At Nabholz, Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) means using the latest technologies—like computer modeling, virtual reality, and cloud computing—to create and manage information about your project. We’re constantly researching and implementing new tools and techniques to increase quality, accuracy, and safety.

Our VDC team is committed to improving the entire construction experience for both our clients and our teams in the field. They do this by focusing—for the most part—on these two critical pieces of the puzzle:

Earlier and Better Decision Making

Computer modeling and associated VDC techniques like spatial coordination, digital layout, existing conditions modeling, and construction system modeling allow for earlier analysis of the project to find and fix issues that would negatively impact the project.

How does this help you? Decades of experience have proven that when it comes to making changes to a project, earlier is better. Not only can we offer more options, but we can also better manage the cost of the change when it takes place earlier on in the project schedule. Our VDC team can find and prevent potential problems before they become real headaches on your jobsite.

Increased Information Flow

The combination of digital and mobile technologies enables everyone on the project—from owners to trade contractors—to access more and better information. Having the right information at the right time makes it easier to make the right decision.

Here are just some of the tools our VDC specialists use:

Building Information Modeling

Building information modeling (BIM) involves creating 3D computer models of a building and its associated systems and then attaching appropriate information to that model so it can later be used as a reference for things like maintenance, repairs, and renovations.

At Nabholz, we use BIM during all stages of a project:

  • At the beginning, we create conceptual models to facilitate more productive conversations with owners and project team members and to visualize site layout and logistics prior to beginning construction.
  • Once the design is more developed, we use BIM to manage the internal space of a facility and coordinate the placement of system components, like ductwork, to optimize the use of that space.
  • After a project is completed, BIM provides information for continued operation and maintenance of the facility.

An example of “clash detection,” this BIM model shows where the plans for the structural steel and the ductwork created multiple clashes that our team was able to resolve before they became a problem on the jobsite.

This drone map allows us to visualize the drawing on the actual project site.

Drone Mapping

Drone mapping is used prior to the start of construction to better understand the current conditions at the jobsite. During construction, drone mapping can be used to provide visual project updates.

Robotic Total Stations

The virtual world of computer models is connected to reality with robotic total stations. Being able to verify that what was installed matches what was designed increases the overall quality of the project and allows us to address any installation issues quickly.

Nabholz team members demonstrate how to use a Robotic Total Station on the CARTI Cancer Center jobsite in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The Emerging Analytics Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock allows our team and clients to virtually walk through their projects before construction begins. In this photo is the Tulsa Zoo’s Lost Kingdom Exhibit.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is a valuable tool for helping owners visualize and understand their planned building space. When we deploy virtual reality early on in a project, owners get the chance to provide useful feedback and explore more options with less negative impact to the overall project.

4D Simulation

A 4D simulation is a 3D project model with the project schedule added in. 4D simulations enable us to visualize the schedule and better understand how the project will look at different points along the timeline. Creating a 4D simulation early in a project allows us to make any necessary adjustments with minimal negative impact to the overall project.

In this 4D simulation you can see the 3D model, as well as the project timeline at the bottom of the image.

Watch and listen as Nabholz team members Brandon Wall and Clyde Simpson talk about the use of mobile technologies on the Arkansas Children’s Northwest project in Springdale, Arkansas.

Mobile Data Access

Having the right information at the right time is critical to a successful construction project. With mobile data access, our team members get accurate, up-to-date information when and where they need it most: at the site of construction.

Facility Maintenance Information Handover

At the end of a project, providing ready-to-use facility maintenance information makes for a quicker, more seamless transition from construction to operation. But instead of handing over a traditional operations manual, we gather the pertinent information and tie it back to all of the drawings and building models created throughout the project. The result is a powerful tool for facility managers and building owners to use as they move forward with the operation and maintenance of their new facility.

At the end of their project, many clients receive an iPad pre-loaded with complete facility maintenance information for easy, on-the-go access.