Three Ways to Go Green Using VDC

May 24, 2018

Construction waste accounts for up to 40 percent of the 251 million tons of consumer solid waste generated annually. One way we can decrease the amount of construction waste we produce is by adopting virtual techniques and fully utilizing building information modeling (BIM) integration. Below are a few specific ways to go green using virtual design and construction (VDC).

Replacing Physical Project Mock-Ups with Virtual Models

Replacing physical project mock-ups with virtual models is a good example of a way we can reduce construction waste by incorporating VDC techniques. Created during the preconstruction phase of projects, physical mock-ups are intended to allow owners and other stakeholders to review designs. By using virtual reality technology to create virtual mock-ups, we can create a 3D representation of what is going to be physically built and share that space through a headset experience. This gives the owners and users of the space the ability to view and walk around the space virtually, generating conversation about needed changes without having to physically build each iteration. Instead, we can virtually mock up the space repeatedly until consensus on design is reached.

When asked what he appreciates most about virtual models, VDC Coordinator Wade Martin said, “This tool allows us to bring insight to the builder, client, and most importantly, the user group. We are able to change materials and equipment placement on the fly, and instead of taking extensive notes, the whole process is essentially the documentation. When the mock-up session is complete, the model is already updated and can then be sent to the architect to update their drawings.”

Check out the virtual reality video below of Florida Memorial Hospital in Winter Park, Florida (video by Wade Martin).

Including Facilities Maintenance Information in Virtual Models

One of the questions we face when we build a sustainable project is “what happens when we leave the site?” We want the owner and the owner’s facilities maintenance (FM) team to be educated about the sustainable building products we used and how to maintain them so that the benefits of the initial purchase and installation are maintained. At Brasfield & Gorrie, we want to help set up a clear, understandable maintenance system for clients before we leave the site. One of the ways to do this is to tag these items in the model we provide for the FM team. The FM team is then able to log in, open the model, and review such items as data sheets, maintenance requirement periods, and links to websites for reorder (when applicable).

Brasfield & Gorrie employee reviewing installed systems with BIM technology on an iPad

The image above shows a Brasfield & Gorrie employee reviewing the above-ceiling installed systems with the building information model on an iPad.

Utilizing Virtual Modeling for Prefabrication

A final way VDC can reduce waste on our projects is by utilizing virtual modeling for prefabrication. A growing number of project teams are using BIM processes to collaborate with trade partners to prefabricate and install building components, such as mechanical equipment, plumbing infrastructure, and even restroom pods. This allows components to be planned, built in advance—often in an off-site factory—and installed more quickly, saving time and money and reducing waste.

A virtual model of a prefabricated bathroom pod

The above image shows a virtual model of a prefabricated bathroom pod. Modeling is used to coordinate the systems virtually before they are in the field the help eliminate error and waste.



To learn more about Brasfield & Gorrie’s VDC services, click here.


About the Author:

Contessa Hayter graduated from Auburn University College of Architecture, Design, and Construction with a Bachelor of Science degree in building science. After gaining valuable experience in the field as a project engineer, Hayter joined Brasfield & Gorrie as an estimator on healthcare, commercial, and self-perform projects. As a senior virtual design and construction coordinator in Brasfield & Gorrie’s VD+C group, Hayter specializes in total-project integration of 3D modeling from preconstruction through completion, focusing on self-perform work and virtual site logistics for safety planning. A green building enthusiast whose projects span all market sectors, Hayter is passionate about the transformative potential of sustainability. When she isn’t working, she maintains and spreads her positive energy as a dedicated yoga teacher and travel aficionado.