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Want to Get More Out of BIM and VDC? Start Using IDD

May 2024

We examine how integrated digital delivery (IDD) stacks up against four common, digitally enabled project delivery methods.

A growing number of architecture, engineering, construction, and operations firms worldwide are rethinking how they approach their project workflows. In doing so, many are turning to integrated digital delivery (IDD), a delivery method that connects a project’s physical and digital aspects in a common data environment (CDE) that’s easy for all stakeholders to access.

IDD is often conflated with semi-integrated project workflows that encompass some aspects of IDD but fall short of creating the dynamic intelligence that unlocks expertise to create smart, sustainable, and trusted builds every time. In its true form, IDD optimizes communication and collaboration throughout the project lifecycle, enabling repeatable high performance.

While many companies use digital forms and workflows, they’re not integrating that data into the whole project lifecycle or across the enterprise. The result is lower productivity and higher costs caused by duplicated efforts and unnecessary rework. Research has found rework can add 5 percent or more to direct costs on a project.

IDD isn't just a workflow or platform, however. It's a cultural shift toward collaborative learning and continuous improvement. And it’s happening on jobsites worldwide.

How can contractors differentiate between IDD and other digital workflows to enhance their use of digital tools and systems?

Four Common Digital Construction Workflows Compared to IDD

Want to Get More Out of BIM and VDC? 1 Start Using IDD

Building Information Modeling (BIM): Only One Element of IDD

Building information modeling (BIM) is a vital tool in digital construction, allowing teams to use a 3D model to execute prefab, estimate material costs, prevent clashes, and more. BIM in and of itself is not IDD, but IDD can help project teams get more out of their building model. 

IDD is a digital backbone that connects information such as BIM with all other digital workflows and data throughout the project lifecycle and across the portfolio. As such, IDD makes BIM data accessible to all stakeholders. With IDD software and systems, teams can upload their models to the cloud and provide easy web-based access. Doing so allows contractors to explore "what-if" scenarios, pinpoint inconsistencies and issues, compare various model versions, and seamlessly coordinate and review artifacts within their workflows. 

Implementing BIM within an IDD workflow helps to standardize processes and knowledge-sharing while minimizing wasteful duplication. Each project adds to the collective knowledge base, fostering continuous improvement and innovation.

Digital Project Delivery (DPD): Missing Crucial Capabilities of IDD

Digital project delivery (DPD) was conceived to help teams deliver using digital data in machine-readable models and leverage common data, integrated tools, and advanced workflows. However, unlike IDD, DPD focuses on project delivery versus the broader lifecycle approach of IDD. 

DPD is also missing a crucial capability: the open standards that IDD incorporates, such as openBIM from buildingSMART, which create interoperable BIM workflows that use open standards to achieve seamless collaboration between different BIM tools.

The collated data that results from the use of open standards empowers project teams to analyze trends and performance across projects, deepening their understanding of the work they are doing and improving their strategic decision-making. What’s more, the use of an IDD platform reduces the number of systems project managers must navigate from hundreds to just one. 

Interoperability and open standards, which IDD brings to the table, are the keys to realizing those benefits. 

How Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Compares to IDD

Like BIM, virtual design and construction (VDC) is a vital part of IDD. However, while VDC is the process of producing a digital strategy for a given project, IDD is the end-to-end solution that brings those VDC strategies to fruition. That’s because IDD platforms let project teams upload digital data to the cloud, providing easy access for all stakeholders. 

In doing so, IDD transforms unusable, unstructured, and siloed data — such as photos, laser scans, punch lists, shop drawings, and submittals — into structured data integrated into a CDE. Once there, that information can be easily accessed and used to provide real-time insights. 

Consistent processes and best practices, captured in the IDD platform, ensure predictable, high-quality outcomes across projects.

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) vs IDD

Integrated project delivery (IPD) is a collaborative, contractual agreement that brings designers, engineers, construction managers, trade workers, suppliers, and fabricators together early in the project to organize workflows and the communication around them for shared risk/reward. In contrast, IDD focuses on the technological and process aspects of achieving collaboration.

As with BIM and VDC, project teams can better leverage IPD when it’s used as part of a fully integrated IDD approach. The cloud-based and version-controlled CDE that IDD enables means all stakeholders are working from a single source of truth that is updated in real time, rather than a point-in-time snapshot of the project. 

The best IDD platforms use advanced APIs that allow sophisticated data exchanges, secure file-based transfers, and backend data ingestion via extract, transform, and load processes that combine data from multiple sources into a central hub of real-time information. Teams can learn from past successes and failures across projects, accelerating innovation cycles — and project delivery.

Let IDD take digital delivery to the next level

IDD isn’t a replacement for BIM, DPD, VDC, or IPD. Instead, integrating workflows end to end and supporting a CDE accessible to all stakeholders will ensure project teams get the most out of the digital delivery methods they deploy on their projects. 

To learn more about how the FulcrumHQ Integrated Digital Delivery Platform for Dynamic Intelligence™ can support smart communication and collaboration throughout the entire project lifecycle, visit www.LeapThought.com/fulcrumhq.

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