Specifications provide the rulebook for a project. They set expectations and outline how work should be performed. A good VDC Specification states what the information model should include and to what level of detail, as well as major information model deliverables for all phases of a project, from early design to the facility’s final operations. The Specification should also reference the related global standard for level of model development. Global standards are in development for BIM and VDC. In the U.S., the most prominent of these are the National BIM standards and the Level of Development document. For these standards, please refer to Chapter 5: Reference Documents, which includes an example VDC Specification document. Contracting bids are submitted based on the provided specifications.
How VDC should be integrated into a project greatly depends on how a team is organized. Every project has different requirements, and team organization varies based on the project’s typology, size, complexity, client, location, phasing and other requirements. A team’s level of sophistication is an additional factor to consider. If some parties are not sufficiently capable of operating information modeling software that might negatively affect how, or even if, VDC is incorporated into the process.
Providing detailed specifications that outline the implementation of a VDC process is extremely important. Any omission will likely adversely affect other aspects of the project; successful collaboration requires clearly defined standards. Essential standards for an information model include naming conventions, file structure, software workflows, component definitions, model completeness and data output. Standardized formats for sharing 3-D data ensure the consistency and compatibility of both internal and external sharing.
Procedures for the implementation of new technology are essential, including the choice of software platform(s), identification of individuals who require software training, and analysis of existing technological infrastructure, including upgrades to targeted computers.
VDC Implementation Planning
The VDC Specification should require the team member responsible for model authoring and model coordination to produce a VDC Implementation Plan. The plan is typically the responsibility of the design team during the design phase, the contractor during the construction phase, or the VDC consultant who is supervising coordination in either phase. A clearly defined Implementation Plan that answers all requirements in the specifications is essential for successfully integrating VDC. It not only outlines in detail how the VDC processes will be implemented and what software and hardware will be used, but also proves if the contractor has VDC capabilities. The Implementation Plan should include the contractor's project team structure as well as 3-D model standards with naming conventions, file organization, software workflows, component definitions, model completeness and data output definitions. The Implementation Plan needs to be reviewed and approved by the CM, the design team and the owner's’ representative prior to commencing work. A sample Implementation Plan is included in Chapter 5: Reference Documents.
BIM & VDC Training
In order to ensure that the VDC workflows function well, all involved parties need to have sufficient knowledge in using VDC. At the inception of a project the skill set and required training need to be assessed. It is effective to have the party that is managing the VDC process to organize the training rather than outsourcing it.