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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).

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Virtual Design and Construction

  • 1.  Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 07-02-2019 12:44
    The Search for a Solution: Transforming Design + Delivery through Virtual Design and Construction

    Architects are being called on with increasing frequency to deliver more complex buildings with shorter delivery schedules.There is more to accomplish and less room for error; and in my opinion, the traditional approach by many architects, contractors and owners has many challenges and issues to overcome.

    My firm has harnessed progressive and highly advanced technologies and integrated them with the most essential element in design: the relationship among human beings. With the right technological tools and the implementation of thoughtfully created execution success plans, the project delivery process can shift from adversarial to cooperative, a culture where blame follows failure to one in which trust fosters success - a winning formula for our enlightened clients.

    In the spirit of the AIA's call to action in its 2006 Report on Integrated Practice, SGA has invested significantly in increasingly powerful software programs and tools, which ultimately led our firm to establishing a Virtual Design and Construction discipline in 2014.  Time and again, on a broad spectrum of commissions, VDC has produced precedent setting milestones. Implementing Virtual Design and Construction in modeling, project delivery, curation and facilities management represents a paradigm shift for the profession of architecture. Our mastery of VDC has resulted in substantial cost savings, schedule reductions, elimination of on-site waste and has elevated my role as the architect in the project delivery process without comprising design quality. It is an architect led process that takes the confrontation out of the team dynamic and addresses directly the issues of waste, change orders and cost overruns that have plagued the design and construction industry.

    Historically, architects were once viewed as Master Builders; I believe that by thinking beyond the boundaries of traditional practice and technology, and embracing the commanding power of VDC, architects can rise up into the position of Digital Builders. VDC is the long awaited "bridge between design and construction".






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    Alfred Spagnolo AIA
    Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc.
    Boston MA
    AlfredAlfredAlfredAlfredAlfred
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  • 2.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 07-08-2019 17:18
    Alfred,

    The PDKC leadership group would like to invite you to a conference call on July 18th, 4 PM (EST).

    The purpose of this call is to learn more about SGA's new VDC discipline.  Like you, we advocate for efficiency: schedule reduction, cost savings, quality, safety, zero-waste, and the architect's leadership role in project delivery.  We are interested in VDC representing a paradigm shift for the profession of architecture.

    Are you interested and available for the call?  Please let us know your email address and phone number, if possible, for you to receive an invitation from the AIA.

    Thank you,
    Grace

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    Grace Lin, AIA
    Chair, AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Leadership Group
    Senior Project Manager, CBRE
    Adjunct Professor, Columbia University
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  • 3.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 07-09-2019 19:30
      |   view attached
    All,
    You should link up with the Practice Management KC on virtual design.  They produced a webinar in 2018 on Virtual Practice, led by Peter Macrae, AIA and A. Lira V. Luis, AIA. They also presented a session on this topic at A'19 last month.  I have attached the slides from the September 2018 webinar for your awareness.  The session is more focused on types of firms versus project delivery, but many of the same concepts and practices are the same.  KLA next month will be a great chance to compare notes.....


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    Edmond Gauvreau, FAIA
    Washington, DC
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  • 4.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 07-16-2019 17:04
    Hi Ed,

    Thank you for connecting and sending the slides.  We look forward to collaborating with the PMKC and hope to see you also at the KLA next month.

    All the best,
    Grace Lin, AIA
    Chair, AIA PDKC

    ------------------------------
    Grace Lin, AIA
    Chair, AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Leadership Group
    Senior Project Manager, CBRE
    Adjunct Professor, Columbia University
    ------------------------------

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  • 5.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 07-10-2019 10:21

    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

    aspagnolo@sga-arch.com

    617-921-6300 Mobile

     

    Michael Schroeder

    mschroeder@sga-arch.com

    857-300-2672 Direct

     

    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

     

     

     


    Al Spagnolo AIA, NCARB
    Founding Partner
    ---------------------------------------------- 
    e. aspagnolo@sga-arch.com
    t. 857.300.2610
    d. 857.300.2620
    c. 617.921.6300

    WWW.SGA-ARCH.COM
    ----------------------------------------------
    ARCHITECTURE | PLANNING
    INTERIOR DESIGN | VDC
    BRANDED ENVIRONMENTS




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  • 6.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 07-16-2019 16:56
    Dear Al,

    Thank you for your interest in participating in the upcoming conference call on July 18th at 4 PM EST.

    Would you like to include a mini-presentation of your VDC transformative platform?   Perhaps a 15 to 20 minutes presentation would be helpful?  If without a presentation, we can start the conversation with your introduction.

    On behalf of the PDKC, I look forward to speaking with you.

    All the best,
    Grace Lin
    Chair, AIA PDKC


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    Grace Lin, AIA
    Chair, AIA Project Delivery Knowledge Leadership Group
    Senior Project Manager, CBRE
    Adjunct Professor, Columbia University
    ------------------------------

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  • 7.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 07-16-2019 21:04
    Good evening Grace,

    Thank you for your message. We would certainly welcome the opportunity to start the session with a brief overview of how we are managing VDC as a transformative platform in our practice. My Partner in Charge of VDC, Michael Schroeder, will explain elements of our "dash board" that are key to serving as a bridge between design and construction, and more importantly, provide SGA with a high confidence level to positively influence the project delivery process.

    I have copied in my Marketing Director Caroline Barr who is available to assist in setting up an online demonstration. Please let us know how we can support your efforts on Thursday.

    Best regards,
    Al



    Sent from my iPhone



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  • 8.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 08-20-2019 12:57
    If you are using Virtual Design and Construction, Who are you? Where are you? What is your experience with the VDC process?

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    Alfred Spagnolo AIA
    Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc.
    Boston MA
    AlfredAlfredAlfredAlfredAlfred
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  • 9.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 08-20-2019 15:50

    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:

    • Building Information Modeling (BIM): Digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility;
    • Conditions of Satisfaction (CoS) targets: guidelines regarding the expected depth and quality of information of the BIM model;
    • Innovative digital tools: such as web-based dashboard, BIM cloud service, VR platform and Energy Model application;
    • Collocation space and Collaboration mindset (Co-lo): on-site place where architects, owner representatives, construction managers and major subcontractors work together as one team.

     

    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.



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    Alfred Spagnolo AIA
    Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc.
    Boston MA
    AlfredAlfredAlfredAlfredAlfred
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  • 10.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 10-01-2019 11:51
    Good morning colleagues,

    I just returned from visits to AIA Chapters in Alaska and Mid-Tennessee sharing the impact our VDC platform is having on project delivery. My firm is certainly realizing an elevated presence of the architect in all aspects of our commissions employing VDC. As "Digital Builders", we are forging trusting relationships with construction managers and the trades and experiencing high levels of collaboration through design assist and our dashboards. Most importantly, the early introduction of VDC at the commencement of the commission is preserving the design intent and contributing to the pursuit of design excellence. The dreaded value management or value engineering process that influences the architect's design efforts generally in the design development phase of a commission are becoming activities more likely associated with traditional project delivery. If more architects embrace this new paradigm, we as a profession can breakdown the silos that are so pervasive in the AEC sector. VDC will also better position our profession for the onset of Artificial Intelligence which will begin to influence commissions within the next several years. These rapidly advancing technologies are making it a very exciting time to be an architect.

    Al Spagnolo, AIA

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    Alfred Spagnolo AIA
    Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc.
    Boston MA
    AlfredAlfredAlfredAlfredAlfred
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  • 11.  RE: Virtual Design and Construction

    Posted 10-02-2019 19:37
    You would better serve your audience and your presumed mission by 'splaining' what you mean by VDC.  Or am I just exhibiting my ignorance?

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    Eugene Ely AIA Emeritus, LEED AP
    San Jose, CA
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