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Building Smarter: Virtual Construction Planning for Schools

By Oliver Barnes, DTI

For school districts, capital improvement projects like renovations, additions, and new construction involve huge investments of limited funds. Even minor inefficiencies or oversights in planning can lead to significant budget overruns that divert money away from other priorities. 3D modeling and visualization technology allows schools to leverage "virtual construction" capabilities to get projects done faster, under budget, and with less disruption.

By creating highly accurate 3D digital twins of existing campuses and combining them with building information modeling (BIM) data of planned renovations or new construction, project stakeholders can virtually step into the construction site before breaking ground. This allows for unprecedented visualization, collaboration and logistics planning.

Virtual Design Coordination

One of the biggest advantages of virtual construction planning for schools is the ability to identify and resolve conflicts between structural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing and other systems before they become costly issues in the field. With 3D BIM modeling, designers from all disciplines can combine their models to run visual clash detection. They can then virtually navigate the project and make revisions digitally to ensure systems fit together properly.

Construction Sequencing and Logistics

With a virtual 3D environment of the school site, construction teams can not only plan where equipment staging areas and temporary structures should go - they can visualize the flow of work over time. 4D modeling ties the 3D model data to the construction schedule. Teams can simulate the build sequence to optimize activities, crew movements, material deliveries and more. This helps maintain a safe, efficient and disruption-free jobsite while school is in session.

Explore "What-If" Scenarios in the Virtual World

Test multiple options for renovations or additions by visualizing the impacts on the surrounding structures and grounds. This allows for smarter decision-making earlier in the process before costly changes become inevitable.

By experiencing school construction projects through interactive 3D models before groundbreaking, architects, engineers and builders can work through challenges virtually, streamline coordination and deliver higher quality facilities - smarter and faster. It gives new meaning to the idea of getting "site aware".

Just as important, virtual construction planning gives school district stakeholders an unprecedented look into their project from day one. Facility managers, administrators and board members can take virtual tours to experience the future state of their campus and have a voice in the process like never before. The digital twin environment enables smarter decision-making, reduces costly rework, improves scheduling, and keeps students/staff safer by mitigating on-site disruptions.

The next time your school launches a major renovation or new build, insist on leveraging the value of virtual construction planning and 3D visualization technology as it is a smart and efficient way to deliver.

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