Article 586 Visualizing, Analyzing and Investigating Building Information Modelling (BIM) Enabled Cost Estimates

The growing adoption of using Building Information Modelling (BIM) has helped BIM users to take advantage of the different data types captured in those BIM models. One of those data fields is the volume, areas and quantities of the different objects included in the BIM model. This has helped not only in accurately quantifying those values associated with each BIM object but also the ability to automatically comes with the revised quantities when the BIM model is modified. Of course, there are different quantities measurement and calculation rules that needed to be used in the BIM model to ensure that the quantification process for the different BIM objects adheres with the approved practices and standards for quantity take off and estimates.

The estimated quantities data exported from the BIM model along with the cost estimate prices data coupled with The BIM model visual developed by KG-DEV called 3DBI, allows the project stakeholders to visualize the cost estimate and the BIM model in MS Power BI which will provide an interactive report to better investigate and analyze the project cost estimate.

The interactive report can be designed to include filters to select the cost estimate data to be visualized which could be by material type, building system, floor level, etc. The same categories used for the filters will be also used in donut visuals to provide a breakdown of the cost estimate price. The report will also include a schedule of values that will summarize all BIM objects used in creating the cost estimate by type, system, floor level and then BIM model object.

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Using a Project Management Information System (PMIS) solution that has cost estimate module like PMWeb enable visualizing the cost estimate data on a BIM model. PMWeb cost estimate module allows importing the BIM generated quantities estimate to enable developing the project cost estimate. This will require exporting the estimate from Autodesk Revit to a MS Excel file so it can be imported to PMWeb.

For each imported line item, the project team can append the estimate with the additional information that will be needed to come with a complete and comprehensive cost estimate such as the unit of measure, unit price, cost breakdown structure (CBS) and work breakdown structure (WBS) levels, project schedule activity and other needed data. Of course, there is also the option to add this additional data to the exported BIM model MS Excel file before it gets imported into PMWeb.

PMWeb allows attaching all supportive documents to the cost estimate template. It is highly recommended to add details to each attached document to better explain to the reader what is being attached and viewed. In addition, links to other relevant transactions or records of other business processes managed in PMWeb can be also added.

It is also highly recommended that all those supportive documents, regardless of their type or source, get uploaded and stored on PMWeb document management repository. PMWeb allows creating folders and subfolders to match the physical filing structure used to store hardcopies of those documents. Permission rights can be set to those folders to restrict access to only those users who have access to do so. In addition, PMWeb users can subscribe to each folder so they can be notified when new documents are uploaded or downloaded.

To enforce transparency and accountability in approving each version or revision of the project’s cost estimate, a workflow needs to be added to the cost estimate template to map the submit, review and approve tasks, role or roles assigned to each task, task duration, task type and actions available for task. The workflow can be configured to include the approval authority levels as set in the Delegation of Authority (DoA) document.

When the Cost Estimate is submitted for review and approval, the workflow tab available on the relevant template will capture the planned review and approve workflow tasks for each transaction as well as the actual history of those review and approval tasks. The captured workflow data will include the actual action data and time, done by who, action taken, comments made and whether team input was requested.

The interactive BIM Cost Estimate report will enable the project team to analyze and investigate the estimated project cost in an easy-to-understand format that relates the estimate to the different BIM model objects. Of course, the BIM can be rotated to better visualize the selected objects.

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About the Authorfounder

Bassam Samman, PMP, PSP, EVP, GPM is a Senior Project Management Consultant with 40-year service record providing project management, project controls services and project management information system to over than 200 projects with a total value in excess of US $100 Billion. Those projects included Commercial, Residential, Education and Healthcare Buildings and Infrastructure, Entertainment, Hospitality and shopping malls, Oil and Gas Plants and Refineries, Telecommunication and Information Technology projects. He is thoroughly experienced in complete project management including project management control systems, computerized project control software, claims analysis/prevention, risk analysis/management (contingency planning), design, supervision, training and business development.

Bassam is a frequent speaker in topics relating to Project Management, Strategic Project Management and Project Management Personal Skills. Over the past 40 years he has lectured at more than 350 events and courses at different locations in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and South America. He has written more than 550 articles on project management and project management information systems that were featured in international and regional magazines and newspapers. He is a co-founder of the Project Management Institute- Arabian Gulf Chapter (PMI-AGC) and has served on its board of directors for more than 6 years. He is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) from the Project Management Institute (PMI), a certified Planning and Scheduling Professional (PSP) and Earned Value Professional (EVP) from the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering (AACE) and Green Project Management (GPM).

Bassam holds a Masters in Engineering Administration (Construction Management) with Faculty Commendation, George Washington University, Washington, D.C., USA, Bachelor in Civil Engineering – Kuwait University, Kuwait and has attended many executive management programs at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA and London Business School, London, UK.


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