LiRo's Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) Team is pushing the boundaries by applying the latest technology and research from early design through Construction and facilities operations through simulation of the processes, data and geometry of a building or infrastructure project. By utilizing Building Information Models (BIM) it is possible to essentially create a project 'virtually' so many problems can be exposed and resolved ahead of actual construction. With the expertise in various cutting-edge software tools, it's possible to analyze, visualize and communicate building information so the entire project team is able to make better-informed decisions from design through operations. Furthermore, having the capacity to customize and automate work-flows within these software, creates various possibilities for integration and exchange of information as we strive towards better design and construction practices. Some of the exciting tools we get to play with are drones, hand held scanners, virtual & augmented reality glasses and 3D printers at work. VDC is also integrated with LiRo construction managers to perform constructability analysis, construction progress tracking and reporting, system setup, facilities management and custom plug-ins creation on multiple projects. Some of the work examples include:
- Automated processes to generate customized 2D documentation for specific teams/ phases/ purposes of the project and to extract, embed and revise data within the models based on changes on field.
- Linking 3D model to schedules (4D) and project cost estimates (5D) and generate regular graphs and reports for progress tracking purposes.
- Clash detection and coordination services
- Use of virtual models in cases of claims and legal disputes to get better understanding and clarity of progress sequence.
- Experience simulations and renderings of virtual models for increased project understanding of end-user.
- Integrating reality capturing technologies such as 3D-scans and drones to create virtual models of existing conditions.
The use of technology and BIM in construction has been an ever evolving process that continues to adapt and change. How do you keep up with the trends?
I am very technology driven so I like to keep an eye on technological trends in my spare time to see what's new in the market and how we can retrofit some of it to apply to the construction industry. Also, talking to people in the field to see what can possibly improve their process or what technical limitations they are dealing with on their projects gives us a good understanding on what we should focus on going forward.
How does using the technology create a better project for the client?
Technology is bridging the gaps in traditional construction process which has been very fragmented and paper based historically. Use of technology and BIM on a project improves transparency, coordination and communication between all parties involved may it be an owner, designer, contractor or a construction manager. It provides better and more reliable information in a relatively shorter time frame which is valuable in making right decisions related to the project timeline, budget risks and safety of the crew.
Is there a new technology on the horizon that you feel will be commonplace in the future for construction?
I think the use of virtual and augmented reality will become main stream in the future. We are utilizing more and more 3D simulations, data collection and representation methods on each and every project we work on. Our department has always been experimenting with new technology, recently we have been playing with drones and hand held scanners to get accurate information about our project sites and buildings. I think the obvious next step will be to combine BIM and existing data for coordination and real life simulations. Imaging walking around an on-going construction site where you can overlay proposed building simulation in front of your eyes and see what the completed building will look like!
Why did you choose this profession?
From a very young age, I have been fascinated with architecture and that interest encouraged me to learn more about architecture and the design industry. While working as an architect, I have seen many people only focusing on design and treating construction as separate but really, design and construction go hand in hand for a successful project completion. This got me interested in learning more about the construction industry and management of project in more detail.
What's your greatest achievement and how has it shaped you?
Being able to think outside the norm and looking at other industries and applications to find inspiration and solutions to problems in day-to-day work has helped me tremendously.
What words of wisdom will you pass on to your children?
Never give up on your dreams. Always stay positive and embrace both the challenges and blessings that life gives you.
Aditi is a VDC specialist and automation manager at LiRo's VDC department. She works very closely with her teammates focusing on creating and customizing automated workflows/ processes for various projects. She started her career working as a design architect on mid-size residential projects, making her way to construction and fabrication aspects of building industry and eventually focusing on learning computer programming to create applications within VDC software to build custom processes which can be used for content standardization, quick project setup, to address repetitive tasks and creating data centric models.