Technical Report: MER99 Experiment Protocol

This wiki technical page supports the Civil VDC implementation for the Merced Highway 99 experiment. I modify this wiki as my plans evolve and as I complete tests. Please feel free to peer review my work (email comments to Since this wiki is a 'living draft', understand that your expectations for spelling, grammar, and style must be relaxed. And the scientific peer review process is incomplete - meaning use your best judgement before reusing the content.

Be aware that:

  • The data and conclusions may be incorrect,
  • This is a new use for a wiki; this is not a compilation of expert knowledge, it is the compilation of lab and field test observations, and
  • The format may be confusing and the purpose of this wiki may be confusing since it is a constant work in progress

The technical knowledge contained in this page and the linked pages are critical to the implementation of Virtual Design and Construction; feel free to reuse and share this knowledge, please provide an acknowledgement and cite as:

Peterson, F. and Fischer, M. “CIFE Wiki Technical Report: Civil VDC Merced99.” CIFE wiki. Stanford University Center for Integrated Facility Engineering. Last accessed dd month yyyy.

Protocol Protocol

The gist:

  • One sentence of scientific contribution: “A robust method to code quantities”; robust means foolproof and intuitive
  • The research question or 'null hypothesis': To what degree does the 'CARS coding algorithm' [the method does not have a name yet] improve , accuracy as a measurable metric, the existing coding practices.
  • see Civil VDC guidelines for general VDC procedures


  • Red text denotes additions to the baseline plan
  • Strike through text denotes deletions to the baseline plan

Safety precautions

  • Do not provide the schedule for the contractor to work from (if they'd like to use the model-based schedule) until the schedule has been calibrated because, if incorrect resources are applied a dangerous scenario can result, for example a crew is tasked with moving formwork but are not provided sufficient labor, therefore those assisting may be overexerted and sustain an injury.
  • Be considerate of those who currently complete processes manually, the model-based system may appear to make them redundant
  • Remember that those helping with this experiment have placed a degree of their professional reputation on the line

MER99 Specific Integrated Model Approach

The integration path has shifted as the project progresses

  • Baseline: 2D.microstation –> 2D.ACAD2011 –> C3D2011+4Dviewer –> 3D.ACAD2009 –> TCM.ilink –> TCM.QM + HCSS –> Control+P6+4D –> XML+timecard csv –> Coding –> csv outputfile
  • Revised1: 2D.microstation –> 2D.ACAD2012 –> C3D2012+4Dviewer <break> 'RGW bill of material' –> TCM.QM+Bid –> Control+4D –> XML+timecard csv –> Coding –> csv outputfile
  • Revised2: 2D.microstation –> 2D.ACAD2012 –> C3D2012/13 –> C3D2012.QTO –> TCM.QM+Bid –> Control+.Prod(Actual,HCSS)+Synchro4D –> XML+timecard csv –> Coding –> csv outputfile
  • Current: 2D.microstation –> 2D.ACAD2012 –> C3D2012/13 –> C3D2012.QTO –> TCM.QM+Bid –> Control+.Prod(Actual,HCSS)+Navis4D.2013 –> XML1+XML2+CSVattributes+CSVtimecard –> Coding –> csv output
Subcomponent Approach Application Input
Ontology RGW-CIFE text import of project specific chart of account layer name Excel MER99 Project Specific Chart of Account, Description, Units, Quantity, and Location Ontology
3D Scope dimensional modeling Autodesk Civil 3D model Caltrans 2D Microstation plans
Quantity Takeoff location-based Tocoman ilink quantity takeoff Civil 3D QTO and Agtek QTO C3D MER99 dwg
Quantity Manager recipe formula and tacit functions Tocoman Express 2.0 C3D QTO
Production Library bottom-up ViewPoint + HCSS RGW MER99 actual & bid production
Schedule location-based Vico Control RGW surtrak schedule
4D simulation location-based Navisworks preliminary based on RGW-CIFE C3D and RGW surtrak schedule
Cost Library Production-based bottom-up HCSS RGW HCSS cost database

Experiment Test Platform

Preliminary lessons from software implementation

The test procedures, lessons-learned, and results are on separate wiki pages linked with the aspect labels:

Aspect Software tool version:space req. format Alternative Project specific or independent db Licensing Hardware or Settings Requirement Passed Testing File
Shared Storage AFS, Dropbox, & RGW ftp 20GB local C drive + email provided by Stanford X
Boot Manager Plop Win7 Boot Manager open license student Multiple drives and OS X
Computing Operating System Windows Server (tower) 2008R2 x64 Standard 32GB+(1.5*RAM)paging SP0 : (laptop) 2003R2 x32 Standard SP2 (TCM QM) 2GB+(1.5*RAM)paging Alternative boot drive with x32 OS or VMware machine (2nd boot failed with HP laptop and VM failed with TCM QM) Student license 2GB & 1GB(laptop) RAM X
Ontology:Chart of Account Excel 2010 Pro xls & csv RGW HCSS database Purchased Office 2010 X
Scope 2D Form-z scaling, Civil 3D 2011 import, & xyz brand dgn –> dwg batch converter 2010 dwg CalTrans 2D .dgn existing AutoCAD 2011, Purchased Form-z, & trial batch converter X
Scope 3D AutoCAD Civil 3D 2011 2012 F.51.0.0 & F.107.0.0 : 12GB 2009 2007 dwg 2010 dwg test C3D 2012 x64 CalTrans 2D .dgn existing AutoCAD 2007 >4.0GHz + RAID SSD + 16GB RAM + >1600Mhz RAM + remove OS memory cache limit X
QTO Arch Integration AutoCAD Architecture 2009 2009 2007 dwg 2010 dwg + 2011 viewer & C3D enabler Tocoman ilink ACAD will not install on x64, VMware x32 tested with 2009 x32, cannot model in 2009 ACAD if 2010 ACAD objects present, if temporary structures are modeled then ACAD 2010+ must be used Henning had hard-to-find 2009 x64 X
Quantity Takeoff Tocoman ilink ACAD 2009 incompatible w/ 64bit; VM x32 OS cannot communicate w/ remote server Civil 3D QTO tlx, att, csv Innovaya Architecture 2011 use 2nd laptop with 32bit OS OS x32 on boot from 2nd HD (works) Autodesk QTO Civil 3D 2011 QTO function ad-hoc groups Toco Student lic. AutoCAD Student Lic. X
Integration Tocoman Express Excel 2.0.3 2.2.0 +new dll file existing X
Quantity Manager f(x) Tocoman Quantity Manager (Citrix remote) (local laptop x32 drive) db TCM2010 Innovaya; 1) Tocoman Quantity Manager (local) OS x32 on boot from 2nd HD (works Intel SSD, turn on services and login with windows authentication); 2) Tocoman Quantity Manager (local) VM x32 OS (SQL issue) Tocoman Quantity Manager (local) OS x32 [Intel SSD], turn on services and login with tcm/tcm f(x) for project Toco Student lic. X
Integration Tocoman Express Control2009 existing X
Time: Location-based Schedule DynaRoad Vico.Control2009SP3 2008dpp 2009dpp Primavera P7, MS Project ad-hoc fragnets; RGW prod. & crew student lic. unusably slow: 2.3Ghz x2; HP.dv2120 laptop; x32OS; SATAII SSD; 4GB.RAM X
Integration Primavera P6 v7.0 ODBC XE or SQL.Control2009:SDKbug.TT#12526 MS.Project2010 Excel ODBC Control2009SP3.MSP-XML MS.Project Import.XML/Export.MPP xer xml–>mpp student X
4D Visualization Synchro (crash w/ C3D) Navisworks 2013 nwf Navisworks 20112013 Innovaya (Civil 3D enabler issue) Ad-hoc links student lic. Quadro FX 5600 GPU 384-bit 1.5 DDR3 76.8 GB/sec. 600Mhz X
Integration Tocoman Express Excel xls:xls(x32 SSD)<-->xlsx(x64 SSD) changed x32 office license to 2010 allow converting xlsx to xls existing researcher's license X
Cost est existing CIFE licenses X
Crew, production & cost db RSMeans Heavy Construction (req. v9.5 Timberline) Heavy Bid HCSS 2010.3.1; RSMeans Cost Works Online Demo Production: RGW.actual[MIS.ViewPoint] + + CalTrans + Means & actual vendor cost Discussing with Sage a new license (a mess); Contact HCSS (no std db) existing CIFE licenses X
Management Information System (MIS) ViewPoint RGW licenses
GIS model Google KML file Command: PUBLISHKML CalTrans survey points lat: 37.31426666667, long: -120.522936111 open source X
VDC Engineer Efficiency RescueTime Monitor free-trial X
Shared Components Synergy thirdMonitor from laptop & x32 integration open source X
Timecard PDF forms Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro OCR software manually key to excel Captricity OCR purchased Captricity donated time failed testing Captricity passed tests X
Daedalus 'The Coder' VS2012BETA VS2008 Team System VS2013 & GCC XML input - C++ - csv output open-source alternatives and sampling SU-EE license X
Farmshare X
Sum of sub-parts as an integrated project plan


  • circle integrate from vico control back into TCM QM to capture edits in vico back into the QM db to update associated quantities, function
  • add HCSS applied resource quantity; HCSS requires a circle integration update from Vico before handing back the estimated applied resources - this should be available from Vico xml, it is in the dpp


  1. Potential Charrette: If the quality of the data collected through the ethnographic-pragmatic-action field experiment is insufficient then a more traditional lab-based charrette must be used to replicate and validate the field observations. A preliminary plan will be outlined here as a mitigation for the event this plan B is necessary.


Dissemination Plan

Technical Reports

The traditional approach to academic technical reports has been a research group specific electronic database of pdf copies of technical knowledge. These databases evolved out of paper-based documents stored on the shelves of the research group workspace and with this evolution the meaning and actual use of technical reports has broadened to include (for many good reasons) pre-publication journal papers, republished conference papers, research proposals, qualification papers, thesis papers, and technical papers, to name a few. The process to publish the technical paper takes a couple months plus the time to prepare the paper in the correct format and assemble the content in a traditional paper beginning, middle, end narrative. Through discussion with researchers in other departments and fields (my neighbors is student housing) I have found that the modern interconnected and technology infused world moves faster than the technical report format. I have also seen that the technical report is not peer reviewed and can contain nearly any material and often is written above the technical detail level needed to actually make somethings happen; the reports a published for many decades so if not written at an abstract level they would quickly become dated but not necessarily be any less interesting for their snapshot of time. This approach has been discussed with Henning and Ried in the CIFE technical report as a reality check and they agree it is worth giving a try, but that the traditional technical report must be maintained. This experiment will test a new technical paper approach:

  1. Research for documentation will be documented, and if a gap in the the documentation, not necessarily in knowledge, will be recorded
  2. Technical knowledge produced (or maybe reproduced but not previously documented) as part of this experiment will be recorded in this wiki format
  3. In parallel with the wiki to resolve the issue that this wiki has a low visitor rate and the feedback process by email is clumsy (email is required due to spamming of unlocked wiki pages), the web forum will be leveraged as a peer review process.
  4. The knowledge developed as part of the experiment will be posted in an applicable wiki as a question, and open for review
  5. The peer feedback will then be addressed and integrated into the wiki topic page
  6. Once the peer review is completed the wiki content will be rewritten into a traditional technical report content and submitted for CIFE review
  7. Hopefully followed by publication in the CIFE database as a PDF technical report

This experiment will use these forums

Conference Presentations

Journal Publication

See Also


[1] Forest Peterson, Martin Fischer, Olli Seppänen, Tomi Tutti, Richard See, Thomas Wingate ”Teaching Integrated Scope-Cost Methods with Model-based Tools” CIB W078 conference, 2009.

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