Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Cooperative

Digitisation is transforming built environment. Curtin’s School of Design and the Built Environment established the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Cooperative to prepare students to meet the changing demands of the industry by providing mentoring opportunities from industry leaders through collaboration on high profile projects.

Get involved

Would you like to offer mentoring opportunities to our Built Environment students? Industry opportunities

Tap into fresh talent: Partner with Curtin’s Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Cooperative.

If you’re looking to expand your VDC capabilities, Curtin’s VDC Cooperative could help.

The VDC Cooperative is a new initiative within our School of Design and the Built Environment which aims to produce students who can fill a shortage area in virtual design and construction. By bringing together different disciplines, built environment students collaborate on real projects and gain valuable work experience while helping you meet your business goals.

How does it work?
Industry mentoring can be hugely beneficial to both your organisation and the students. You can get involved in three easy steps:

  1. Download the application.
  2. Let us know why you want to get involved with the VDC cooperative.
  3. Submit your application to Associate Professor Jane Matthews:

Want to gain real-world experience with industry? Curtin’s built environment student opportunities

Equip yourself with relevant skills and build valuable networks by joining the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) Cooperative.

We collaborate with leading industry partners
Our strong industry connections allow us to select reputable industry partners from various disciplines to enhance your learning opportunities.

You will gain valuable experience working on some of Australia’s flagship building information modelling (BIM) projects. Current projects include the new Perth Stadium, Perth Children’s Hospital, Perth Museum and Forrestfield-Airport link.

Access to digital models, cutting edge tools and bespoke training packages will also help you to navigate problems.

You are immersed in cross-disciplinary problem solving
Discipline silos are broken down to broaden your knowledge base and understanding by forming working teams with students from five different programs: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Construction Management, Interior Architecture and Urban Planning.

Industry mentors will support your development of knowledge, skills and critical thinking by working through elements on key projects with professional teams.

Assessment informs project development
By presenting regular updates about your project’s progress and challenges to a panel of experienced industry mentors and Curtin School of Built Environment staff your interdisciplinary team will gain feedback to assess your progress and amend your project if necessary.

Showcase your achievements
On completion of your project you and your team will have an opportunity to showcase your work, which will also provide valuable networking opportunities with industry professionals.

Download the application.

Past project briefs

New Perth Stadium: Re-usable BIM details Mentored by Hassell (architect)

Public Transport Authority (PTA) of Western Australia: Network and Infrastructure Division

Working with the new Perth Stadium architectural model and a set of existing project-specific details which focus on doors and walls:

  • Determine current best practice (e.g. classification, keynotes, standards and specifications) for the creation of detail components.
  • Navigate change management scenarios by looking at the practical implication of changes, for example, moving a wall or increasing its height.
  • Examine interactions between the model and detail components to inform decisions about where to create parametric links and what level to specify parameters.
  • The focus is on buildability rather than visualisation, and information rather than 3D.

Results will be reviewed from a multi-disciplinary view point which will be useful across project stages and disciplines.

New Perth Stadium: Information integrity for procurement and maintenance Mentored by Brookfield Multiplex (contractor)

Working with the new Perth Stadium federated model, the client’s brief, and a dRofus database of furniture, fixtures and equipment:

  • Examine the integrity of FF&E information across the different sources.
    Examine the process for managing change in the context of fixed client expectations, but a changing design.
  • Propose mechanisms for ensuring a single point of truth.
  • Propose mechanisms for dealing with the asset manager’s view of what is in a room. For example, swipe card access external to a room, which should belong to a room.
  • The focus is on standardisation of information at different levels, including industry, discipline, project, object and property.

Results will be reviewed from a multi-disciplinary view point to determine whether this will be manageable during procurement, useful for asset management and acceptable across disciplines.

New Perth Stadium: BIM 360 Field: Taking BIM to site to monitor construction progress Mentored by Brookfield Multiplex (contractor)

Working with the new Perth Stadium federated model (Navisworks), the Revit model for sanitary ware, the construction program and BIM 360 field:

  • Design and implement a system for ‘status-ing’ sanitary accessories in the federated model as they are installed on site.
  • Evaluate the robustness of the system(s) in the context of design change and model updates.
  • Design and implement a system for reporting on installation progress on a weekly basis.
  • The focus is on integration of software systems and design of sustainable processes which maintain a single point of truth.

Students will be required to visit the Stadium site (a minimum of twice) and, ideally, have access to an iPad.

The "Clash Dash" Mentored by PDC BIM Evolved (BIM manager)

Developing an efficient mechanism for monitoring and reporting clashes in large multi-discipline models over time.

Working with published zones of an anonymised model students will:

  • Investigate mechanisms for persisting clash status between different published versions of the model
  • Evaluate the robustness of the system(s) in the context of design change and model updates.
  • Track and report on trends over time (e.g. by level, trade).

The focus is on achieving an automated and sustainable process with visual reporting outputs (e.g. graphs, model based visualisation.)

Our industry partners


Hassell is a multidisciplinary design practice, with offices in Australia, China, Singapore, Thailand and United Kingdom. It was founded in Australia in 1938.


Multiplex has been delivering landmark property and infrastructure assets for more than 50 years. They are a leading international contractor with a focus on sustainable growth, and one of the few international contracting businesses that offers expertise across the entire life cycle of a project.

The project: BIM for Site

This project looked to examine current systems for digitally recording the installation progress of sanitary ware. The full benefits of BIM can only materialise when collaboration occurs across disciplines and project lifecycles. Recent capabilities in cloud-computing have the potential to ‘take BIM to site’, but the software and processes are immature and therefore under constant development and update.

Students worked to design and implement a system to allow sub-contractors on site to enter the installation status of fixtures in real time. Accessing the live, working model of the new Perth Stadium, which was being updated weekly, required them to ensure their system was robust and efficient in the context of constant design change.

PDC BIM Evolved

PDC is a highly experienced global engineering design, detailing and 3D building information modelling (BIM) and management company. It’s BIM consultancy provide advice and management to clients ranging from government, industrial and resource organisations, general construction contractors to services (MEP) subcontractors and FFE vendors.

PDC address all project participants’ input, use and development of models and model based deliverables to ensure project and data integrity is established and maintained. Its service of governing process and workflow management is a collection of defined model uses, workflows, and modelling methods used to achieve specific, repeatable, and reliable information results. The way the model is created, how it is shared and when it is used impact the effective and efficient use of BIM for desired project outcomes and decision support.

The project: Clash Dash

The tracking and management of project performance within a BIM environment comprising single large federated models, can be problematic. Often the tracking of issues needs to be done by persons not directly involved with the models. The current limitations within BIM software, particularly in an environment with frequent model updates, make monitoring performance over time almost impossible.

This project attempts to remove the reliance on the model interface for interrogating project data and placing it in the hands of those project participants best placed to use it. In doing so, it aims to resolve existing software issues and allow for more consistent and reliable clash data management and resolution strategies.

How PDC Operations benefits from partnering with VDC

“Having access to a group of the brightest students from built environment disciplines at Curtin meant that no challenge was too great.”

Isaac Heard, BIM Manager – Construction

The opportunity to be a part of the VDC Cooperative has been an undeniable advantage, both personally and to my organisation. Having access to a group of the brightest students from built environment disciplines at Curtin meant that no challenge was too great.

We quickly identified common themes regarding data integrity and standardisation of processes between projects, which allowed the entire group to develop them to the point where they have now become readily usable on real projects. When dealing with these stubborn issues it is often the new set of eyes that sparks ideas for resolution.

Public Transport Authority (PTA) of Western Australia, Network and Infrastructure Division

PTA is the primary supplier of public transport services in Western Australia and is committed to providing safe, reliable and efficient transport services. Its Network and Infrastructure Division collaborates with national and international rail organisations and research institutions to optimise its asset management practises.

Increased take up of BIM and digital engineering throughout design, construction and the supply chain enable information management improvements for project management and handover. Network and Infrastructure is leading the PTA in embedding the benefits gained from BIM and DE software systems and processes to align with the principles of rail asset management.

How PTA benefits from partnering with VDC

“We’ve gained insight into the opportunities that exist with the take up of BIM and DE.”

Through this opportunity we’ve gained insight into the opportunities that exist with the take up of BIM and DE and better position the PTA to be ready for a BIM future. It has also provided a chance for PTA to share its experience in managing asset information within an infrastructure intensive industry.

The VDC students developed congruent solutions with VDC partners while investigating better ways of managing data and information. They have identified and fed back software improvements to the developers and increased the combined capability of software by aligning industry issues with research capability, which work will go a long way to improve the reliability, availability and management of information and supports positioning information management centrally within PTA asset lifecycle frameworks.

The VDC is a unique opportunity for Curtin University final year students to gain practical experience using the tools which are central to the current major projects within the WA private and public sector.