GCs and CMs care deeply about four aspects of each project: Cost, Time, Quality, and Safety. In 2010, Vico Office Release 2 introduced cost planning and budgeting capabilities for model-based and non-model-based estimates to address the Cost aspect. In 2011, Vico Office Release 3 tied the estimating workflow together with scheduling and introduced quantities per location for both planning and production control to address the Time aspect. Now in 2012, we address the aspect of Quality – more features to improve the quality of the coordination, estimates, schedules, and even BIM-based layout. And it is all still in the Vico Office integrated 5D workflow.
It’s an exciting time to be in construction as the technology and science expand exponentially – so hold on to your hard hats! Here’s an overview of the new features, and new module, in Vico Office Release 4.
Users will recognize the same streamlined GUI and features ribbon, as well as the step-by-step navigation on the left-hand side of the screen, but now customers will also enjoy major performance enhancements and greater control from the get-go.
The first improvement users will notice is the speed! It’s like graduating from a 4-cyclinder compact car to an 8-cylinder luxury automobile; or moving from the dial-up connections we had in the 90’s to our broadband speeds today. You’ll notice the acceleration immediately. To quote one of our beta-testers, “This is breath-taking!”
Vico Office Client
BIM Managers and model authors publish their models to Vico Office using the Vico Office Client. This is the hub for publishing, importing, and reporting for the entire suite. Release Four includes updates for our free Publishers: ArchiCAD 16, Revit 2013, and Tekla 18. But there are also two new Publishers included in the release: AutoCAD MEP 2013 and AutoCAD Architecture 2013. Not only does this extend opportunities for new design partners working with these modeling tools, but it also brings Vico Office into Civil and Infrastructure projects.
Another new feature in the Client that users will want to dig into is Activation Options for incredibly precise and tuned quantity takeoff. When you publish your models into Vico Office, you’ll want to be cognizant of the BIM authoring tool. Each solution treats elements slightly differently, and now you can harness that specificity for your quantity takeoffs. This means fewer tune ups (aka less painting) with the quantities after activation.
For example, if you are using Revit you’ll see new activation options for Architectural and Structural models such as Assembly Code, Keynote, and wildcard options based on the Revit Shared Parameters Function which can be assigned to Type or Instance. In MEP you’ll also see Material, Class, Size and many other options, which will help you get the desired set of Takeoff Items much faster. There are also new element types for Duct fittings and pipe fittings, as well as new TOQs for count and surface area. You’ll notice that the wildcard options (aptly named Vico 1, Vico 2, and Vico 3) are flexible options to deploy if a design partner uses a different naming convention in their models.
Also new in the Client is the ability to publish Filtered Revit files. As the size of our projects grow, so does the size and complexity of our models. So this feature offer the opportunity to utilized Revit’s powerful filtering options to hone the model to just your requirements. This could mean breaking down a multi-building campus into Buildings A, B, and C; or even more granularity by publishing only specific Worksets, filtered element categories, or design options like a sloped or flat roof. This feature offers users the flexibility and control over the content to publish and segregate information into dedicated models. When you boil it all down this means better ability to QA the models, eliminate elements that aren’t important to your work, and logically divide all the data contained in a BIM model.
Also in the Client is the Compare & Update feature. Everybody always asks, “What happened to the project since the last meeting?” With Compare & Update, you can quickly track and analyze changes to your project and monitor the progress and keep everyone focused on the tasks at hand. You can also use Compare & Update to copy certain elements from a past project (a "reference" project) to your current project. Now in Release 4, users are able to bring in all types of project data from reference projects. Now users can bring in the Task List or the Location Breakdown Structure, even complex strings of data like cost items with takeoff items or tasks with cost items and takeoff items. With this new feature you’ll be able to leverage past project data better and faster and make more informed decisions on your current project.
The final improvements in the Vico Office Client are for the Reporting Engine. Now tags can have either a text or numerical value. This is particularly important for our customers in the UK who must track carbon emission points for each line item of the cost plan. But we can also see this feature being used to track LEED points on a project.
Additionally, very critical to customers is the feature to chart data from calculated fields!
Coordination doesn’t happen in isolation – it involves an active dialog between the GC, the design team, and the Subs. And so we designed a new feature to speed that conversation. Think of it as Instant Messaging or Online Chat for your coordination efforts. We call it Card View – a dashboard for your Constructability Issues which includes running chat, responsibility tracking, even viewpoints from multiple sources (like the 3D model and the 2D documents). And the running chat also includes a time and date stamp to keep everyone tuned to the project.
Caption: Card View is a new feature designed to support live coordination sessions. The card view presents one issue at a time, complete with issue statistics, viewpoints, and a running chat window with a date stamp.
Another great feature in the Card View is the persistent filtering options for your Viewpoints. So when you peel back columns and beams to get a good look at the clash or issue, the system remembers your filtering choices so that the next time you review the problem, you won’t have to reset all the filters. It’s just a small fix, but it saves so much time.
And just as the Tag feature was improved for Reporting, Tags have also been improved for Constructability Manager. Many customers like the flexibility to add their own fields to the Card View. Some like to track the party responsible for the issue or use it to fine tune the RFI workflow to match their process and add a field like “Approved By.”
Just as the coordinated BIM contributes its location breakdown structures and quantities for estimating and scheduling, these traits can also be harnessed for use in the field. By connecting Vico Office Layout Manager directly with the Trimble handheld devices and the Total Station, we can do just that. Now PEs can create their own location systems for specific tasks and plot out critical points on any model activated inside Vico Office. S/he can plot the sleeves and openings before concrete is poured and the deck elevations before pipes are installed. Superintendents can identify critical points for organic curved walls before framing. As long as the GC or Layout Crew has Trimble gear, we can feed those points into the equipment and shoot them on-site.
The reverse is also true. Once the concrete is poured or the pipes installed or the walls framed, the GC can spot check the work by feeding actuals back to Vico Office where tolerances can be checked. This is not only a full-circle QA check for Design-to-Build/Build-to-Design, but another step to bring BIM to the Field.
Still in Beta: Document Manager
Use this incredible tool to not only compare 2D drawing sets with one another to spot changes, but also compare 3D model versions with each other to spot changes, and…drumroll…compare 2D drawings with their corresponding 3D model to spot what has been included and omitted. We would very much appreciate your feedback on this product as we make the final modifications to performance and fidelity improvements. Contact your sales representative for more information!
Customer Success Plan
To make the most of your investment in Virtual Construction, we highly recommend the Vico Customer Success Plan – a one-year regimented program of training, consulting, mentoring, and support to ensure that your team reaches its goals. The program is designed to keep the enthusiasm high and drive adoption across the firm – everything you need to be successful with 5D BIM.
Vico Customer Portal
Since this is a major upgrade to the Vico Office Suite, new licenses will be made available to your System Administrators, along with upgrade instructions, via the Customer Portal. If you need help with the upgrade process, please don’t hesitate to ask.
To share a synopsis of Vico Office R4 functionality with your team, we recommend three resources:
Video: Vico Office for Dummies (7 minutes)
Video: Full-Length Vico Office Presentation (45 minutes)
Blog: Four Favorite Features in Vico Office R4
Here is a chart which illustrates how the modules are grouped together for functionality per department: