Design Team Collaboration

Virtual Design and Construction


Design Team Collaboration | How we assist the design process and ensure a high-quality project delivery

Here at C.D. Smith, we find immense value in working collaboratively with design teams, helping to achieve desired results and turn over quality buildings to project owners and clients. We view design and engineering teams as an extension of our own, promoting unity in vision, assisting in solving problems and communicating and sharing information freely. Below are a few ways we use technology in doing so.

Virtual Design & Trade Coordination

C.D. Smith’s VDC (Virtual Design & Construction) team utilizes building information models (BIM) to work collaboratively and efficiently while coordinating everyone’s scopes of work from design through installation.

C.D. Smith starts by working with the client and design team to define a BIM Execution Plan identifying roles and responsibilities required to deliver the project successfully. C.D. Smith leverages Autodesk’s BIM 360 platform to collaborate on cloud-hosted real-time models with the design team to identify and discuss project design options. Constructability reviews are performed during the design phase to mitigate unforeseen changes being needed and assess what information is still required to turn the design intent of the building into reality.

After the design is locked in, C.D. Smith leads trade coordination meetings with members of the design team to answer questions on the spot, minimizing time wasted on costly RFIs and ensuring any choices made maintain the quality building expected. Issues are tracked, and project constraints are logged and assigned for accountability. The project’s models transition/evolve into fully coordinated trade models that are signed off on for prefabrication and installation.

Side by side images of UFAD model on left versus actual install image of 2nd floor C.D. Smith Corporate Office on right

Benefits of VDC coordination during the design phase:
• Improve communication & collaboration
• Mitigate unforeseen changes
• Reduce errors, omissions & scope gaps
• Improve constructability
• Enhance cost control
• Ensure high-quality design is maintained
• Reduce the design team’s construction administration phase

Benefits of VDC coordination during trade coordination:
• Minimize RFIs
• Improve productivity & mitigate delays
• Reduce rework costs
• Reduce scope gaps and change orders
• Increase prefabrication, reducing field labor and increasing safety
• Improve sequencing & schedule
• Enhance project turnover package & quality building for the client


Model Quantity Takeoffs

Model Quantity Takeoff Assemble Image Illustration by C.D. Smith Construction

Tracking quantity changes via the models enables us to do iterative cost control, by identifying delta changes in material quantities weekly. This allows the design team to be kept informed for making incremental adjustments to keep a project within budget rather than waiting on milestone sets, resulting in making time-intensive design changes (value engineering and redesign exercises) to bring the project back within budget. This iterative cost control method avoids disrupting the design, schedule, and owner expectations by having a constant cost status.


Laser Scanning


A laser scanner captures the existing world using a laser and translates the data it receives into points (known as a point cloud). They also capture high-resolution, 360-degree images to map the points. This process is called reality capture. There are many uses for the point clouds including preconstruction planning, site verification, quality control and as-built documentation. But, for collaboration with the design team, we use it for existing conditions verification and design and trade coordination.

Image of laser scan with dimensions of existing conditions by C.D. Smith Construction


C.D. Smith can laser scan and compare a renovation plan against the actual site conditions, to verify that the new design works with reality, as the existing documentation may not reflect reality.

Floor plan resulting from laser scan of existing conditions verification

If we are on the project prior to the building design having been started, we can scan the existing building and set the laser scan up in Revit (typical 3D architectural design software) with plans, sections and elevations for the architect to have an accurate starting point for their new design. Highly accurate measurements can be taken and modeled by all design teams without the need to site verify conditions. This enables us to avoid disrupting areas such as sterile environments and factory floors more than once, minimizing any impact on client operations.


In our effort to mitigate risk and reduce rework, we also use laser scans of existing spaces, MEPs and client equipment (e.g. assembly lines) to assist in the coordination of new work to be installed around the existing. We then work to avoid all collisions between the new building components and the ones that exist onsite.

Laser scan of existing with model overlay for trade coordination by C.D. Smith Construction


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About C.D. Smith

C.D. Smith Construction is an industry leader in safely providing the highest quality commercial construction services. Utilizing an integrated approach and self-performing trade services combined with technical expertise, our team serves as a solutions provider throughout all phases of a project, from planning through construction. With veteran leadership and a dedication to our employees and clients, we proudly place our name on projects of all sizes across the United States.

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Corporate Headquarters
125 Camelot Drive
Fond du Lac, WI 54935

Milwaukee Office
241 North Broadway
Suite 400
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Madison Office
316 West Washington Avenue
Suite 900 
Madison, WI 53703

La Crosse Office
333 Front Street North
Suite 701 
La Crosse, WI 54601

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