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More Accurate Estimates Start with More Constructible Models

The dynamic visuals of BIM and 3D models provide an impressive way to bring the design vision for a construction project to life. But today’s BIM models do more than simply deliver the wow factor.

More than just 3D models, BIM is a process that’s intended to improve planning, communication, and coordination. In fact, when models contain 4D, 5D, and even 6D BIM information, including details about materials, costs, schedules, maintenance data, and more, BIM’s real value begins to be realized. 

“As modeling has matured, an increasing number of contractors and fabricators have embraced BIM for its exceptional value in downstream activities, such as detailing, fabrication, installation, and handover; integrating the complete design and construction workflow as an efficient, collaborative digital effort.”
—Using Building Information Modeling to Connect Design and Construction, Dodge Data & Analytics

The more detailed the model, the more constructible it is. By designing to a higher level of detail, not only is the structure able to be built to its original design intent, but the entire project benefits from reduced risk, greater productivity, and more predictability. And these advantages are felt throughout the project lifecycle, including during estimating cycles and continuing through construction and ongoing operation. 

Using Model-based Estimating to Increase Accuracy

To compete for more and larger projects, construction firms need the ability to create thorough and accurate project estimates that leave little room for uncertainty. But while the typical design models may effectively communicate a project’s potential to owners and other stakeholders, they don’t provide enough details about the actual build for cost estimators to confidently price the project.  

A BIM model that’s created using design software like Tekla Structures, for example, is more than just a pretty picture; it’s a true workhorse. The model can include precise details such as the exact quantities and specifications needed for materials like steel, concrete, and MEP equipment. It can also help determine the build sequence, heavy equipment needed, safety considerations, and other logistics that may impact costs at various phases of the project. Knowing this level of detail up front helps construction cost estimators gain much-needed clarity about the project, anticipate and confidently answer questions, and ultimately determine costs with far greater accuracy.

To learn how Pepper Construction is
using model-based estimating, read the article.

Estimators can also use model-based estimating to identify possible variables and changes that could impact project profitability as well as ways to deliver greater value to owners. They can build contingencies into the estimate if needed and highlight portions of the project where greater cost-effectiveness can be achieved. By surfacing this information during the bidding phase, you not only help designers and owners resolve potential concerns up front, you can also earn a reputational and competitive advantage in the process.  

More Design Detail Means More Constructible Projects

While it may seem like a lot of work, the detailed project information used for accurate construction estimating also ensures “constructible” projects — namely, projects that proceed more smoothly and predictably because they’re designed to a level of detail that’s capable of being constructed. 

A constructible project centers on a data-driven model. By designing models with constructible content, contractors and subcontractors can correctly order materials that meet manufacturer recommendations, arrive in the right amounts, and show up on time. They can also ensure fabricated components are built to the right specifications in the shop and are installed correctly on site. 

Project managers can use detailed models with accompanying site photos to recognize any site constraints, plan and optimize workflows, reduce safety hazards, and ensure work is completed on schedule. Should a potential error or problem arise at any point, the information contained in the constructible model can be used to quickly solve the problem and/or mitigate any fallout. With updated project information, contractors can minimize waste and rework and avoid cost and schedule overruns.

The information in the model also helps owners and other stakeholders track and measure project performance. The connected nature of project data means that any mistakes, along with budget or schedule issues, are duly recorded to be analyzed later. By learning from each project, you can control and even lower costs, plus make necessary process improvements to increase overall efficiency, productivity, and profitability.

Produce More Accurate Estimates and More Profitable Projects with Connected Construction

If you’re only using BIM for design, you’re only realizing a fraction of its full potential. You’re also missing out on the benefits of connected construction. Connected construction breaks down the work silos that stand in the way of better collaboration and greater productivity. By giving all stakeholders the visibility and transparency they need into project information, connected construction based on a constructible process can increase productivity, streamline operations, and prevent delays and unnecessary waste. And leveraging the full capabilities of BIM is just the beginning. 

“Companies that want to win more work, deliver projects more efficiently, and design better buildings need powerful solutions. And connected construction is a solution that has the potential to help improve project planning and execution efficiencies as well as margins.”
—Winning with Connected Construction, Deloitte

Read the case study to learn how M Moser Associates, a global AEC firm, is reaping the benefits of constructible models and a connected approach to construction.