What is BIM, VDC, DfMA, and Digital Twin?

BIM, VDC, DfMA, Digital Twin – are they all the same thing? There is always new technology driving the AEC industry forward, and sometimes, there is new terminology to help promote and sell the technology. So what are all these terms and what do they mean? At CLICK2BIM, we have found that various organizations have their own definitions of what these terms mean. If it all boils down to BIM, BIM is not a one-size fits all process or solution. There is not a single playbook that says this is how it all works, and everything will be perfect. The BIM process looks different on the design side than it does on the construction side. It looks different from organization A to organization B.

CLICK2BIM helps organizations improve their workflows and accomplish their desired outcomes with digital technology. From our experience working with several organizations, here is how we describe these terms at CLICK2BIM.

BIM is the process of creating and managing data about a building project from planning and design to construction, and into operation. The process involves creating a digital representation, or digital twin, of an asset to manage the data throughout its lifecycle.

DfMA is design for manufacture and assembly, or even data for manufacture and assembly. At CLICK2BIM, we believe this is the next step in the BIM process. DfMA is taking a virtual model and breaking it down into fabricatable pieces. It is designing for portions of the building to be fabricated in a shop with a manufacturing approach and then assembled on the construction site. This means bringing the assembly line mentally from a factory to a construction project. DfMA is the gateway to prefabrication!

Working in a shop has many benefits. It is typically a safer environment and can provide more comfortable working conditions for workers. A shop is a controlled environment and provides more reliable and predictable conditions than the elements on a construction site.

All of this together is VDC, or virtual design and construction. The entire process is defining how buildings will perform and be constructed virtually before actual construction begins. All of the data is designed and managed virtually to improve the overall construction process.

How Can CLICK2BIM Help with DfMA?

CLICK2BIM works with contractors to help them connect the office, shop, and field. It all begins with creating quality building information models. The model can then be broken down into smaller sections that can be purchased and prefabricated in the shop. The BIM or VDC team can define these buildable portions in the model and document them for the shop. This includes numbering and dimensioning items, creating bills of material, and so on. The BIM or VDC team can also document how all the pieces need to be assembled in the field. It’s like creating an instructional manual for a puzzle.

So, as you can see, a quality building information model can be used by both the shop and the field to help streamline the construction process. CLICK2BIM helps organizations with the entire process, from creating reliable building information models, to generating bills of materials for purchasing, to developing fabrication shop drawings, to producing field installation drawings. Once the BIM data is designed, it can be used to make better decisions and drive better outcomes!

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