3. By using VDC and creating models of “typical road sections,” surveyors can visualize the project, understand the requirements, and avoid spending time solving math problems that computers can solve instantaneously.

4. Equipment operators can upload files containing the alignment and 3D surface of the road to computers in heavy equipment like graders or excavators for automated machine guidance that, on the final pass, can allow computers to make the millions of micro adjustments needed to achieve a perfect grade. The productivity of Sundt’s equipment and crews has increased significantly through constant and direct communication via automated machine guidance.

5. VDC also improves quantity calculations and reduces raw material costs. Models let builders know instantly whether they have placed the proper quantities of materials like aggregate base course because the model is linked directly to computers in the cabs of heavy equipment.

6. Teams using VDC experience fewer communication problems due to the wealth of information communicated via virtual design and construction software. When a designer specifies a road width or structural thickness, it is communicated to every stakeholder through the model on demand. The designer’s intent is not hidden in hundreds of pages of project plans and specifications.

In Summary

VDC is not simply an improved tool for horizontal construction.  It is an improved process aimed at facilitating communication between participants at all levels.

Sundt plans to create construction-ready VDC models during preconstruction of most horizontal projects going forward. The models have the potential to transform all phases of the horizontal construction process, from surveying to paving to recording as-built information and everything in between.


The authors: