Virtual Construction for Roads (V-Con)
The Virtual Construction for Roads (V-Con) is a European project co-funded by the 7th framework programme of the European Commission concerning standardisation and implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology in the sector of road construction and road management.
The V-Con project aims to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the National Road Authorities by improving data exchange in the civil infrastructure sector. BIM has already been successfully implemented in other sectors and is a worldwide development.
The project consists of two parts: a development/standardisation part and a so-called Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) part. The duration of the project is four years and the official starting date was October 1st, 2012.
The project is lead by the Dutch Agency of the Ministry of Infrastructure & the Environment (Rijkswaterstaat). Other partners are the National Swedish Road & Rail Authority (Trafikverket) and two leading national research institutes in the field of virtual construction from France (CSTB) and the Netherlands (TNO). They have formally joint forces to break out of a circle of ICT-standstill by defining a first standard, procuring the necessary software and launch a PCP for BIMserver and software tooling.
Aims & Objectives
V-Con aims at enabling national road authorities to introduce software tools for exchanging/sharing comprehensive road (highway) information with commercial parties in the sector and applying them in their life-cycle and supply-chain processes.
The right ICT-based integration for infrastructures is seen as a key opportunity here: better information management will lead to shorter lead times, less failure costs, better handover to commercial parties for realization and maintenance and vice versa, improved asset management and more intelligent traffic management.
Complicating factor however is the lack of standardised information exchange and sharing over the civil infrastructure sector. Several developments can be observed, but no comprehensive, generally accepted standard is directly available. Therefore, intention is to develop (part of the) required international open information standard, and procuring the required, compliant software tools. This will stimulate others in the sector to follow.
This leads to two primary objectives. The first is to establish a draft version of a standardised information and data exchange structure. The second is to procure and test software systems in a PCP that comply with this structure. The results will be embedded in the procurement of two large infra projects, one in the Netherlands and one in Sweden. The result will be a draft version of a standard that will be used in the software that will be procured in the PCP part of the project. Dissemination of V-Cons results will take place in the appropriate networks of ICT companies (software vendors/developers) and BIM specialists.
A proposal to the European Union was submitted in January 2012 as part of the FP7 framework and the consortium has been officially granted with €2,163,000 by the European Commission to fund the entire project over four years (2012-2016). The upcoming months will be used to shape the procurement, following pre-established work packages.
PCP is an approach for procuring R&D services which enables public procurers to:
- share the risks and benefits of designing, prototyping and testing new products and services with the suppliers, without involving State aid
- create the optimum conditions for wide commercialisation and take-up of R&D results through standardisation and/or publication
- pool the efforts of several procurers
By acting as technologically demanding first buyers of new R&D, public procurers can drive innovation from the demand side. This enables public authorities to innovate the provision of public services faster and creates opportunities for companies to take international leadership in new markets. For more information check the website of CORDIS.
The PCP procurement consists of a funnel of three phases: challenge solution design, challenge prototype and pre-production testing.