"So, do you do BIM?"


How many times have you been asked that question during presentations to Owners?


We've all seen the fantastic models that architects, GCs, and subs produce to help the Owner visualize their work.  Now let's break down the dimensions.


2D BIM: As much as we would like to change commercial construction contract law, the 2D drawings remain the cornerstone of the contract.  The BIM model is typically used to produce these 2D drawings.


What tools do you have in place to organize the 2D drawings you receive?  Do they land on your desk with a *thud* at the eleventh hour?  And is it your job to catch all the changes made between this version and the last version you received?  Do you go to sleep at night worried that your estimate is off because you didn't catch all the changes?  That's where Doc Set Manager and its Drawing Registry comes in - it automatically collates and compares the different versions of 2D vector-based PDFs and DWGs.  It locates the changes so you can mark up the drawings with clouds, comments, questions, and even provides a collaborative workflow so you can assign teammates to investigate the changes.  There is also RFI tracking and even Change Order escalation.


If you don't have the time or manpower to inspect every drawing and compare it to the prior version during Preconstruction, you can hire Vico Services to perform a 2D Changes Report at a very competitive price per sheet.


3D BIM: This is the format we're all used to.  We might even be guilty of spinning a model on a computer screen to impress our spouse or family.  (Admit it, you've done it, too.)  This model represents the geometry of the building and is a collection of objects such as walls, slabs, columns, doors, windows, etc.  It is a perfect way to visualize what the end product will look like.


You might use one of Vico's Partners like ArchiCAD, CAD-Duct, Revit, Tekla, or even bring in other BIM files via IFC, SketchUp, and 3D DWG files to make the 3D BIM.  Or you might contract out Vico's 3D BIM Modeling Services to create and update the models as well as other Virtual Construction deliverables.  Many GCs even retain a modeling team so they have the flexibility to bid on more jobs more efficiently and have a dedicated Vico Team working for them full-time to win and deliver critical projects.


With Vico Office Client, you can publish models from Revit, Tekla, and ArchiCAD or import files from SketchUp, CAD-Duct, even IFC files and 3D DWGs.  Once inside the Vico Office environment, you can combine the models and prepare them for 3D clash detection, 3D quantity takeoff, 4D scheduling, and 5D estimating.  There is also a powerful reporting engine within Vico Office. The Report Generator can be customized to match your existing templates and organizes the project data for your team.


As more models become available, coordination and clash detection come next in the workflow.  For example, each project stakeholder can publish their respective model to Vico Office.  You might receive an architectural model in ArchiCAD, a structural model in Tekla, and an MEP model in Revit...and now you'd like to see how they fit together.


"Clash detection" is all about BIM objects and where they intersect each other.  "Constructability" combines clash detection with 2D and 4D information to provide a much richer and more comprehensive coordination process.  (Review the BIM 201 Webinar to learn more about coordination-by-location protocols.  We also have the Vico Services Webinar featuring coordination services if you are interested in having our 3rd party consultants manage your coordination efforts.  Even in a hard bid, deploying a constructability analysis can help you better understand the project, where there will be difficulties, and how best to resolve them.)  Vico Services' coordination resolution process has been proven to reduce clash detection cycle times by 40%.


Our 3D BIM software product for clash detection is Vico Constructability Manager.


3D Quantity TakeoffQuantities and locations are the linchpins to the Vico Office Suite. An accurate quantity takeoff is the start to both a precise schedule and a precise estimate. So it is important to start with a comprehensive quantity takeoff that analyzes each piece of BIM geometry and that is exactly what you get with Vico Takeoff Manager.


4D BIM: the combination of time and geometry creates the fourth construction dimension.  We define 4D BIM as the integration of quantity takeoff, location-based quantities, resources, productivity rates, and labor costs into the BIM, this making the 4D BIM vastly more powerful and valuable to the Owner, CM, and the GC's Preconstruction and Operations teams.


Simple construction sequencing can produce a 4D animation.  This means that elements from the model are assigned a logical construction sequence and put together in an animation which shows the Owner how the building will come together.  There is a dramatic difference between a 4D animation and a 4D schedule, but many Owners are confused over this nuance.  We like to make the distinction that Vico 4D Manager can create schedule presentations for BOTH the Owner and the Subs.


A 4D BIM schedule in Vico Schedule Planner is a derivation of the 3D BIM geometry and an optimization of the resources.  From the geometry, we can extract quantities and allocate these quantities to locations in Vico LBS Manager.  Now we can apply sequencing logic, include crew sizes, productivity rates, and geography-specific pricing.  By creating a schedule optimized to eliminate stops and starts and reduce project risk, we keep the project flowing smoothly.  We also automatically produce a cost- and resource-loaded schedule from this workflow (to the delight of the Owner and his or her CM).


This flowline theory (which allows us to fit a complex schedule on a single page of paper) reminds us that crew location, pace, and quality all add up to an average of 10% schedule compression.  How do we know this?  We wrote the book on it!  Location-Based Management for Construction illustrates how construction projects all over the world have benefitted from flowline theory and the Vico Office Scheduling solution.


Once you break ground on the site, you'll want to check your progress, post look-ahead schedules and show crew-specific scheduling movies, identify crews who are working slower or faster than planned, and make the appropriate adjustments.  Your superintendent will walk the site on Friday, noting which tasks are completed and which are not on a control chart based on tasks-by-location in Vico Production Controller.  S/He can compare the actual to the planned and correct the course.   


5D BIM: if 4D is the scheduling, then 5D is the estimating.  Recall that the 3D BIM is a collection of objects (which have their unique polygonal geometry from which we can extract construction-caliber quantities with Vico Takeoff Manager).  These elements have what we call an assembly structure: the cost of the item, the cost of the crew to install it, the tools and materials necessary to install it, and its quantities per location.  Pulled together, this produces a cost-loaded schedule for earned value analysis.


How did we get ahead of ourselves there?  Let's start with a massing model and produce a conceptual estimate.  Let's tie the conceptual estimate to the Vico model progression specification and a Content Plan.  Now as the level of detail for each element in the model increases, our costing detail can grow with it.  This means that as more details are known about the building project, our cost plans grow more and more precise.  This is done using the LOD (or level of detail) concept pioneered in the Vico Model Progression Specification.


Vico Office Cost Planner and Cost Explorer can compare cost plans to the original project budget at any point in time.  This lets the stakeholders see what has changed and when and to adjust scope if necessary.  And integrating this information back to the 3D model helps Owners understand which decisions have the largest impact on the budget.  And all of a sudden, your 5D BIM model becomes the hub for each project decision, your go-to source for what-if questions, and a true reflection of your organization's understanding of the project.


So the next time an Owner asks, "Do you do BIM?" what will you say?  Let's make sure the answer is a resounding YES with Vico Office software and/or our Professional Services Team of BIM consultants helping you to differentiate your firm from all the others competing for the work!


If you're interested in this topic, you'll also want to research:

Test: What's Your BIM Score?


Blog: The BIM Washers Versus the Real Deal

Blog: Talk the Talk AND Walk the Walk with BIM

Blog: Differentiating Your Firm with 5D BIM

Blog: BIM Doesn't Come in a Box

Blog: 5D BIM Versus 50-Yard Line Tickets


Webinar: The BIM Master Class Series

Webinar: Getting to 5D BIM with Vico


Webpage: The 5D Workflow in Vico Office

Webpage: The 5D BIM Checklist