The Graphisoft Virtual Construction solution is the first 5D construction management software that is available in the market (Anon., Graphisoft’s Virtual Construction Solution, n.d.). It enables construction engineers and architects to plan for projects in 5D through the combination of three-dimensional modeling with cost and time (Anon., Graphisoft’s Virtual Construction Solution, n.d.). Its main components are the GS Constructor, the GS Estimator, the GS Control, the GS 5D Presenter, the GS Cost Manager, and the GS Change Manager (Anon., Virtual Construction Solution, n.d.).
The GS Constructor is used for building virtual projects and for performing cost control, constructability analysis, and coordination. GS Estimator is used for creating accurate model-based estimates and cost reports, and for managing bids and quotes while GS Control is used for managing workflows, project durations, project schedules, and others. GS 5D Presenter is used for analyzing, communicating, and viewing the virtual construction model created, and GS Cost Manager is used for analyzing and communicating the project cost, the cost variance, and the budget status during the design and construction phases of the project. Finally, GS Manager is used for identifying, interpreting, and reacting to changes in the drawings (Anon., Virtual Construction Solution, n.d.).
Similarly, the Vico Software Virtual Construction Solution enables construction professionals to create and analyze “highly detailed virtual construction models” (Anon., Vico Software Constructor, 2008). It’s main components include the Change Manager, the 5D Presenter, the Cost Manager, the Control, the Estimator, and the Constructor.
The Change Manager enables quick comparisons of drawings, the tracking of changes using visualization tools, and the storage of change histories (Anon., Vico Change Manager 2009, n.d.). 5D Presenter enables the simulation of the analysis of synchronized data and project progress. On the other hand, Vico Control enables the creation of project schedules while Cost Manger enables the management of costs. Vico Estimator enables the generation of cost estimates. Finally, Vico Constructor enables the building of propjet models using MEP, structural, and architectural modeling tools.
The system requirements for the Graphisoft Virtual Construction solution are more flexible than those for the Vico Software Virtual Construction solution. For example, the Graphisoft application supports various versions of Windows and Mac OS (Anon., ArchiCAD 16 System Requirements, n.d.) as its operating system while the Vico software application supports only Microsoft Windows 7 and Microsoft Windows Vista Business (Anon., Vico System Requirements, 2012).
In addition, the system requirements for the Graphisoft application are less resource-intensive than those for the Vico Software application. For example, Graphisoft requires a Core2Duo or Intel Core processor at the minimum whereas the Vico software application requires an Intel Pentium 4.3 GHz Multicore processor. Moreover, Graphisoft requires a RAM of only 2 GB, although a RAM of 4 GB is recommended for complex models. However, for Vico Software, a minimum of 4 GB is required. In addition, the Graphisoft application requires a minim of only 1 GB of free hard disk space, although 2 to 3 GB is required if 3D visualizations and 3D projects will be used. On the other hand, the Vico Software application requires a minimum of 10 GB for a complete installation. As well, the Graphisoft application supports a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 or higher whereas the Vico software application supports a screen resolution of 1650 x 1050 or higher. Finally, the Graphisoft application requires only a minimum of 256 MB of onboard video memory whereas the Vico software application requires a minimum of 512 MB of onboard video memory.
The Graphisoft Virtual Construction Solution costs $149.95 (GraphiSoft ArchiCAD 13, 2012). On the other hand, the Vico Software Virtual Construction Solution software can be downloaded for free (Vico Software Product Download, 2012), but a license has to be purchased in order for the software application to be activated. According to Grant (2009), a typical Vico software purchase would cost around $75,000 where a single-user license would cost about $12,500.
Both BIM applications by Graphisoft and Vico Software share almost the same features, although it can be assumed that the Vico Software application has a higher capacity, given that it is more resource-intensive. However, given the high price for purchasing a Vico software license and considering that it also requires more resources than the Graphisoft application, which can require a computer hardware upgrade along with the Vico software application installation, then it may be more practical to purchase the Graphisoft application software, especially for small-to-medium sized construction businesses.
Relevance to the Building Industry
Both the Graphisoft and Vico virtual construction software lead to reductions in the cost of building projects and enable the identification of constructability problems during the design and preconstruction stages. In addition, they enable a construction firm to be awarded more projects as they are able to decrease the time needed for creating estimates and the costs that come with them (Anon., Graphisoft’s Virtual Construction Solution, n.d.). They also enable construction companies to win more bids. In addition, they enable the projects to become more predictable in that they synchronize changes in the project’s schedule, cost, or design. As well, they can be used for managing and reducing risks and for coordinating and communicating among the different members of the project team.
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