The benefits of VDC in project delivery
Post on 19 Jun 2015

The Architectural, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industry has made significant strides in improving productivity through the use of new IT applications. The net result of these changes has been increased profitability and reduced risk exposure for those firms embracing these new tools. One set of these new applications is referred to as Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) tools, which are used to visualize, analyze, and evaluate project performance. Building Information Modeling (BIM), a subset of VDC, integrates the information for multiple disciplines and project phases into a common multi-dimensional model. 

The use of VDC technologies has been proven to significantly decrease project time and cost by reducing errors and omissions, improving project coordination, enabling more effective communication of the project scope, increasing site safety, and minimizing changes. Benefits achieved on previous projects [1] include: 

  • 50% time savings in design document phase
  • 80% reduction in time to complete cost estimate
  • 60% fewer RFIs
  • No MEP change orders
  • 7% schedule savings

3D Design Conflict Analysis


This type of analysis utilizes 3D models that represent a project’s major systems to automatically identify design conflicts and/or constructability issues at an early stage when they are easy to resolve. 3D design conflict analyses helps to reduce risk and liability exposure during design and construction by:

  • Eliminating error-prone manual checking of 2D drawings
  • Reducing design errors and omissions
  • Reducing coordination and constructability issues

3D and 4D Modeling

4D models integrate a 3D model of a project design with a project’s critical path method (CPM) schedule to create a “virtual” construction simulation. 3D and 4D models to help reduce cost and add value to projects through the following uses:



    • Marketing presentations 
    • Feasibility studies for urban planning and master planning 
    • Planning and/or zoning board presentations 
    • Communication of project scope 
    • Schedule assessment/validation with "what-if" schedules



    • Resource management 
    • Site coordination and safety 
    • Workflow coordination 
    • Move management 
    • Monthly schedule updates 
    • Change orders

    • 3D as-built models
    • Training tool during operations and maintenance


Exponent’s team is comprised of VDC consultants who have been providing VDC services to clients for the past seven years. Because we can draw on our in-house expertise in the areas of engineering and construction management, we can provide a multi¬disciplinary approach to streamlining our clients’ projects through the use of VDC technologies. We are hired by clients to provide two types of VDC services:

For clients seeking to utilize VDC on their projects, we can add value by: 

  • Preparing 3D and 4D presentations to help win new work
  • Creating contractual BIM standards to reduce risk
  • Converting 2D designs to 3D models
  • Performing 3D design conflict analyses to reduce errors
  • Streamlining the fabrication process by using 3D models
  • Creating 4D models to reduce project cost and time
  • Integrating 3D laser scanning with our other VDC services

For clients seeking to implement VDC internally, we can add value by: 

  • Creating VDC implementation strategies and budgets
  • Completing technology assessments to determine the best hardware and software configurations
  • Training staff
  • Assisting with pilot project planning and oversight

by Gao, J. and Fischer, M. 2004.  Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE), Stanford University, Stanford, CA.