Graycor Construction Company recently executed several successful projects with Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) technology and Building Information Modeling (BIM) serving as instrumental components in visualizing project details and detecting clashes with building systems. These projects included building areas designed for office, retail, manufacturing and research & development, some of which were accomplished entirely with 3D models. Models were not just developed, but were frequently referenced and enhanced throughout the construction process. A database of project information referenced in the models was also continuously expanded and refined, bringing key benefits to schedules and budgets and proving that VDC is an increasingly valuable tool for designers, construction professionals and owners today.
We see the traditional Conceptual Design > Schematic Design > Design Development > Construction Document model yielding to an approach that promotes more decision-making earlier in the document development process, in the very early stages, or perhaps even before the development of the 3D model. Due to the effort involved in developing and significantly revising the model once it is created, preliminary project schedules reflect the BIM process for document development. Since an emphasis is placed on up-front decision-making, Graycor teams perform significant budget exercises to provide feedback on various building design options during the initial Schematic Design process. This familiarity with BIM in design development and budgeting has enabled Graycor to assemble preconstruction services proposals reflective of the BIM process.
Graycor has become well-versed at managing the use of 3D design with our selected subcontractor market. We solicit subcontractors who are capable of creating shop drawings and fabrication drawings using BIM software. In addition, there is discussion with subcontractors regarding their in-house modeling capabilities versus those subcontractors who employ third-party modeling and detailing services. Both approaches can be effective, but knowing each subcontractor's approach to BIM up front better enables us to manage the process.
Graycor is able to manage the entire process of creating and maintaining BIM models by contracting separately with architectural firms, high-definition scanning firms and MEP/FP design-build consultants. These models have been used for conceptual estimating, RFI process, clash detection, structural steel fabrication, mechanical trade coordination, ductwork fabrication and process equipment location.
In addition to acting as the collaboration holder for these models, Graycor also utilizes its resources to model smaller scale projects solely in-house. In these instances, 2D drawings provided by the subcontractors and trade partners are modeled and coordinated within clash detection software to determine issues that are crucial to resolve before equipment installation. Having these services in-house provides us with a quicker turnaround time during time-sensitive planning phases and allows us to make sure every detail is coordinated before construction begins.
4D scheduling is quickly becoming another way to leverage the data in models to help plan challenging projects. A 4D schedule merges the project schedule with the 3D model and allows the project to be constructed virtually. The benefits are still being realized, but include forecasting problems and conflicts, better understanding the scope over time, enhanced communication of the schedule to the team and overall schedule improvement.
Dave Wing, President of Graycor Construction Company says, "Graycor's ability to adapt and incorporate new technology to our proven construction approach is yielding many efficiencies for building owners. VDC capabilities are helping us to improve conceptual budgeting, enhance logistics planning and increase field productivity to deliver projects that create even more value for our clients."
Selected recent Graycor Virtual Design & Construction project experience includes: