I thought it would be appropriate to close the year with a blog post that goes beyond our US perspective on BIM and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) to see how US perspectives can influence companies abroad. At the BIMForum in Orlando, I met Sascha Vesterlund, VDC specialist, Design Processer with MT Højgaard and Nathan Wood, Innovation at DPR Construction. The two companies maintain a common relationship through the CIFE program led by Martin Fischer at Stanford University.
With an international focus, the program aims to be the world’s premier academic research center for AEC industry VDC projects. Building on the conversations that took place here, Wood traveled to Denmark to work with Vesterlund and his team to take these ideas, challenges and solutions and use them to avoid obstacles.
“It’s a great opportunity to share between different entrepreneurs,” explained Wood. “Usually in an organization you’ll see architects and contractors sharing between offices, but it’s not very often that you split between two people sitting on the same side of the table. And being in a completely different part of the world, there’s a different language, a different process, and different rules, but we say the same thing about construction projects; each project is slightly different. I think even going international you see more and more of the similarities as well as these differences that sort of find these trends that we really need to focus our early efforts on to see grassroots adoption take hold. .
Vesterlund shared some of the lessons learned in his presentation, “The perspective of Danish general contractors on VDC design management. Believing that ‘VDC rests on the shoulders of BIM,’ said Vesterlund, ‘for us VDC is more of a process, creating a collaborative environment around the project, inviting members of our in-house project team, meeting in specific times during the project., instead of meeting all the time. People need to come back and have specialized conversations with their colleagues in their own company. So we work in a loop, with sprints in the VDC process.
Curious to understand what prompts companies to migrate from the old ways to the new ones, I asked how government mandates play a role in all of this. Vesterlund explained: “In the 2000s, it was more the civil engineers who drove the BIM program. But now it’s more of the construction industry doing it instead. Over the years, the government has enacted laws stating that all public construction projects must be constructed in certain ways with certain requirements for 3D models and all operational data thereafter. She further explains how this has had a ripple effect on private developers as well. In turn, this began to “teach homeowners what they can get, what they think they should need and what they might need.”
After spending two days at the conference, Vesterlund shared that his biggest lesson learned is that we are all on the same path. “Despite the fact that we are from different cultures and from both sides of the world, but there are a lot of similarities.” The takeaway from this experience by Wood is that “we have become more honest with ourselves. The realization of there is no easy button for this, I think this has been said many times during the lectures. “It sounds really complicated and it is actually – and then some. ”… Is really the message that is being broadcast. And he goes on to say, “A lot of people who went into this project with this perception of, ‘Oh, I just bought this technology and hit that button and it’ll all be fixed. “They had a lot of issues and it’s good that they are sharing them now so that we can learn from them and move forward.
Listening to Vesterlund and Wood speak, it was clear that there is tremendous value to be gained by sharing successes and failures. For many businesses, choosing the right technology is just the first step in the process. Finding ways to draw on the past experience of others has a transfer effect, regardless of geographic or cultural differences. Hear Wood and Vesterlund share their story in the video below.