Modern high-quality buildings require highly effective planning and execution. Virtual Design & Construction, or VDC, is an application or process which involves a plethora of digital tools of emerging technologies to help plan and effectively execute building construction. Building Virtual Design and construction represents a building graphically, while imbuing it with vast quantities of detail and information. Increased collaboration and integrated workflows are key features of the VDC process, usually involving Building Information Modeling, or BIM. BIM is generally acknowledged as a specific process using the latest technology that unifies design, construction and documentation throughout a project’s life. The VDC process may or may not include BIM models, but using BIM technology and BIM models enables architects, engineers, clients and contractors to work collaboratively on a single model – at the same time within the gambit of VDC. With the global reach of BIM virtual construction services available currently, outsourcing VDC and BIM services produces cost-effective, accurate output on time using the right people and the right technology.
Models don’t just look good, they can host significant amounts of valuable information. BIM tools create data-rich, detailed project models that include minute characteristics and specifications. Decisions are taken, changes made, problems identified and solved before the commencement of the project because BIM processes involve using a shared database and a shared model, saving time and costs. Potential clashes can be detected early and trade coordination can also be taken care of early in the workflow. Complex designs can be visualised, modified and perfected with greater ease using BIM technologies, and the details generated and saved in the BIM models can be used in the future for renovation and maintenance purposes.
During the earlier use of VDC, MEP clash detection by showing MEP systems and their locations helped the placement of MEP equipment and the development of MEP infrastructure. Verified models can also be used for fabrication. VDC thus becomes a powerful means of visually representing the formation of the building.
Project engineers need to be conversant with VDC tools to deliver high quality results. They must have the capability and expertise to integrate multidisciplinary requirements into the VDC workflow. Architectural designs may be then deconstructed and modified to ensure that all the disciplines work together seamlessly on site. Subcontractors can benefit from this exercise and information, who can then begin to develop shop drawings confidently. The culmination of these diverse processes through VDC can result in a higher probability of error-free execution on the first attempt at construction. Since rework is minimised or eliminated, there are greater chances that the building will be error-free, built on time and within budget.
Efficient CAD software has made it possible for architects to have multi-dimensional views of a project, which can evolve during the course of the project and can be used from the earliest stages to the end stages of construction and beyond. One of the significant advantages of employing this software is that the BIM modeling component in a project can be outsourced without compromising schedules, cost or quality. Experienced and talented overseas MEP design and drafting specialists can deliver MEP services quicker, in a more cost-effective manner and with no errors, reducing waste and streamlining the workflow.
Why Outsource VDC Services?
There are several convincing reasons for Western firms to outsource VDC services. Namely, overseas BIM services professionals are adept at working with teams of project planners during the phases of concept design, analysis of proposal requests and during construction. Ultimately, outsourcing BIM services increases efficiency and profitability. Here’s how:
- There are certain projects that need specific knowledge or expertise that the current in-house team lacks. Overseas BIM services firms can be partnered to bring a varied and experienced talent pool into the project quickly and at minimal cost.
- Experienced and technically qualified outsourced partners may be able to train in-house staff on relevant emerging technologies.
- During tight delivery schedules, overseas firms have processes in place to assign skilled BIM services experts on to key project needs. There is generally a larger talent pool to dip into, and the firms are structured in a manner that the assigned professionals are dedicated to one client at a time and would not be pulled away for emergency troubleshooting elsewhere.
- Outsourcing typically frees up in-house personnel to focus on other projects.
Compelling Reasons to Outsource BIM Services
Typically, BIM services firms provide field drawings and visualisations of the proposed construction before the onset of actual construction. Expertise with Revit tools within a BIM workflow helps streamline design documentation, leading to greater productivity. Design changes in one system will automatically be updated throughout the model, cutting costs and reducing delays.
- Project costs are controlled by 3D/4D/5D BIM modelling. Overseas BIM services firms create 3D models and BIM modelers can prepare 4D views of clash-free coordinated models of architectural, structural and MEP disciplines. All stakeholders can visualise the progress of construction during the entire lifetime of the project. The MEP construction sequencing can also be monitored. By using 5D BIM models, cost managers are able to decide the quantity of different components, depending on their costs. The cost estimation ability associated with 5D BIM models reflects changes to the budget automatically when there are changes in design.
- BIM outsourcing firms help Western AEC firms retain more in-house professionals on site, while providing them with information on keeping their projects within budget.
- BIM services firms provide documentation, such as designs as 2D drafts, documents for review, building permits and others, with minimal turnaround time. Use of Revit software allows changes to be made quickly according to requirements, saving costs.
- Advanced BIM technology helps avoid scheduling conflicts and delays with reliable coordination services. Proper coordination of MEP systems and the time for MEP components to be installed can lead to smooth workflows between service providers and other stakeholders, saving time, rework and money.
- Visualising the installation of MEP systems in tight spaces and complex routes and identifying potential problem areas can be made easier with BIM software in a VDC environment, keeping costs down.
- BIM services firms maintain project records, helping building owners with operations and maintenance throughout the lifecycle of the project. Access, upgrades and repair of MEP systems takes minimal effort.
- Time management is a noticeable plus point to using overseas BIM service firms. While outsourcing BIM services, project managers can concentrate on logistics, costs and material flow, helping to make quick, sound decisions, saving extra costs and time.
- BIM services help collaboration and coordination with detailed BIM models.
With a host of significant advantages to support the practice, outsourcing VDC and BIM services is soon becoming a preferable option for AEC firms in the West, helping to save time and cost.