The AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Community (PD) promotes the architect’s leadership role in all project delivery methods by assembling and distributing knowledge and best practices for a variety of project delivery methods, e.g. design-build (DB), integrated project deliveries (IPD), and public-private partnerships (P3).
Good morning Grace,
I was delighted to receive your message and invitation. I am very interested and will be most pleased to participate in the conference call on July 18th at 4 PM EST. My Partner Michael Schroeder will also participate in the call.
Our contact information is as follows:
Al Spagnolo, AIA
Although I will be on vacation, this call is extremely important and I look forward to discussing this transformative platform with you and your committee.
All the best,
Al Spagnolo AIA, NCARB Founding Partner ---------------------------------------------- e. firstname.lastname@example.org t. 857.300.2610 d. 857.300.2620 c. 617.921.6300
WWW.SGA-ARCH.COM ---------------------------------------------- ARCHITECTURE | PLANNING INTERIOR DESIGN | VDC BRANDED ENVIRONMENTS
If VDC is crucial to our future, why has the profession been slow to respond?
Prior to the information revolution of the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was nearly impossible to effectively gather and communicate in a collaborative way. But even as we are into an age where it is easy to transfer large amounts of data, the major activities of traditional construction phases are still mainly on-site. Although, changes are not easy, the advents of big data analysis and computer age have resulted in unprecedented design advances. Nowadays, the tangible results are that the boundaries between project stakeholders have disappeared and traditional methods are slowly becoming unsuitable for collaborative approaches.
The main VDC challenge is to retain all the important design and construction techniques developed and refined over time, and employ them to develop a better, more efficient and accurate final product. For this reason, the nature of the work across design firms and most construction companies is drastically changing in the USA.
In fact, during the project and construction life cycle, all the stakeholders, such as owners, designers, engineers and contractors, spend more time collaborating on a single, unique, integrated model than reproducing drawings, creating separate models or working on-site.
What is the acceptance rate?
Since the VDC process is an innovation that creates opportunities for improvements in efficiency, it is not always adopted by all the potential users perhaps due to a lack of knowledge and clear understanding about the operating conditions, risks and performance measures.
Available data that estimate the acceptance rate of VDC into design firms and construction companies is lacking. The adoption or acceptance of a new innovation varies according to the Rogers bell curve. As illustrated, the adopter can be classified into four groups. The innovators are the first ones to use a certain innovation. Early adopters are those who belong to the first quarter of adopters of certain innovations. Late adopters are those who adopted the innovation, but who were not a part of the first quarter of potential users. The non-adopters are the last group, the ones who did not introduce any kind of new technology.
Adopting innovative and value-added services into one's practice obviously varies by firm culture, business strategies and investment capabilities. However, from our experience, regardless of the adopter's characteristics, implementing VDC has a major influence on design and project delivery
SGA can be ranked as an "innovator" based on Rogers theory because it is developing a VDC process, where design and construction partners collaboratively simulate all work on a unified 3D virtual environment before performing any work on-site. This allows stakeholders to more effectively manage all areas of a project (from schedule and budget to material procurement).
How might you and your team embrace VDC and utilize this new paradigm to advance our profession and to become equal participants or leaders in project delivery? From your own experience, what others tools can impact the technical revolution impacting the practice of architecture?
The VDC Team at SGA introduced an innovative approach during the project life cycle in order to build a bridge between the design and construction team for improving the project delivery and construction performance.
The four elements that enable this approach are the following:
Is it a matter of financial commitment? Can only large firms afford the investment? Is it too much risk for medium/small firms? If so, how might they create a plan to make it happen? What should they do first? How long might it take them to recoup their investment? Does the payback come in more profitable projects because of VDC process?
Generally, a well-structured VDC approach requires a company to invest in infrastructure, resources, research and development which may not generate returns in a short-term period. Even if most of the leading construction companies and design firms develop their own comprehensive VDC approach based on the four elements listed above, medium and small firms can produce a hybrid version of VDC and still improve the project delivery process.
Based on our successes, firms that implement their projects with the VDC approach, clearly realize the investment in the early design stages can greatly decrease change orders, RFI, material take-off inaccuracy, on-site materials waste and mitigate costly risks. VDC can also generate higher profitability and generate new sources of revenue for architects.
How does VDC change the design process?
The VDC approach developed at SGA creates a cooperative atmosphere between the design, contractor and subcontractor teams in order to solve potential issues in the early stages of design, when the cost impacts are lower. Moreover, our pivotal role decreases documentation and modeling redundancy and increases cross trade coordination thanks to the developed BIM technology and real-time adjustments tools such as the dashboard.
How does VDC change the dynamics of hiring? What kind of person needs to be integrated into a team to create a productive VDC environment? Where do you find these individuals? Are universities and colleges preparing students for this new paradigm?
A VDC professional should have technical knowledge related to 3D-modeling, strong understanding of the construction process, appreciation of the involved professional groups' needs combined with computer science and IT skills. Facility and/or asset management experience are also important traits in order to be a productive and contributing participant in the VDC environment.
We are collaborating with several universities and advocating for the role of VDC in academia to better prepare students for employment in architecture. At SGA, we are experiencing accelerated learning curves with recent graduates when they are integrated into the VDC team. Based on proven milestones achieved, we are promoting VDC in our recruiting efforts as well.