5 Questions with EPC Simulation Model Expert Vance Cogdell

Posted by Admin on Mar 21, 2016 3:20:25 AM

5 Questions with EPC Simulation Model Expert Vance Cogdell


Vance Cogdell serves as a Senior Designer and one of Haskell's BIM Integration Specialists. After 16 years with the company and a host of projects under his belt, Vance and his team used his expertise to develop an Engineer-Procure-Construct (EPC) simulation model that offers clients a view of their complete facility, both building and systems, before construction in one unified model. 

What generated the idea to create an EPC simulation model?

The purpose was to educate potential clients on an integrated approach for building informational modeling and construction sequencing. We also wanted to show our clients how this process facilitates future building systems and expansions.


There was a team of packaging, building and processing designers working on this model. How did a team of varying disciplines work together to create one cohesive model? 

As industrial processes and systems have become more complex, teams—not individuals—have become the basic working unit in modern construction and engineering organizations. Since team environments foster interaction, open communication and new ideas, the ability to function effectively as a member of an interdisciplinary team became essential.

Sheldon Smith, a design engineer in the Systems Analytics group, established the robotics and conveyor systems using Demo3D software. Also using Demo3D, Savan Dave, an impressive Haskell intern, created our automated racking and ASRS (Automatic Storage and Retrieval System). I served as the BIM (Building Information Model) Integration Specialist and designed the building envelope utilizing Trimble Sketchup as the initial office design. Collectively, we modeled the warehouse and structural systems in Autodesk Revit, animated the integrated model in Demo3D and developed the final video in Movie Maker.

Video: EPC Simulation ModelView more Haskell videos. »


What was the team’s greatest obstacle when developing the model? How did the team overcome it? 

The greatest challenge was determining the best design that illustrated the maximum impact visually.  We wanted the model to completely speak for itself. Clients should be able to see how their entire facility will operate before construction. To showcase the model best, the software we chose for animation was critical. After several tests with different types of software, Demo3D was the best solution. 


Some manufacturers are skeptical about using their resources to develop simulation models for their facility. What insight would you tell those manufacturers they can gain from the EPC simulation model? 

Manufacturers definitely have the right to be skeptical, but after understanding how these models work, they will see how our models reduce risk significantly. We explain to our clients how an operational decision could cost millions without all the information simulation models provide. It's like betting your organization’s future at the roulette wheel. Arming yourself with the right information changes decision making from a gamble into a sound business decision.


As you know, technology constantly changes. What do you see for the future of simulation modeling?

Modeling is a powerful tool. With it, you can analyze, design, and operate complex systems. In the future, I think you will see more complex real-world business issues applied to simulation models. As more companies view it as a valuable communication tool that shortens design cycles, reduces costs, and enhances knowledge, I think modeling will become a necessity before beginning a project.

If you would like to discuss more simulation options, please contact Bela Jacobson at 678.328.3246 or bela.jacobson@haskell.com

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Topics: Innovation, Expert Interviews, Simulation