By Steve Rizer
A recent analysis of 18 projects that M.A. Mortenson Company completed between 2004 and 2013 using virtual design and construction (VDC) has uncovered some impressive benefits that others in the industry may want to note. Benefits stemming from the use of VDC in these projects include a collective 600 total days of schedule reductions, productivity increases surpassing 25 percent, and an average cost reduction of 2.9 percent. However, in reporting the results of the analysis during a BIMForum presentation in Dallas earlier this month, Mortenson Integrated Construction Director Ricardo Kahn was quick to point out that the technology alone did not produce these benefits.
Processes used that led to all three benefits -- schedule reduction, cost reduction, and productivity increases -- included 3D coordination, digital fabrication/prefabrication, construction system design, 3D control and planning, site analysis, and existing conditions modeling. The design review process led to both a reduction in cost and an increase in productivity. Phase planning (4D) allowed for reductions in schedule and cost. Model-based estimating and site-utilization planning resulted in productivity increases.
During his presentation, entitled “Valued-added Outcomes to Optimizing Construction: A VDC Perspective,” Kahn emphasized that VDC success “is driven by leadership. It’s driven by the project leadership [and] customer involvement.” He noted that “project leadership, superintendents, the project managers, the foreman, the folks who are implementing work on our job, leading work, if you can’t get a pull from those folks, you can do BIM all day long and it doesn’t mean anything. So, you really have to be cognizant of that. That was one of the key drivers in all of these 18 projects that drove success; it was about the people.”
Also critical is “defining the metrics in terms of how the team is going to measure success,” Kahn said.
The ConstructionPro Network member version of this article includes additional results from Mortenson's analysis and news from four other BIMForum sessions.