Undertaking any project under any industry it is essential to analyze its feasibility in terms of its cost, resources, time, and overall profitability. For identifying the feasibility of a construction project, it is important to have an accurate cost estimate which incorporates project risks and build costs. In the AEC industry, BIM Modeling services have become that space that not only helps identify but enhances the accuracy of cost estimates. BIM Outsourcing services firms are well-versed with helping the construction companies when it comes to bidding work that is based on real intelligence so that they on-board those projects which are profitable. But contrasting to this companies are failing to use BIM appropriately and are simply creating bids based on guesswork, with their thin profit margins and thereby having great struggles completing that construction project.
One of the researches showed that while BIM is being used for projects, only a third of construction people are using BIM for estimating cost. A survey conducted on 235 professionals provided shocking results when they were asked how long it takes them to prepare cost estimates. 75% stated that it takes them longer than a week, with just under 30% revealed that it takes them longer than 3 weeks. Such a thing drastically increases the total time and cost of a bid preparation which will ultimately call for an increased cost and low-profit margins. So, it is highly essential to utilize the expertise of BIM professionals to bring about cost estimation for the projects that are more precise and quicker.
Why and How BIM helps with Cost Estimations?
While we have seen the transition from traditional 2D drawings to 3D modeling, it benefits cost estimates due to accurately quantifying material and volumes for rich cost projections. Instead of using 2D CAD the models are now generated having virtual representations of the building using 3D models and this brings about insights and details which were earlier not possible in 2D. These insights are enhanced even further by BIM consulting services which allow the addition of more project data through the usage of attributes which means there are capabilities to the model to represent or attach information like cost, material type, or performance data to any components of the model. It is this attribute feature that makes BIM different from 3-dimensional modeling.
- Cost Estimation 5D BIM: Cost Estimation through BIM is known as 5-dimensional BIM and is usually done by connecting the basic 3D model to an estimation database i.e. a 5D cost library. At various stages of the project higher level of details can be applied as in when needed. The 3D models are inserted with objects that hold information related to the elements of these objects, say for example the specification details and quantity of an element.
In BIM, the details or information about any element is associated with the corresponding geometry. So, any changes in the design will reflect a change in the geometry and so the related information regarding that element also updates simultaneously. So, in this manner, this information detailing brings about an accurate and automatic quantification of the project, which in turn will bring about efficient and precise cost estimation. This procedure rules out the possibility of manual takeoffs which usually brings about huge errors.
Cost Estimators who are aware of the mechanics of BIM can use BIM services to their benefit and derive accurate and faster cost estimations by utilizing 5D BIM automatic quantifications and functionalities. Apart from bringing about efficiency and accuracy in cost estimations BIM usage also brings about efficiencies of time for the estimator.
Information is the Key for 5D BIM Cost Estimation:
While we now saw that BIM provides accurate cost estimation instantly it is important to note that simply by implementing Building Information Modeling is not enough for a project and that can negatively harm the project and for this one cannot blame the BIM technology.
The key factor with BIM is that it is the information which is put to this BIM model that derives us the result we want. While the cost estimator uses BIM it is his responsibility to develop an information database that is useful for cost estimation. The fifth-dimension, i.e. cost estimation comprises of many layers of activities like quantity extraction, cost planning, verification of rebar fabrication, MEP and Structural BIM Services model, along with verification of series of activities corresponding to resulting costs and so it is important to on-board a knowledgeable and experienced cost estimator for your projects.
- Cost Forecasting with BIM becomes better: BIM is an opportunity for contractors and designers to leverage the power of the information that is built up in their projects for having better forecasting and control of cost. When there is cost data added to the BIM model as the project advances the historic cost information can be retrieved at the granular level which was earlier difficult to derive due to the usage of 2D methods. Since historic cost information is readily available with BIM down to every single component it brings about a higher level of understanding regarding component costing.
- Better the Information Better is the Cost-Benefit: This rule applies to any software i.e. to say the output is as efficient as the input, but still cross-checking is always essential. So, whenever the BIM model is enhanced and refined with the right information, the process of estimating the cost becomes much more accurate and easier for the team.
- Evaluation of Design Options becomes easy: Apart from having accurate cost estimation and saving time, it also enables analyzing the different design options more easily and quickly. Cost analysis of different options can be easily availed in a fraction of time due to the quantities management and tendering tools built into the BIM software.
- Faster quantity take-offs: Software having the ability to generate automated lists like volumetric information brings about enhanced QTO’s. There is the automation of the materials take-off process since the information has already been attached to the model through the component attributes. Quantifying materials becomes as easy as running a report from the BIM model, so when the cost information is attached there will be accurate cost estimation at the same time.
Having seen the power the BIM Outsourcing Services can bring in for estimating the cost accurately and quickly we can say that cost estimation is simply to predict the most realistic figure at any given time during the project life-cycle. This estimation or prediction of the cost is based on the interlinking of cost, time, and activities information. For reducing the risks and uncertainties due to change orders, greater and accurate cost estimations are required. Not just this, for the bid and tenders too, the accuracy of cost estimation is very crucial for the project so that once the assessment of risks and uncertainties is done, the overheads are added to estimates, thereby adding them to the tenders and bids to bring about higher profitability to every project before they are on-boarded.