A review of publicly available VDC guides provided one, the Army Corps of Engineers VDC Road Map ERDC Technical Report 06-10 (October 2006) (ppt), that appears a good candidate for a draft Civil VDC guide.
An interesting debate has accompanied the transition of the integrated model-based systems movement through the building industry, where it has been coined BIM, to the civil infrastructure industry, where anything termed “building” is a no-go on day one. Following what appears is consensus, in the civil industry the model-based system will be referred to as the VDC. The terminology in the Army Corps of Engineers guideline used here as a template has been changed to reflect this.
This draft supports the Civil VDC implementation planning for the Merced Highway 99 experiment and the MUC Airport Runway project, and is modified as lessons are learned, or logical predictions and intuitive opinions are validated, please feel free to edit this page (email email@example.com if you need a username). As a 'living draft' understand that the expectation for spelling, grammar, and style are relaxed as well as the peer review process is incomplete - meaning use your best judgement. Also, this guide is a template for proprietary guidelines that individual heavy civil contractors will certainly draft; copy and paste this template as a starting point and cite as:
Peterson, F. and Fischer, M. “CIFE Wiki Technical Report: Civil VDC Guideline.” CIFE wiki. Stanford University Center for Integrated Facility Engineering. Last accessed dd month yyyy. http://cife.stanford.edu/wiki/doku.php?id=granite:civil_vdc
Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) can cause a radical evolution of an organization as the seniority, prestige, and authority symbols transform. Why this occurs is not he topic of this guide but understanding the basics of innovative organizations is a core introduction to VDC. Another useful topic to review is the edge organization and the changes created by this form and the technology that allows the reorganization.
Innovation risk mitigation set-up (Draft): Through the work of Professor Tatum, barriers to innovation and the environment that promotes successful innovation are identified (Prof. Tatum Innovation course CEE255)
1) Innovation evolution modifiers to the push (management radical) - pull (project incremental) model
2) Innovation, Strategy & Competitive Advantage
3) Organization Culture (mandatory)
Support from Management: It is important that management recognize there are issues at stake in the move to VDC. At the core is that while VDC is expected to solve problems [such as] associated with the large-projects process, the current process is necessarily unique due to the characteristics of these massive projects. And, the current process appears inherently cumbersome for VDC implantation. To effectively use VDC the current processes must change from the well-tested large-projects form to a new, uncertain, relatively untested process.
To help transition with a safety-line, several suggestions are proposed:
4) Roles (mandatory)
Team Building: There is a better chance for success with VDC if the team members are unified. There are too many complexities with VDC to allow team members to wander off into the weeds. VDC is a team effort and requires daily contact between its members. Ideally the team will work in close proximity with each other, as the Louisville District (USACOE TR) did with its “VDC Pit.” At most sites, the close work proximity is a new concept, but if followed will result in teamwork and camaraderie. When the members are not in a VDC Pit to keep focused on the issues use weekly meetings. At these meetings cover VDC modeling, project issues, workload issues, air frustrations, and gain a user-group feel to the team.
Mentoring: The individual discipline leads at previous projects have expressed the willingness to help others and the desire to collaborate with peers in their field.
Technical Support: Can be provided by the vendor providing the VDC software, do not be naive, the technical support personnel must be held accountable to prevent unnecessary delay resolving issues. Maintain an excel file with the name of the support technician and the vendors support managers. If necessary contact the managers directly or request specific technicians, regardless of if the company asks that you do not do this. Nearly never believe that they will correct an issue with the next release, request a BETA copy and test it yourself, then provide feedback and follow-up.
5) Environmental & Social Sustainability; are we sustainable in the long-run?
To learn from experience an innovative organization structure and way to represent context of lessons is necessary. The iconoclast and visionary roles are assumed already present in the organization, therefore the demand for and discovery of VDC is present.
After field implementation of VDC on a large public works project in the Eastern United States with a large construction management contractor [4 Hartmann and Levitt 2010] recommend the grassroot approach for VDC implementation. This method is summarized with the following steps:
Allow the team perception of control over the technology implementation
To maximize the exploration of possible benefits the system offers to improve the teams work routines
To provide the context of lessons for future application a Civil VDC score card is necessary.
Degree of effort: 15 man days
1) The VDC Transition Team members, i.e., Champions
2) The responsibilities of the VDC Transition Team
Degree of effort
1) Anoint a lead VDC Engineer, i.e., technology gatekeeper:
2) Coordinate the VDC Workshop
On-site training followed by coaching allows learning the VDC applications while using the product on a real project with instructor support and oversight. Within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, this approach has had great success and is mandatory. (If no project exists use a practice project, i.e., Charrette case study).
The software and hardware presented in this section as a meta category to the project life-cycle categories makes the assumption that it is the same at each stage. The hardware and software at each stage will be different. For example, during design the modelers may have years to construct the model compared to during construction the modeler may have hours to change the model. This difference in time expectation indicates that the construction phase requires a machine with increased capacity than the design phase. There are many expert details like this example that fine-tunes exactly what hardware and software setup is optimal. What is presented here is intended as general to all life-cycle phases.
From my experience as a teaching assistant for two years in Professor Fischer's CEE241 virtual design and construction course, as a research assistant completing a dozen lab-based case studies, and now as a research assistant on the MER99 field experiment, I recommend the following for Heavy Civil companies:
Use a mix of opensource and purchased software and keep a contract open with programmers near each project location or regional office. The cost of programming should be added to the project bid in exchange for the cost of software licenses. The reason is that if there is a bug or you need an extension to the software, there is no amount of money that will compel the software developer to make that change, especially in the time-frame of a construction project. Open source software allows the VDC engineer to open the source code and make simple changes, a programmer contracted to make more intensive changes, and large efforts for large source code changes or initiatives. From my experience this is necessary due to the current level of support available from software developers and the increased proficiency in programming amongst field engineers and the increasing ability of managers to manage software developers. Numerous times I have waited weeks, months, or forever, for a fix to the source code. The process of communicating through several intermediaries (even finding those intermediaries) the relevance and significance of a change to the source code and demonstrating that the change is general to most users of the software takes enough time that the project is done before the change is made. If I could open the source code and make the change it would take 15-minutes, which is what it takes the software programmer at the other end of the several month communication process.
Minimum (as-of 2010) VDC system requirements (these change continually, see laptop testing and laptop settings for more settings and configuration). First, test several hardware configurations and plan to annually try changes in the configuration. From experience to-date I find it is best for time and comparison purposes to purchase several variations of a subcomponent then test - for example see graphics card tests on the MER99 experiment protocol page - and return or resell those that are not used. Expect testing, debugging, and tuning a new system or reconfigured system to take several dedicated weeks with several more weeks of limited production. The CAD software can be a specific limiting factor, it is by nature limited by the single core speed. A heuristic hardware specification guide - assuming Moore's law is valid - every two years these specifications double. For example, in 2020 desktop processor speed should be 5x 3Ghz or 5x 4 cores, the 2010 specification for a typical desktop setup. This is 15GHz x 1 core or 20 cores x 3GHz, or some combination in-between. Apply this heuristic to the sub-components below:
The process of software and hardware configuration is accompanied by a process of testing. The following VDC test procedure was developed during the MER99 experiment
The tested approach is to modify the machine driven by resolving performance issues with hardware changes as they arise and then tune for an optimal settings. Tuning requires purchasing hardware that allows adjusting settings and usually has a cost premium. Tuning is 1) research, 2) trial and error, 3) benchmark, 4) document. For research rely on web searches of gaming and overclock web forums. For trial and error plan a series of test parameters and then permute through incremental changes. For the benchmark two software applications are used, these are CPU-Z to record the settings, and GeekBench to measure a performance index - the selected applications were checked for runtime. Once a documented and quantitative state is recorded then qualitatively use the application with the test settings and provide feedback. The results are then documented in a wiki and periodically posted to a web forum for peer review.
Benchmarking tools: For the CAD application we need a benchmark to test single core processing and are not concerned with multicore metrics
Memory setting trys - test memory settings then set in BIOS: Memset
Hardrive: ATTO Disk Benchmark
System stability: http://www.passmark.com/products/bit.htm
|Try||CPU||CPUbus||Ghz||PCIe||DRAM||CPU/NB||HT link||CPU v||CPU/NB v||DRAM v||HT v||NB v||timing||Div:DRAM||approach||result*||CPU-Z||Geekbench|
LOD 100: (Level of Detail)
Adapted from AIA E202 & AIA E202: Organizing the Development of a Building Information Model Contract for level of detail progression with project progression either as slices in time (limiting) or continuous (integral)
Just as the shift from CAD to VDC requires some adaptation and adjustment, so too does the development of a VDC Team. Most sites’ immediate reaction will be to place their CAD Manager or a Project Engineer as the lead VDC Engineer. However, based on experiences using VDC at other sites, this is not the best way to implement VDC. Where these characters hang out, “the pit”, is an environment where engineers are in a single room collaborating at the same time on a VDC model. This is a fundamental shift in design philosophy since typically the disciplines are physically located in separate spaces. For each designer/engineer in the pit a networked computer must be provided with access to a projector, whiteboard, and conference phone. The pit should be comfortable as specified by the occupants. (see Hartmann et al. 2003) 
There are considerations to make when forming a VDC team:
At each site, there are three duties related to VDC:
Each site needs to designate someone to serve as the lead VDC Engineer. For the first 6 months of implementing VDC, this person should be allowed to devote 100% of their time to the VDC implementation. Depending on the VDC workload after 6 months, this may taper off to 50 percent. The first instinct is to designate the current site CAD Manager as the Lead VDC Engineer, avoid this at all costs, due to the time required in implementing VDC. The person appointed as the Lead VDC Engineer should also not be someone who has production responsibilities at the site, such as, the Project Engineer. The Lead VDC Engineer’s duties are:
Designating one or more VDC Engineers at a site is mandatory. The VDC Engineer is selected for each project from the engineers assigned to a project. The VDC Engineer is generally from the same section as the Licensed Professional Engineer (PE), should not be the same person as the Lead VDC Engineer, and should not be one of the designers, a junior engineer, i.e., office engineer, can be assigned. The VDC Engineer duties are:
The engineers designing the product, that is, the people working in the “VDC Pit.” In VDC, design decisions are constantly made, so you want the engineers doing the work not telling a drafter what to change in a model. The Designer is responsible for design requirements for their discipline, execution of this, the design itself, and changes in a 3D environment. On design-build projects the designers can transition to field engineers during the construction phase. While at this early stage of VDC implementation it may be necessary to designate a specific VDC engineer, eventually it is anticipated the designers, field engineers, and VDC engineer will be synonymous with respect to VDC technology.
The gist of the standard data-set is that a folder structure is provided containing “buckets” and the Engineering firm (in-house or 3rd party)will fill the “buckets” with a VDC model and then return the “buckets” during submittals. The design teams, especially the Engineering teams, must have some formal process to create the data as it is expected. The process should be provided at a data orientation meeting for Engineering firms that are new to VDC. The VDC Design Team Work Instructions includes instructions on the use of the data and the corresponding module catalog, as well as example submittal requirements. These instructions are assumed available on the web, a search at this time did not find anything.
Even though VDC is much more than a 3D package, VDC typically provides 2D data that should be compliant with the A/E/C CADD Standard. However, the question is, does the A/E/C CADD Standard meet the needs of VDC users? The A/E/C CADD Standard is being augmented to accommodate certain VDC/3D aspects. For instance, in a 3D view of the VDC model, many items may not be compliant because there currently is no guidance in the A/E/C CADD Standard for 3D objects. The output from a VDC model currently is the bid-set of 2D drawing sheets, in addition to the model itself. Therefore, the A/E/C CADD Standard is extremely relevant and is required.
Standard folder structure tbd
Core data-set: The core data-set is the common data-set across all projects and includes objects and basic data that typically are encountered in the design. At the start of a project, acquire the latest core data-set and add data as needed to support the project. The Centers of Standardization are targeted first for the move to VDC, therefore, their standard designs should be collected and posted. Some of the items included in the core data-set are:
Accompanying the core data-set are the standard network resource files for software, these include: fonts, line styles, dimensions styles, symbols, color table, plotter configuration, pen table, plotter calibration file, plot drivers for CALS, PDF, seed files (for coordinate readout, global origin, working units), discipline specific seed files, sheet specific seed files, model specific seed files, default PCS file, and DGNLIB configuration files
Standard-centric Data-sets This data-set includes information that is unique to a specific project type and is added to the core data-set.
Project Specific Data-sets: The combined core data-set and standard-centric data-set can not be all inclusive for every type of project. A project data-set is a combination of the core data-set, the standard-centric data-set and information that has been added by the designers to support the project.
Zone Master Model: This is a breakout of a projects discipline-specific VDC Model elements into quadrants and/or work-zones.
At the end of a project (longer of shorter intervals), an analysis will be made of objects and data in the project specific data-set for inclusion into the core data-set or a standard-centric data-set (there is no guidance on this process) and made available on the central server library. Through this process the project data-set should become more robust over time, i.e., learning. For learning, there must be a process that supports it. This process includes four-steps to update from design submittals.
More information on the Corps’ ProjectWise is available through the Implementation Fact Sheet
The standards will be adapted so perform a literature review to add to this guide.
Just as the shift from non-integrated planning to VDC requires some adaptation and adjustment, so too does the development of a VDC Team. Most sites’ immediate reaction will be to place a Manager or a Project Engineer as the lead VDC Engineer. However, based on CoE experiences using VDC, this is not advised. “The pit,” is an environment where engineers are in a single space collaborating at the same time on a VDC plan (this is known as Integrated Concurent Engineering (ICE) at JPL laboratories). For each engineer in the pit a networked computer must be provided with access to a projector, whiteboard, and conference phone. The pit should be comfortable as specified by the occupants. (see Hartmann et al. 2003) 
There are considerations to make when forming a VDC team:
At each planning office, there are three duties related to VDC:
Each office needs to designate someone to serve as the Project Engineer to mentor the field engineers. For the first 6 months of implementing VDC, this person should be allowed to devote 100% of their time to the VDC implementation. Depending on the VDC workload after 6 months, this may taper off to 50 percent. The first instinct is to designate the current Senior Estimator as the Project Engineer, this may or may not be prudent to avoid at all costs (CoE found issues with CAD Managers on design teams). The person appointed as the Project Engineer during implementing VDC they should not have production responsibilities at the site. The Lead VDC Engineer’s duties are:
Designating one or more Field Engineers at a site is mandatory, these include a junior engineer temporarily titled an office engineer. The Field Engineer duties are:
The engineers planing the process, that is, the people working in the “VDC Pit.” In VDC, planning decisions are constantly made, so you want the engineers doing the work not telling someone else what to change. The Planning Team is responsible for design requirements for their focus (earthwork, structures, underground), execution of this, the plan itself, and changes in a 3D environment. On design-build projects the planners can transition from designers and then to field engineers during the construction phase. While at this early stage of VDC implementation it may be necessary to designate a specific VDC engineer, eventually it is anticipated the planners, field engineers, and VDC engineer will be synonymous with respect to VDC technology.
The gist of the standard data-set is that a folder structure is provided containing “buckets” and the Engineering firm (in-house or 3rd party) will fill the “buckets” with a VDC model and then return the “buckets” during submittals. The planning teams must have some formal process to create the data as it is expected. The process should be provided at a data orientation meeting for those that are new to VDC.
Standard folder structure tbd
Core data-set: The core data-set is the common data-set across all projects and includes scope, time, and cost that typically are encountered in the planning. At the start of a project, acquire the latest core data-set and add data as needed to support the project. Any Centers of Standardization that are likley targeted first for the move to VDC, their standard designs should be collected and posted. Some of the items included in the core data-set are:
Accompanying the core data-set are the standard settings for software, these include: layout, font, color, and units [this list is incomplete, add to as necessary].
Standard-centric Data-sets This data-set includes information that is unique to a specific project type and is added to the core data-set.
Project Specific Data-sets: The combined core data-set and standard-centric data-set can not be all inclusive for every type of project. A project data-set is a combination of the core data-set, the standard-centric data-set and information that has been added by the planners to support the project.
Zone Master Model: This is a breakout of a projects discipline-specific VDC Model elements into quadrants and/or work-zones.
At the end of a project (longer of shorter intervals), an analysis will be made of plans in the project specific data-set for inclusion into the core data-set or a standard-centric data-set (there is no guidance on this process) and made available on the central server library. Through this process the project data-set should become more robust over time, i.e., learning. For learning, there must be a process that supports it. This process includes four-steps to update from design submittals.
Note that VDC may be different from the perspective of the Construction Manager (owner, owners representative or general contractor if not self performing), Quality Control, Engineering, or Self-performing General Contractor or Subcontractor if not self performing.
Construction Manager (CM) Guidelines (Owner or owners representative)
Civil VDC CM Guidelines developed pragmatically on the Fulton Street $750M cut & cover subway project Timo Hartmann, Goodrich, Fischer, & Eberhard 2007
General Contractor (vertically integrated) and Subcontractors
Civil VDC Construction Guidelines developed through case studies of the Reno $170M concrete subgrade rail transportation corridor Peterson, Tutti, & Fischer 2009
The VDC engineer (the heavy construction project engineer) will define and establish the goal(s) and information flows, represent these in a process schema and get buy-in from all involved parties. The VDC engineer will test the integrated project plan (take a point, length, area, volume, and any special objects through at least two passes through the entire integrated system*) and find for the field engineers which model-based information they need to prepare [work methods], review the schedule milestones and contract requirements for when [deadlines], and through integrated project plan testing find in what format [electronic file type].
The VDC engineer selects a field engineer (if self-performed or subcontractor if general contractor) - traditionally this will likely be the structures engineer - as responsible to provide for review
1) a VDC plan, 2) compile the 3D object model from the other field engineers' files, and 3) the clash detection results.
The responsible field engineer and clashing field engineers together assign responsibility for a clash and find a solution. If the responsible field engineer and the clashing field engineers are unable to resolve a clash then the VDC engineer will mediate a resolution or elevate the issue to the project manager^.
If the VDC integrated project plan includes the time and cost components then the VDC engineer either links the 4D model and cost or reviews the scheduler's and cost engineer's work. Throughout the project, the VDC engineer, maintains a central server space, reviews the integrated project plan, verifies there are no significant clashes [runs clash detection but may not have context to determine what is significant], provides technical support, establishes guidelines, acts as surge resources to augment resources when needed, and documents the process for drafting a technical report at the project conclusion^.
First, the purpose of VDC model: analysis, costing, scheduling, and visualization. Ask what level of detail the system is anticipated to be used for, e.g., 5-week construction management, performance simulation or reasoning purposes.
Design and test the hardware configuration with the software tools, check for: processing speed, random access memory capacity, hard-drive speed (capacity may not be significant with remote storage), cooling, operating system, and drivers. The general configuration that may have worked for the previous project will not necessarily work for this specific project.
Example system given here
|Aspect||Software tool||Project spec. or inde. db||Licensing|
|Scope 3D||AutoCAD Civil 3D v2011 x64||MUC 2D *.dgn||existing AutoCAD 2007|
|Quantity Takeoff||Tocoman ilink (BETA x64 version)||ad-hoc groups & f(x) for project||existing Toco Student lic.|
|Time0||MSProject .mpp||MUC MSProject Schedule||student lic.|
|Time1||Primavera P6 v7.0||MUC MSProject Schedule||student lic.|
|Time2||Vico Control LOB*||ad-hoc fragnets; MUC prod. & crew; MUC MSProject Schedule||student lic.|
|Integration||Primavera ODBC SQL & Excel|
|4D Visualization||Navisworks & Syncro||Ad-hoc links||student lic.|
|Cost||sfirion||MUC prod., Means prod. & vendor cost||existing CIFE licenses|
*LOB = Line of Balance
The use of an ontology and provisions for it throughout the integrated project design is critical. A specific ontology may be provided by the contractor or a general format, such as, CSI MasterFormat can be used.
The model is not anticipated to be revised to a higher level-of-detail at a later date therefore the model will be taken to the full detail as presented in the following Model content plan table. The revision of detail in the model typically requires reconstructing the affected scope-time-cost models and this is anticipated to be a week long process for a single VDC engineer. At the construction phase the documents available at construction will be in varying levels of detail; some will be taken into more detail, some reduced to less detail, others recreated, and some ignored. The specifics of why some aspect of the design is taken to a specific level of detail is based on factors, significance, and relationships that are not represented in this guide - commonly known as the why and learned by doing.
Adapted from AECbytes: Organizing the Development of a Building Information Model by Jim Bedrickt
Selected niche operations in the project will be modeled to a higher level of detail to illustrate to location.
|Exogenous x||Function f(x)||Endogenous(monitoring)||Reason for f(x)*|
|Concrete||M*depth||scale ticket||eliminates need to model cross-section|
|Concrete backing fiber||length * cross-section|
|Sub-grade||M2||grading area(visual %)||minimum model representation|
|Sub-grade finishing||M2||grading area(visual %)||minimum model representation|
|Cut/fill||ave. end area||NA(visual %)||difficult to represent in 3D model|
|Shoulder fill||length * cross-section area||area(wheel)||eliminates need to model shoulders|
|Expansion joint||length (M)||area(count*QTO), sawcut||eliminates need to model|
|Saw cut||Width * length / interval(n)||area(wheel)||eliminates need to model|
|Reinforcing cages||width / cageLength * length / interval(n)||area(wheel)||eliminates need to model,Expansion joint reinforcing|
*it is assumed that accuracy is acceptable
Per VDC seat:
Learning time: It takes 9 months of graduate work to gain a baseline awareness of VDC. An equivalent time is necessary to gain a similar proficiency in structural and soils engineering. As a rule of thumb, in the construction industry it takes 5-years to become proficient at CAD. From experience, it takes 12 months of dedicated scheduling to become proficient. The process to learn construction knowledge by doing (as a field hand) is 3 years of field work. An awareness of office clerical processes takes 1 year. Also, there is time to learn IT and computer programming. In total, after an undergraduate degree, and without managerial ability, 3 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 5 = 13 years to build a competent VDC engineer. If an undergraduate degree is completed at 22 then at 35 you have a competent VDC engineer. The startup of a new VDC system takes about 6-months to design, build, test, debug, and learn.
The licenses fees for a system of x64 operating system, 3D computer aided drafting, quantity takeoff, quantity manager, middleware, gantt scheduling, line of balance scheduling, spreadsheet, wiki, and visualization is more than $15,000 and will begin replacement or obsolescence after 2 to 3 years.
The hardware requirements for multiple monitors, graphics cards, cooling, peripheral devices (mouse and keyboard) plus the processor, hard drive, and motherboard is about $4,000 and will begin replacement after 2 to 3 years.
The IT support services is conservatively $2,000 per year or an equivalent cost in labor completing research, participating on web blogs, and networking with others that are IT proficient to share knowledge.
The 'VDC Pit” at the minimum is a folding table, a comfortable reclining chair with adjustable arm rests, a network outlet, HVAC, more ventilation, widows and some lighting, collaborative space, and a power supply. The additional cost is minimal in a quality existing office environment, desk requirements are substantially less than typical. Also, the cubicles can be removed and sold to help offset the cost of the extra hardware.
The estimated annual cost per VDC seat is $9,000 plus salary and lease
The assumed baseline cost today per field engineer seat is 2,300 plus salary and lease
Implementing virtual design and Construction at the workface.
In the field there are natural hazards, 1) large equipment, 2) steep dropoffs, uneven footings, and trips, 3) Rebar cages, 4) obstructing workflow, and 5) weather and environmental contaminants; these are all made worse by walking around staring at a computer screen.
Update the integrated model with actual project actions and then forecast expected short-term and long-term completion expected actions.
This section is a placeholder until theory is developed or empirical data and experiences are available on the VDC specifics of the O&M phase. The National BIM Standard (NBIMS) Development Team is looking at the Construction Operations Building Information Exchange (COBIE) format for its initial release. When adopted, the Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and Computer-aided Facilities Management Systems (CAFM) will have a standard format for importing VDC information into their software.
LOD 500: As-built Operation and Maintenance (O&M Phase)
For example contracts see:
Integrated Project Delivery (IPD):
aka. Civil VDC Competent Project Engineer (sub parts applies to Field Engineers)
Includes travel coverage, and moving expenses (to and from project)
GS Grade: 12, $72,000 to $96,000 ($2006US) with location adjustment.
Management support in the form of a specific supervisor at the Section Chief level is necessary. The supervisor must provide the initial overall project assignments in terms of broad general objectives, identify anticipated problem areas, and relative priorities. Controversial matters involving policy considerations, are the responsibility of the supervisor. The VDC engineer will recommend several solutions and then be available for discussion and joint agreement on a solution. The supervisor will review completed work for adequacy in terms of the broad objectives and for compliance with policies and regulations .
The VDC engineer exercises considerable freedom in establishing and the employment of procedures and methods in solving engineering and project management problems. The VDC engineer is responsible for carrying out, directing, and coordinating the work associated with Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) models, including :
Work typically requires intensive coordination of project work requirements with other technical and administrative elements of the project to ensure technical adequacy, completeness, timeliness, and consistency of the finished product. Work requires the application of a comprehensive and specialized knowledge of engineering principles, methods and techniques, and criteria relating to VDC integrated project design. The VDC engineer serves as coordinator for project teams working in the VDC environment. This position includes a wide scope of assignments, work objectives, and responsibilities similar in nature to those characteristically assigned to professional engineering positions. Guidelines include applicable laws and practices, publications, project directives, engineering texts and manuals, technical periodicals, and specific project stakeholder policies. Such guidelines are broad and general and require the use of judgment in selecting alternative approaches, and if required, developing new methods and procedures, documenting, and disseminating to the wider body of practitioners .
VDC engineers should possess excellent time management skills and the ability to contribute to multiple projects or large project sub-activities in a team environment; strong data management skills; strong problem solving and analysis skills; the ability to set up quality control processes and document procedures . It has been determined by the US Army CoE that the assignments of the VDC engineer position can be effectively accomplished by a person applying extensive practical experience, and it has been determined that the position should function under the technician rather than the licensed professional engineering concept .
The Civil VDC engineer must have a minimum of 3 years practical experience in all of the following project types:
A Bachelor’s (engineer) and Master's (lead engineer) degree in Computer Science/Civil Engineering/Construction Engineering or Management; with experience in data management and information technology .
Similar to professional licensing provisions, the degree requirements can be waived with 10,000 hours of verified experience at the journeyman level in any trade in the above project types, demonstrated competency in information technology, and the written recommendation of three supervisors or engineers. One week course resulting in a certificate in each of the following: a VDC program, and a dedicated programs for the each of the specific softwares used in 3D modeling, scheduling, cost estimating, and the OSHA 30-hour safety, for a total of five weeks of coursework.
All new VDC engineers must work in an apprentice role with an established VDC engineer for a duration of not less than one full iteration of an integrated project plan, about 3 months. At the culmination of their apprenticeship they must write a technical report of their experience and publish in a publicly assessable database as verification of completion; the mentoring VDC engineer is co-author.
The VDC Engineer is responsible for the civil VDC integrated project plan, including, 3D models, 4D models, Geographic Information System (GIS), Business Intelligence, and Project Management data. From this, they will develop useful exhibits, decision-making tools, and information reports for VDC projects and control Database management system for tracking project data for engineering and construction projects .
Based on experience and a thorough knowledge of engineering and general design requirements and input from other affected elements, for use by in-house and engineering firms’ design teams, construction contractors, and facility operation and maintenance staff’s management, develop and maintain a project independent standard data set template of projects from inception through operational project life, as a Center of Standardization and a Module Catalog or Cell Library:
The draft Civil VDC document presented on this wiki page is derived from portions of the US Army Corps of Engineers BIM roadmap. A summary of the roadmap is given here:
The US Army COE developed the civil guidelines based on their experiences with building information model (BIM) implementation. There are important similarities and differences between BIM and VDC. The most significant is that BIM must be engineered toward the collaboration and motivation of the building industry subcontractors. The civil industry typically is composed of vertically integrated contractors that self-perform the majority of work - often supplying the majority of material and equipment with long standing labor, some provide engineering services - and so the VDC system does not have as much weight given to collaboration and the breaking down of silos between the owners representative, architect, engineer, construction manager, subcontractors, and the trades.
Building Information Modeling (BIM): A Road Map for Implementation To Support MILCON Transformation and Civil Works Projects within the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
published: October 2006
authors: Beth A. Brucker, Michael P. Case, E. William East, Brian K. Huston, Susan D. Nachtigall, Johnette C. Shockley, Steve C. Spangler, and James T. Wilson
Purpose: The guideline scope is civil works with respect to works, business practices, industry partners, and software vendors. The anticipated benefit is in speed, cost, and quality of the project life-cycle.
Background: There is BIM in the building industry and the USACE anticipates it will cross-over to the civil industry, so some guidelines are prudent. There is current MILCON Transformation that has brought out Time and Cost Challenges that need to be resolved. Precedent for VDC has been established in the “automobile, airplane, electronics, and consumer goods manufacturers model-based digital design processes”
1) The report is posted here
2) The MILCON transformation Design-Build request for proposal template includes language to encourage contractors to use VDC as part of their responses and the Centers of Standardization (COS) are required to use VDC on their standard designs (“Realignment/Establishment of Centers of Standardization (COS)” memorandum, dated 3 March 2006 (see Appendix H))
3) USACE district offices have conducted projects with vendor specific VDC modeling platforms.
Implications (breaking point):
S. Staub and M. Fischer ”The Practical Needs of Integrating Scope, Cost, and Time” Durability of Building Materials and Components 8. (1999) Edited by M.A. Lacasse and D.J. Vanier. Institute for Research in Construction, Ottawa ON, K1A 0R6, Canada, pp. 2888-2898.
These two papers should be read together as one document, this is an excellent review of the issues confronted and solved by two BIM engineers in the building industry working in two eras of implementation:
 Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) Engineer, Parsons Brinckerhoff (PB) Job Posting #:10053 (2010)
 US Army Corps of Engineers VDC Road Map ERDC Technical Report 06-10 (October 2006) (ppt)
 Timo Hartmann, William E. Goodrich, Martin Fischer, & Doug Eberhard “Fulton Street Transit Center Project: 3D/4D Model Application Report” Stanford University, CIFE Technical Report #TR170, MAY 2007.http://cife.stanford.edu/online.publications/TR170.pdf
 Timo Hartmann and Raymond E. Levitt, Understanding and Managing Three-Dimensional/Four-Dimensional Model Implementations at the Project Team Level, J. Constr. Engrg. and Mgmt. 136, 757 (2010), DOI:10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000174 http://dx.doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)CO.1943-7862.0000174
 Timo Hartmann, Martin Fischer, Ernst Rank, Marcus Schreyer, and Frank Neuberg “Integration of a Three Dimensional CAD Environment into an Interactive Workspace”, Stanford University CIFE Technical Report #146, August 2003. http://cife.stanford.edu/online.publications/TR146.pdf
 Peterson, F., Fischer, M., and Tutti, T. “Integrated Scope-Schedule-Cost Model System for Civil Works”, K. Belloni, J. Kojima, I. Seppä (Editors), “VTT Symposium 258: CIB 1st International Conference on Improving Construction and Use Through Integrated Design Solutions (IDS)”, Julkaisija - Utgivare, Helsinki, Finland, pp 176 – 199, 2009. ISBN 978-951-38-6341-8
 Peterson, F. & Fischer, M. “Case Study: Scope-Cost-Time Integrated Model with Work Breakdown Structure”, Stanford University CIFE Working Paper 115, April 2009. www.stanford.edu/group/CIFE/online.publications/WP115.pdf
[*] Preliminary unvalidated finding on West Merced Overhead Project on State Route 99 Experiment
[^] Preliminary unvalidated finding on the Stanford Law School Project
[**] Preliminary unvalidated finding on the Munich Airport Third Runway Project
[ ] Remaining content that is not cited from the above sources is derived from several years of lab tests at CIFE with students in the CEE241 course and is published as: