What Does VIF Mean in Construction? A Detailed Guide

June 12, 2024

In construction and architecture, precise measurements and clear communication are essential for successful project execution. One commonly used notation to ensure this precision is "Verify in Field" (VIF). Here's a detailed look at VIF, including why and how it is used.

Understanding VIF (Verify in Field)

Definition and Usage

VIF indicates dimensions that must be physically verified on-site by construction personnel. It is used when designers, engineers, or architects cannot provide exact dimensions on the contract documents due to various reasons.

Reasons for Using VIF

Designer's Inability to Visit the Site

Distance, budget constraints, or lack of appropriate personnel might prevent a designer from traveling to the site to take accurate measurements.

Impossibility to Determine Accurate Dimensions Initially

Several scenarios make it impossible to determine precise dimensions at the planning stage:

  • Hidden Dimensions: Dimensions can be obscured by existing construction, materials, or equipment that must be removed first.
  • Existing Structures: Accurate dimensions are needed when new work is attached to an existing structure, which may not be immediately accessible or known.
  • Lack of As-Built Documents: Existing dimensions need to be physically verified if there are no reliable as-built documents.
  • Utility Tie-Ins: Precise dimensions for utility connections must be verified on-site before adjacent components can be manufactured.

Dependence on Adjacent Structures

Dimensions of new construction might rely on the detailing of adjacent structures, affecting the project's accuracy until these structures are specified.

Changing Dimensions

For instance, dimensions affected by the loading and settling of a foundation might need on-site verification to ascertain final placement.

Unknown Underground Structures

Necessary to expose structures like subway tunnels to obtain accurate dimensions, which will only be known after exposure.

Risks and Considerations of VIF for Contractors

Liability Transfer

The use of VIF transfers the responsibility for verifying dimensions from the design team to the contractor or construction manager. Contractors must be aware of the criticality and the potential ambiguity of dimensions labeled VIF.

Impact on Project Schedule

VIF requirements can impact the schedule since other activities depend on obtaining these verified dimensions before proceeding. The timing of VIF tasks must be planned and accounted for in the project schedule.

Budget and Scheduling Issues

VIF dimensions can deviate from initial estimates, leading to potential alterations in the project budget and schedule. Delayed identification or unexpected dimensions can affect costing and timelines.

Managing Subcontractors

Subcontractors should be informed and their responsibilities outlined regarding VIF dimensions to mitigate delays and liabilities. Effective communication is crucial to avoid misunderstandings and errors.

Accuracy and Documentation

Ensuring accurate VIF measurements is crucial. Contractors should involve the design team during these measurements and document the verified dimensions. Communication through verification emails is recommended for clear accountability.

Scheduling and Notifying Stakeholders

Clearly identify when VIF tasks will occur and communicate any scheduling impacts to the design team and the owner. This proactive communication helps manage project expectations and reduces surprises.

Change Orders

If VIF dimensions substantially differ from expectations, contractors must issue change orders to address any additional costs or time requirements. This process ensures the project remains within scope and budget.

In essence, VIF is a prevalent and simplified method for design teams to shift liability; it has significant implications on the accuracy of a project's schedule and budget. Contractors must comprehensively understand the impacts and professionally manage the liabilities associated with VIF designations to ensure project success.

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