AEC Tech News: 2D to 3D #12

27 Apr, 2005 By: Arnie Williams

Cadalyst AEC Tech News

Construction Management in 5D

Graphisoft's new line promises efficiencies only multiple dimensions can bring

Already a leader in architectural 3D CAD with its ArchiCAD product and a leader of the AEC software-development industry in its IFC (industry foundation classes) compliance, Graphisoft recently unveiled the fruits of several years of experiments among the building trade in Finland with a new product line it calls Virtual Construction.

Virtual Construction delivers construction modeling, model-based estimating, 4D sequencing and 5D cash-flow analysis. This development is veritably leaving 2D far in its wake at a company determined to spread the perceived value of 3D, 4D and 5D far and wide — especially in a field such as construction, which traditionally has not been known for embracing computer technology.

Addressing Construction Inefficiencies
"The construction industry is ready for dramatic change," says Graphisoft CEO Dominic Gallello, explaining that his company developed Virtual Construction to address inefficiencies in the construction trade. "Up to 25% of any construction project is waste. In North America, construction is the only nonagricultural industry that has seen a consistent decline in productivity over the past 40 years. Our goal is to take 2%-3% or more out of the cost of every building project that employs our solution," he says. "We are getting tremendous feedback from early users throughout the world."

Among the products making up the Virtual Construction line are Graphisoft Constructor 2005, which includes a construction modeling system designed to create accurate 3D construction models; a 4D sequencer for automatically linking the construction model to the project schedule; and Graphisoft Estimator Connector, designed to extract, link and publish model information to Graphisoft Estimator, also part of the package.

Graphisoft Estimator, also offered separately, has an estimating system based on 3D model analysis, a traditional estimating system to support the transition from manual take-offs to model-based estimation, production planning and procurement and 5D reporting, which uses the construction model as the link between cost and time, producing a cost-loaded schedule for financial analysis.

Graphisoft developed Virtual Construction over a period of years with YIT Construction in Finland. YIT offers construction, capital investment and maintenance services in housing and construction. The company also focuses on the industrial and telecommunications sectors. It is the leading construction company in Finland and has offices in other Nordic countries as well as the Baltic region and Russia.

Real-World Performance
Virtual Construction products have also been tested in North America by California-based Webcor Builders. Webcor has experience in midrise and high-rise office buildings, medical buildings, parking structures, residential and retail projects, hotels, apartments and other projects.

Webcor Builders used Graphisoft?s Virtual Construction solution for the new California Academy of Science in San Francisco, designed by architects Renzo Piano and Gordon Chong.
"Graphisoft's software and services offerings are revolutionizing the way we plan projects," says Andy Ball, CEO of Webcor Builders. "The tools provide a quantum leap in our ability to collaborate with the architect and the subcontractors, leading to huge reductions in the inefficiencies, waste and rework that plague our industry," he says. "In essence, it allows us to build the building virtually, before ever putting a shovel in the ground."

Graphisoft has established a construction services group to work with builders to help them fully utilize the Virtual Construction model. These services include construction modeling, constructability analysis, estimating support, 4D sequencing support, production and procurement planning support, site planning and 5D construction simulation presentations.

Webcor Builders
YIT Construction