5D BIM Could Radically Enhance Costing Process

BIM Structure

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The use of Building Information Modelling (BIM) could radically enhance the costing process following its expansion beyond quantities calculation and specifications data to other core areas of project management.

While BIM has thus far focused primarily on the use of digital representations of the physical and functional traits of a facility to guide both the design and construction processes, the next generation of BIM adds even greater functionality by providing advanced tools for estimating costs throughout a project’s life cycle.

5D BIM provides a more comprehensive and sophisticated methodology for the management of costs than its predecessors. It allows for rapid and accurate cost analysis at all stages of a construction project – from the design process to the construction phase to post-construction.

The chief advantage of 5D BIM compared to traditional methods of quantity surveying is that it permits the re-estimation of an evolving design as many times as is required, so that designers can better incorporate such cost considerations into subsequent amendments to lift efficiency and achieve savings.

This marks a major advance upon its predecessors, with 2D quantity surveying unable to provide such measures either affordably or within a practical time frame.

The incorporation of improved cost estimation features into BIM will no doubt greatly increase its popularity and go a long way towards making it a commonplace tool in the building industry.

BIM Process

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BIM is already well on its way to becoming standard practice within the UK construction sector as a result of both enthusiasm amongst building professionals and official efforts to make its use mandatory.

General consensus within the British building practitioners is that BIM will inevitably become an indispensable tool throughout the sector, while a significant percentage of builders have already commenced implementation of the new practice.

The latest annual industry-wide BIM survey conducted by the UK’s National Building Specification (NBS) indicates that almost three quarters (71 per cent) of respondents believed that BIM is the “future of project information,” while 39 per cent indicated that they currently use BIM.

Their enthusiasm is reinforced by official efforts to bolster BIM usage. The UK has already mandated that Level 2 BIM be applied to all projects starting from the summer of last year, and the use of fully collaborative BIM by 2016.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) also published the BIM Overlay to provide building practitioners with “straightforward guidance” on the successful application of BIM at each RIBA work stage.

By Marc Howe
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