Tuesday, March 4, 2014

We've been busy... LASER SCANNING

Maybe you happened to catch the article in Building Design + Construction Magazine about the Top 5 Trends in BIM/VDC, but regardless, it's time for an update to our Gilbane VDC blog!

Since purchasing our first FARO Focus 3D back in August (2013) we've undertaken a fair number of projects.

FARO Focus 3D 120S: (Always Hold with Two Hands!)
  1. Physics Building at Miami University, Oxford Ohio
  2. Food Manufacturing Facility, Ohio
  3. NIH Project, Washington DC
  4. Penn State University HUB, State College PA
  5. Central Utility Tunnel in Chicago
  6. Food Processing Facility, Ohio
  7. Life Science Project, Boston MA
  8. Site Logistics at USC, Los Angeles
  9. Architecture Renovation, Phoenix AZ
  10. Office Fit-Out, Boston MA
  11. Clemson University, South Carolina
  12. Central Utility Plant in Florida
  13. Airport Project, Boston MA
  14. California Courthouse, Madera CA
  15. Confidential Project, Texas
  16. Penn State University, State College PA
Laser Scanning to Capture Slab Edge Conditions in New England
From an Return on Investment (ROI) perspective, we believe the laser scanner paid for itself in the first two weeks of use (On projects #1 & #2).  Every other project since then has just added value... it's added so much value, that by the time we hit project #7, we purchased our second laser scanner. The second scanner is project assigned and primarily sees use verifying construction tolerances on a job with massive amounts of model-based prefab and a full time VDC team. It also plays a secondary role facilitating laser scanning around the Northeast.


  • Don't argue dimensions with me, I'm using laser beams.

Over the past 7 months we've had a number of cases where the field team, trade contractors, or architects have argued with us about dimensions of existing conditions. Over the past 7 months, we've been right every time. These challenges are fun and entertaining, because it underscores the fact that BIM & VDC, no matter how established we think it is, is still an emerging technology.

Final Thoughts: don't listen to a VDC advocate. Listen to some of our trade contractors:

“It was especially useful since we were working in an old existing building that was not everywhere square and level.  And it also showed greater detail than the paper drawings and the 3d models.”
  -Plumbing Contractor

“…it was a huge help on [walking] trades through the building… One of the benefits I found from the scan is not having to make numerous field visits to verify the building structure.”

  -Sheet Metal Contractor

In future blog posts we'll talk through our workflows and show some more deliverables and uses, but stay tuned for more updates in the future.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Composite Underground Systems Coordination Plan

VDC is assisting the head superintendent with the locations and installation sequences for 9 systems using a floor plan with its building systems color coded (in this case a composite underground foundation/plumbing/electrical plan).
VDC coordinated and color coded the following systems: Garage drain vents, garage drains, trap primers, sub-surface drainage, sanitary drains, gas oil separators, clear waste water, temporary power conduit and grounding triads.  Elevation text is also given for specific inverts at multiple pitch locations.

This is a prime example of creating a 2 Dimensional document for field use from multiple BIMs. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Transitioning from Design Models to Construction Models:

On my other blog, I've been posting about the limitations of schematic design and design development models.  From a detail standpoint, 3 dimensional models are still lacking the constructability information that instead is captured in 2 dimensional detail sections.

To bridge that gap, and to create a 3D model that captures this 'missing constructability,' a CM needs information from all the parties involved in the construction.  We need reference plane information from the architect, structural information from the engineer, and sequence information from the trade contractors. 

Colocation brings all this expertise together into one room, but again, it's typically the CM who takes on the modeling responsibility, as we're the ones who get blamed when the schedule busts because of coordination failures.

Architect's Model
Curtain Wall Fabricator's 2D detail
Gilbane Virtual Mockup

The creation of virtual mockups is one of the hardest items to achieve a high rate of ROI on, due to the amount of time spent acquiring all the information, then putting it into a format that benefits all parties, but Gilbane feels that it's one of those areas where failure to plan means planning to fail.


A graphical representation of how we used Navisworks to sequence steel at the beginning of the BIM coordination process.  Upon receiving the engineer's steel model and coordinating with the project schedule's erection sequence, it took less than an hour to capture the information and create the graphic. We then distributed the image to all participants of the project (architect, engineers, trades and construction management team). Sequence 1, 2 and 3 soon became common practice when referring to steel and area locations

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Are we speaking the same language?

Wasn't planning on doing another post this soon, but I ran across a blog post I just had to share. But first, a little background.

For the past couple years, I've had a pet peeve: the Ds. Specifically, things like 4D, 5D, 7D, XD, etc. when talking about BIM. You know, those hype phrases used to describe BIM uses and the information involved. When they come up, I usually go off on a small rant about them being meaningless and unnecessarily cryptic, even to most people in our industry, and that we should just say what we mean.

So, today, I came across this blog post which argues my same point, but much more eloquently, and so I share it with you now.

At the end of the day, we should say what we mean, and we'll all sleep better at night.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Secret Life of Revit Families: Zones of Influence

Ever wonder what Revit families are doing when you're not looking? We do, too. This will be the first of several posts looking at some of the families we create here in the VDC group.

Today's family is a footing zone of influence object. We've tried a couple things to accomplish this before, but it seems that creating a simple face-based generic model with shape handles is the most flexible.

(You should also check out Myers' description of how useful these sorts of things can be over on his VDC blog for what he's doing out in Boston).

So, without futher ado, meet the family:

Once loaded up, snap it to the bottom of what ever footing needs it:

Adjust the shape handles to match the size of the footing:

And then check the type and instance parameters to make sure it is set correctly to match the conditions being represented (ie: it goes deep enough into the ground so you know where you can and can't run things near footings).

And here's a shot of the familiy in the wild (selected in blue for clarity - you can see his siblings in "clearance yellow" next to him):

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Women In Construction Week

Virtual Design and Construction is featured for Women In Construction week.
Check out the link below, which introduces you to our newest member to the Gilbane VDC team.