The CIFE mission is to be the world's premier academic research center for Virtual Design and Construction of Architecture - Engineering - Construction (AEC) industry projects.
Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) is the use of multi-disciplinary performance models of design-construction projects, including the Product (i.e., facilities), Work Processes and Organization of the design - construction - operation team in order to support business objectives.

CIFE practices follow:

  • Cultural values that include:

Openness and transparency: to members, university colleagues and students;
Directed toward big ideas: believable breakthrough vision for members and students;
Evidence-based: seek and respect measured results to precise questions;
Systematic: drive from Mission to strategy to objectives to plans to actions to reflection to updates;
Focused: serve our members, students, university; help the industry as we can.

  • Vision that we and our members develop, learn and apply VDC principles and methods to help projects deliver exceptional value and help member organizations achieve breakthrough objectives in support of their exceptionally reliable design, engineering construction and management to develop and operate sustainable facilities.
  • Principles that support the CIFE mission and vision, including:

Integrated: CIFE research takes an integrated view of  projects that considers the product, which is typically a facility, the design-construction-operational organization and the process followed by the organization to design, build and operate the product;
Model-based: early and frequent development and review of project models and analyses;
Engage stakeholders: early, often and meaningfully to design, review and manage using project models and analyses;
Metrics-based: Set explicit objectives, report performance often and manage by objectives and performance;
Managing model and analysis level of detail (LOD): Focus models, analyses and management on what is within the locus of control of the project team at the time.

  • Methods to model and analyze projects, collaborate and manage, including

Translational research to integrate our work with practice. Translational research integrates baseline observations of practice, typically performed on site, to identify problems, followed by theoretical investigation and development of new methods to address those problems using the best methods available in the university, followed by carefully designed and conducted validation studies to asses the power and generality of the innovative method in practice.
  Formal models that are computer-based, logically unified and physically separated, of the:
- Product: using the methods of object-oriented building information models, model the physical facility in 3D and 4D;
- Organization: using formal and informal methods, model the project design, engineering, construction and operation teams;
- Process: representation of short-interval tasks that are logically related to but separate from milestone and master schedules
- Project: in a logically integrated way, represent and model the vocabulary of the product - organization - process models as well as project economic and risk models;
Model-based analyses of the product, organization and process, such as product quantity take offs, cost, energy, structure, organizational risk and cost, schedule and schedule risk;
Integrated Concurrent Engineering (ICE) methods to enable multiple stakeholders to work collaboratively using VDC models, model-based analyses and social agreements such as team designs and charters, commitments, coordination and meeting agreements;
Metrics that describe the current and intended project performance as well as methods to collect performance data frequently, review it and use it in management;
Management methods including target costing and scheduling, pull planning, master scheduling, creation and use of models, analyses, and maps of process and value streams.

  • Activities, which broadly include:

Research - to work with member organizations to document problems, develop and test innovative new ways to model, visualize, analyze and evaluate the multidisciplinary performance of design-construction projects, and validate results; and
Education - to increase awareness of and competence to use the methods and understand the value and costs of VDC for practitioners and Stanford students.

Measurable Breakthrough 2015 Objectives

To make our VDC business objectives precise and to stimulate significant effort to achieve them, CIFE proposes breakthrough business performance objectives for CIFE member organizations:

Outcome [Performance] objectives for 2015
Safety: 0 lost hours
Schedule: by 2015, CIFE member organizations will have designed three major AEC projects within a year and constructed them within six months
Cost: >= 95% of budgeted items within 2% of budgeted cost
Quality: Delivered scope with 100% satisfaction by post occupancy evaluation (POE)
Sustainability: > 75% better energy, water and material performance than 2002, profitably
Globalization: CIFE member organizations will be able to acquire >= 50% of their materials and services from global providers and be able to make>= 50% of their sales in global markets.

We identify these specific objectives to give the industry and us a vision and a specific set of measurable objectives that appear to be highly valuable in practice. We want CIFE member companies to be able to distinguish themselves both with significant objectives and believable methods to achieve them. We chose them as “reach” objectives in the sense that they will be achievable only given success in practice of VDC visualization and metrics, integration and automation, plus significant but necessary enabling changes in the processes of design and construction. We recognize that each company will need to create its own individual objectives with specific breakthrough 2015 and annual numeric targets. For example, some organizations will want to construct buildings significantly faster than six months; others in a longer period. An additional task for each CIFE member company is to identify its strategy and annual plans for making incremental changes to realize those 2015 breakthrough objectives. As we noted in the Summer Program, each company is completely in control of its VDC vision, measurable objectives and implementation strategy. We at CIFE will continue to provide vision, intellectual leadership and educated participants.

In 2006, CIFE members reported extraordinary success of in reaching the intermediate objectives that we first set in 2002. Most reported that they operate with a strategic plan to implement VDC incrementally and they use the first (visualization) stage of VDC confidently. Given that the CIFE membership has largely achieved the CIFE objectives for members for 2006, which we first identified in 2002, we propose:

Outcome [Performance] objectives leading to 2015
Operate with a strategic plan for VDC deep and broad VDC use and manage by public and explicit model-based process objectives and metrics including latency, safety, quality, schedule, cost and sustainability, which many organizations now do
Use second (integration) stage of VDC confidently and serve >= 5 business purposes on >=10 major projects/year, e.g., architecture, safety, schedule, space use, energy, which some organizations now do
Pilot third (automation) stage of VDC and automate > 30% of routine design and construction activity (wrt 2006 baseline) on > 2 pilot projects/year; which has started in some CIFE organizations
Staff each project with four VDC trained engineers, which has started in that many organizations staff projects with engineers who have heard the terms, but few have both broad and deep professional development of staff competence in VDC

Related Sites:

Stanford University