Virtual design and construction: New allies in engineering

Imagine being able to make design decisions while taking a virtual tour inside a building yet to be built or plan maintenance of a power plant’s mechanical system using a dynamic model: Virtual design and construction (VDC) transforms how engineering projects are managed.

The time where a design team was working with a reduced scale model of a building without taking into consideration the environment in which it would be built seems quite far away. Nowadays, an increasing number of private and public clients in Canada and elsewhere require 3D design models within a project management process based on Building Information Modelling (BIM).

With the rapid evolution of digital technologies and client requirements, it is crucial to embrace these new trends, and this is the challenge CIMA+ decided to tackle several years ago.

For example, let’s consider the construction of a new roadway for which using virtual design allowed for assessing the impacts on the commercial vitality of the sector. Using a virtual model, CIMA+’s team simulated a car commute at various heights, in order to maximize visibility and accessibility to businesses located along the street. Without these cutting-edge tools, designers would not have been able to easily integrate such data, which were crucial to the client, nor consider the impact of the street beyond its right-of-way.

BIM and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC)

BIM – or building information modelling – is a computer-based analysis system that namely uses the third dimension to study a building construction process and results thereof, by considering the physical, space, time and cost aspects involved. The utilization of BIM within a VDC approach is a genuine dynamic ecosystem that evolves throughout the project’s life cycle, enables architects and engineers to visualize all building components, including data pertaining to its environment, and ultimately allows contractors to build it. At each project management step, VDC facilitates communications between the various stakeholders and helps them understand the issues involved and make timely decisions.

Each of the various digital technologies play a specific role and work in synergy at each step of the project, from the pre-design phase to final project presentation and through to operation, whether in the construction, energy, industry, infrastructure or any other sector.

CIMA+’s leadership in the consulting engineering industry in Canada has materialized namely through the presence of versatile experts, capable of providing the complete range of VDC services for all projects, regardless of scale or complexity. For more information, visit the BIM, Virtual Design & Construction section.

With the collaboration of Christian Lacroix, Associate Partner and BIM-VDC Project Manager, at CIMA+.

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