete system of record for capturing and managing project information, from the field to the back office. Prolog customers with active customer support and maintenance agreements will receive this Prolog upgrade free of charge.


Prolog Converge  has dramatically improved the Web Forms look-and-feel, making them easier to navigate and reducing load time.  The Data Entry Grid in the Prolog Converge Web Client Forms has been replaced with new technology, dramatically reducing the time to load and work with records.  Now users can load, filter, sort, adjust, and edit web grids with near instand results for even thousands of records.  In addition to the Grid Replacement Project scross 70+ web forms and search windows, we also modernized the web client.  Users will appreciate the dramatically improved web forms with their fresh, easy-to-navigate interface.


prolog converge modern web form interface

Caption: The new web forms load faster, react quicker on the ipad, and make it easier for colleagues in the field to capture up-to-date project information.


Prolog Mobile has also added new modules for daily field reporting that allows for faster creation of daily reports to enhance multiple Daily Work records across companies and crews.  


daily field reports in Prolog Mobile

CaptionUsers can now enter the Daily Details and record multiple Daily Work records (for companies and crews) working on that day within a single form.  With a single tap on the screen, the entire day can be copied to start the next day's entry.


We have also added the RFI Collaboration Tab to the ipad application making it easier to get more input from field colleagues; and simplified the data entry selection on Punch List areas.


See how these improvements all come together in the video below!


Video Caption: Superintendents can use Prolog Mobile to connect to the project when they are out on the jobsite, regardless of whether or not there's a wifi connection available. Using Plan View, the superintendent can tag locations with events, records, and updates. Most importantly, supers can access checklists and supplement their reports with photos and videos from the ipad. There are so many more features available in 9.7 including daily details, work journals, events, inspections and tests, punch lists, and so much more.


This video focuses on a Daily Field Report where users are able to capture weather conditions, visitors to the site, and reports for all the different subs and crews onsite that day, including labor, equipment, and rich audio/visual content. Teams at HQ can also push latest drawings and training videos, safety checklist, etc. out to the field. And the web client modernization features make that data easy to consume by supers. 


For more information on Prolog 9.7, please utilize these resources:

Webinar:  Project Workflows in Prolog 9.7

FAQs:  Frequently-Asked Questions about Prolog

Tags: prolog converge, prolog mobile, trimble buildings, prolog 9.7, prolog construction project management software, construction workflows for field staff