Valley Construction News presents...  
July 12, 2024

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This page contains answers to common questions handled by our support staff, along with some tips and tricks that we have found useful.

Note: In these answers we will follow a few shorthand conventions for describing user-interface procedures. Key combinations will be presented like this: Ctrl+Alt+Delete, which means that you should press and hold down the Control key, the Alt key, and the Delete key at the same time. Menu selections will be presented like this: File->Open, which means that you should open the File menu, and then make the Open selection.

What do I need to get started?

You will need a PC, Internet access, and a user name and password supplied by VCN. Simply log on to

From there you can download the special "SV reader" provided by VCN, click on "Member Services" and you're ready to go.

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What about hardware?

In addition to your Internet connection, you will need a Pentium (or equivalent) processor, 32MB RAM, MS Windows 95 or 98 and at least a 28.8 modem. A faster modem, more memory and a large (17"+) screen will make a difference.

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Are there any preferences for Internet Service Providers (ISP) or Web browsers?

All ISP's should work fine. MS Internet Explorer seems to work best among the browsers on our site.

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Do I need to change any PC configuration settings for performance?

Open MS Windows Explorer, click on View menu, click Options, then click on the File Types tab. Next go to SVD File on your list of file types; click on SVD File, Edit button. In Content/Mime type field, type "application/svd". Click OK, then exit out of Explorer.

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How long does it take to view plans and specs on my PC?

Using a 28.8 bps modem (by today's standards this is pretty slow) it will take about 10-15 seconds to view a single spec sheet page and 1½ to 2 minutes for a typical plan page. Line activity will of course make a difference, and a faster modem will help substantially.

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What is the difference between VCN Online and BID Online?

1) VCN Online is the VCN Newsletter available over the Internet with several added features. 2) BID Online Provides members the added capabilities of viewing, printing, downloading, and utilizing all blueprints, specifications, and addenda previously available only in VCN plan rooms. These plans are scanned onto our Internet site prior to being placed into plan rooms.

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When is the VCN web site updated?

Usually around 4 PM everyday we automatically upload all changes and additions to VCN Online; newly received plans and specs for these jobs as well as any addenda received are generally uploaded around 5 PM.

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What about changes to jobs?

Just as soon as addenda are received they are scanned and attached to the existing job. As an additional BID Online feature we "track" your interest in any job you view; then automatically notify you via Email of these changes.

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How do I change my email address for receiving job updates?

To change the email address that is used by our automatic update notification system, please call us and we'll update it for you.

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What is the difference between the download button and viewing online?

Download buttons allow you to transfer an entire CSI specification section or a selected number of blue prints onto your PC hard drive using a file name of your choosing. By doing this, you will be able to view them "locally" on your own PC at PC speed as often as you wish. Viewing online allows you to view selected sections one page at a time, while remaining online.

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What is the purpose of the "Private Bid" section?

Private Bid section allows us to place plans/specs for "negotiated work" onto the VCN web site and restrict access to only those who have been provided with a special access code by the architect or GC who provided these specific plans.

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Can I move these plans into CAD/CAM?

Plans cannot be opened as CAD/CAM files because they are scanned images, not data files. However the "tif4" file format used for storing onto the VCN web site can be annotated or moved into directories on your PC for subsequent use. Keep in mind that you can also copy measurements, counts and sizes into other programs using Windows® Notepad.

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