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What Will 5D BIM Mean For Cost Managers?

What will the 5D aspect of building information modelling (BIM) mean for Cost Managers, Estimators and Quantity Surveyors? Here Trevor Woods explains what 5D BIM is, how it will impact those engaged with costing and where best to start.


“5D BIM is where we’ve taken the graphical 3D model and appended cost information to it to rapidly produce estimates” he explains. This has freed up Cost Managers’ time and enabled them to add greater value by validating information and verifying that scope has been accurately captured.

The efficiency of the BIM workflow – particularly in this case for designers – is allowing for rapid iteration of proposals. Trevor points out that this will translate into changes coming ‘thick and fast’ at Cost Managers: “We simply have to embrace BIM” he says. “Manual methods of measuring are just too slow”.

“5D BIM is where we’ve taken the graphical 3D model and appended cost information to it to rapidly produce estimates”

Under the conventional approach, Cost Managers develop estimates on completed designs. “We don’t help designers design to cost” explains Trevor. 5D BIM in his opinion, allows Cost Managers to quickly price iterations and provide real-time feedback to their project team peers, helping them develop proposals in line with set budgets.

In terms of where to start, Trevor suggests taking an element of a building (such as its structural steelwork or duct work) and running a 5D costing exercise on that package in isolation. He recommends doing a 2D exercise alongside in the first instance to help build trust and confidence around the outcome.

“Start small, plan and evaluate the software options” he adds. “Look for a software tool that will also do 2D take-offs. This way your staff can get used to the software using 2D projects so it’s not a complete new transition to a new platform”.

Some things are just too good to be left on the cutting room floor and Trevor Woods’ advice to Cost Managers definitely fits that category. Trevor originally took part in “What Does BIM Mean To Me?” with The B1M back in December 2015, offering advice to Estimators and Quantity Surveyors on what to expect from the new way of working.

We shot around 10 minutes of footage with each of the seven experts taking part. That was condensed into an eight minute video – which of course meant being ruthless. This is an extended cut of Trevor’s contribution, offering Cost Managers the chance to hear solid advice on 5D BIM.

“Start small, plan and evaluate the software options”

Find out more in What is 5D BIM?

This video was kindly powered by Exactal. Find out more about their BIM + 2D estimating software here.

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