Take the Vico Scheduling Challenge


See for Yourself How Model-Based Scheduling and Flowline Theory Compare with CPM 


Boulder, CO - February 24, 2010 - Vico Software, the leader in 5D Virtual ConstructionTM, announced that the Vico Scheduling Challenge is open to individuals and scheduling departments around the world. Vico Software has developed a scheduling challenge where all the participants solve the same scheduling problem with the same constraints and risk factors.


The spread of results has been surprising, and includes answers from graduate students at Stanford and Berkeley. Using exactly the same assumptions for available crew sizes and exactly the same logic, the best submitted schedules have achieved three months faster schedules with lower risk than other submitted schedules which still follow the same constraints. This shows the power of schedule optimization, but also that optimizing schedules is a skill which requires a different way of thinking compared to traditional scheduling where if the same durations and logic were used, everyone would arrive at the same result. If durations are allowed to vary as a function of crew size, and planners are free to optimize production rates based on resource availability and the overall sequence of locations within physical constraints, big differences in total durations emerge.


It would be interesting to compare how well a CPM scheduler would manage using traditional CPM tools. If you think you've got the scheduling chops and want to show off your mad skills, enter the challenge today!  Or, if you prefer, team up with your department and make a group submission. 


The Background

 One of the less well known benefits of location-based scheduling is that the quality of schedules is easy to evaluate. A well-planned schedule has certain characteristics that can be directly measured.

1.) A good schedule should maximize productivity:

•  continuous use of resources

•  durations based on accurate scope, quantities, resources, and productivity data

•  optimal crews

•  completely finishing locations before moving to the next location

•  aligned production rates•  only one crew working in a location at the same time

•  good access and laydown space

•  right information and materials available 


2.) A good schedule should minimize risk:

•  minimize the number of mobilizations

•  minimize the number of resources

•  buffers against uncertainty 


3.) A good schedule should be feasible:

•  correct logic

•  resource constraints

•  accurate model of subcontractor behavior

•  coordinated with other subcontractors 


Most of these issues can be directly observed from a flowline schedule. Continuous use of resources is the default planning option and can be seen as continuous lines in flowline. Durations require information about associated scope, quantities, and assumed productivity rates which can be checked against industry averages (such as RS Means in the US). 


Alignment of production rates can be checked by looking at empty spaces in the schedule - if a location is empty for a long period of time, the schedule is not well aligned. Overlapping lines in the schedule indicate multiple crews working in the same location at the same time. A linked 5D model can be used to evaluate access and laydown space. Location-based risk analysis tools show risky areas where more buffers are required. If the same risk assumptions are used for multiple schedules, the schedules can be compared quantitatively in terms of risk. 


What You'll Need to Participate

 You'll need to have Vico Control installed on your machine.  If you don't have it, you can download it here for a free 30-day trial


The Practice Files

 When you sign up for the challenge, download the files necessary to get started: 

•  The listing of items for the MEP/FP systems installation; their quantities, their locations; plus consumption rates and optimal crew size;

•  The listing of subcontractor and the maximum resources available;

•  The sequence of activities;

•  A listing of risks;

•  A list of rules and the process sequence;

•  The start file for the El Camino medical office building. 


What to Expect

 Students at Stanford and Berkeley worked on the initial versions of this test.  It was then refined to include cost and risk functions for the Vico Professional Services Team.  In total, the assignment should take 4-5 hours to complete. 


The Grading Process

 When you have your schedule complete, simply email it back to Dr. Seppanen for grading.  The submitted schedules will be evaluated by the following criteria:

•  total duration

•  starts and stops for subcontractors

•  continuity of tasks

•  level resource use

•  production system cost (planned / simulated)

•  production system risk 


Additional Resources to Help You

 If, like Dr. Seppanen's students, you like to cram before a test, review these resources:

•  BIM 401: Model-Based Scheduling

•  Scheduling Strategies in a Hard Bid

•  Klorman Construction demonstration of flowline theory and model-based scheduling utilizing locations, resources, and productivity rates

•  Dr. Seppanen's book: Location-Based Management for Construction

•  Dr. Seppanen's blog: Fit and Finnish

•  Interactive Training Guide for Vico Control

•  Vico Control FAQs 


Good luck with the challenge!   




About Vico Software

Vico Software, Inc. provides software and services to the commercial construction industry.  Building owners, general contractors, and construction managers use our software and our services to reduce risk, manage costs, and optimize schedules on complex building projects.  Vico's 5D Virtual Construction solutions pioneered the category of BIM for Construction, and they remain the industry's most integrated approach to coordination, quantity takeoff, cost estimation, project scheduling, and production control.  The new Vico Office product suite continues this tradition making it possible to leverage many important BIM file formats such as Revit, Tekla, and ArchiCAD.  The benefits of our solutions and services have been proven on hundreds of building projects to date.

For more information, please contact:
Holly Allison
VP of Marketing at Vico Software
Tel:(978) 882-0170 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     (978) 882-0170 end_of_the_skype_highlighting x118 (eastern)
Skype:    reason8855

Email:     holly.allison@vicosoftware.com
Twitter:    @letsbuildit