Benefits of Virtual Design and Construction Solutions for AEC Industry

Virtual Design

Virtual design and Construction (VDC) is the process of creating digital models of a project before it gets built on-site, combining models from all building disciplines with traditional management techniques and project planning. It allows the stakeholders to experience the project through virtual reality software during the design phase and plan the schedules, budgets and execution processes for streamlined working.

The technology benefits in establishing better communication between the involved parties adding to the efficiency and quality of the building. Project plans are visualized using tools like modelling software or headsets. It provides an immersive experience and collaborative information sharing with other team members for a unified project vision. It provides a common platform to all parties for interaction and data sharing. It develops a relationship nourished with transparency and trust amongst all project stakeholders leading to better outcomes in future.

History of VDC

Virtual design and construction is an evolving concept being used in various forms for a long time. Before the evolution of BIM software in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Archicad and Revit were two software used for 3d CAD designing. When BIM started holding the grip of 3D modelling, it revolutionized the way designers, architects, engineers and other professionals perceive design and collaborate on different projects.

After Building Information Modelling started getting popular, the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering at Stanford University devised the term VDC in 2001. Martin Fischer is considered the godfather of Virtual Design and construction (VDC) technology. The current version of VDC includes clash detection and coordination for projects through virtual models to resource management and progress tracking of a project.

Difference between VDC and BIM

The two technologies are related yet different from each other in the purposes they serve. BIM is used to create a digital representation of any building while VDC uses 3D BIM models to generate a digital plan for all construction aspects of a project starting from cost estimation to risk analysis and management. So, BIM is software while VDC is a procedure that uses the technology and software for the smooth functioning of a built-form throughout its lifecycle.

Depending on the project requirement, both tools can be used together or separately. These provide benefits like cost saving, increased efficiency, better communication and collaboration, reduced risk and a sustainable design to both owners and stakeholders.

Every technology might come with a few risks that need to be addressed consciously for desired results. While using BIM or VDC, data security may be an issue if projects are accessible outside the office. In addition to this, the software updates might hinder the workflow and are susceptible to problems while transferring the data. But, the risks are outweighed by the benefits considering the value addition and ease of use for the business.

Benefits of Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)

  • Better collaboration

The use of VDC creates a common data environment including design, analysis, and construction information, for all the project stakeholders that results in better collaboration. Enhanced collaboration and better communication also lead to healthy relationship-building among professionals. It builds a solid platform to work together and closely monitor the project’s progress, resulting in better design decisions.

  • Increased efficiency

VDC helps in understanding different construction methods and tests these methods before construction for the execution in the most efficient way possible. Such technology reduces wastage throughout the project lifecycle and catalyzes the construction process. It further saves capital and delays that might occur due to discrepancies.

  • Enhanced quality

VDC helps in identifying errors and disparities during the early stages of projects that lead to an improved quality of work. It also caters to proper funding for different construction aspects and uncompromised execution of work with the best quality possible. Coordinated workflows, clash-detection in various work processes, enhanced collaboration and transparent work ethics lead to improved work quality.

  • Improved management of resources

VDC expedites the resource management of both human and material resources for the project. With BIM, one can track the on-site material delivery, but virtual design educates the workers about material usage and different construction techniques.

  • Enhanced sustainability

The virtual models created with BIM software facilitate the optimum use of materials and efficient processes that help in maintaining the sustainability quotient for any project. It does not only educate about the construction techniques but can also be used to understand the most sustainable options of materials and methods aligning with the project requirements.

  • Increased project clarity

Working from paper drawings can lead to errors and miscommunication among the project stakeholders. Virtual design and construction technology provide greater clarity regarding the scope and timeline of the project, with every member referring to the same virtual model. The chances of discrepancies and lack of communication tend to be minimal with the use of VDC.

  • Increased safety

The inclusion of VDC technologies provides detailed information about every step throughout the construction process. It results in a safer project execution and working environment for the site workers. Virtual design and construction methods equip the workers with a better understanding of potential risks on site like dealing with heavy machinery and working at heights.

  • Reduced costs

From providing a more accurate project cost analysis in the pre-construction stage to optimum use of all information, VDC helps in saving money and time; if properly implemented. The detailed estimation and cost analysis further help in reducing material waste, eliminate the need for reworking and leads to enhanced collaboration. This whole process eventually results in cutting down on costs and timely delivery of the project.

  • Reduced risk

VDC allows for detecting potential risks on the construction site before the project starts and taking further measures for mitigating those risks. A virtual walkthrough of the project also helps in verifying the probable hazards on the site to take immediate action and reduce any further problems.

Problem-solving with VDC

Virtual design and construction assist in solving several problems for the stakeholders and the clientele of the project. It breeds a transparent and easy collaboration among them, leading to better communication, greater efficiency, reduced project delays, saving both money and time.

VDC can use BIM tools or other virtual reality software for analyzing the project from every possible angle. It equips the team members with a better sense of design and how their decisions will impact the project.

By using this technology and modelling software, all stakeholders are provided with the latest data about each stage of the project, which reduces the risk of miscommunication.

VDC is used in such a way that it eliminates communication barriers among team members. The delays related to on-site design changes or scheduling conflicts can be eliminated promoting better coordination between site workers.


Virtual design and construction (VDC) is a technology facilitating a better understanding of project designs and revolutionizing the future of building construction. Incorporating this technology into your designing process will certainly add the discussed benefits, ultimately providing the desirable project outcomes with additional savings of money and time.

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