What Is the Difference Between BIM and VDC?

Since manufacturers and construction professionals began using 3D CAD in the 1990s, virtual design technology has played a key role in the construction industry’s development. In recent years, new systems and processes have transformed the way construction professionals plan building projects. Two of the most influential innovations — Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) and Building Information Modeling (BIM) — have allowed for more efficient workflows and smoother transitions between the model and the field.

Though VDC and BIM technologies and systems are increasingly common and affordable, many people still feel uncertain about their purpose and potential applications. This uncertainty is only amplified by the fact that the definitions of VDC and BIM can be difficult to pin down. Here’s what you need to know about BIM vs. VDC to start taking advantage of them in your operations.

The Difference Between VDC and BIM

In general, BIM is considered to be a process of collaborative modeling using the latest digital technology. In comparison, VDC encompasses all the methods used to create a BIM model and otherwise improve the construction process. In other words, while BIM is part of VDC, VDC processes may not always be used for BIM.

Applications of Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)

Virtual Design and Construction is the process of using various virtual design technologies to improve design and construction efficiency. The philosophy behind VDC suggests that designing buildings virtually can result in safer construction, fewer mistakes and more satisfied building owners. You can use VDC to improve your firm’s design efficiency, plan construction work more accurately, accept input from stakeholders and allow for more part prefabrication, which can result in lower costs and higher-quality results.

There are a range of activities that fall underneath the umbrella of Virtual Design and Construction. They include:

  • 3D site scanning
  • 3D model creation
  • 3D coordination/clash detection
  • Constructibility studies
  • Design change analysis
  • Model-based quantity takeoffs
  • Model-based scheduling

Applications of Building Information Modeling (BIM)

While Building Information Modeling is similar to VDC, it is a more specific process. BIM uses multiple types of project data to create an information-rich 3D model. This type of modeling process allows you to combine input from architects, engineers, contractors and clients into a single design file. Your BIM model might even include information about component products.

Because BIM takes a holistic approach to building design, you can use it to catch problems before construction, ease coordination between project teams and even conduct auditing to ensure energy efficiency and minimal operating costs before breaking ground. You can use a BIM workflow on many types of construction projects, including:

  • Commercial offices
  • Retail spaces
  • Educational buildings
  • Industrial buildings
  • Healthcare spaces
  • Residential buildings

Taking Advantage of VDC and BIM Together

VDC and BIM are closely related processes that work hand-in-hand to increase construction efficiency and quality. According to one survey, 42 percent of construction firms plan to increase IT-related spending in 2019. If you’re looking to increase productivity and deliver exceptional results for your clients, consider investing in VDC and BIM.

To learn more about the differences between BIM and VDC, reach out to BuildingPoint Southeast. Our knowledgeable staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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