Technology & Innovation

New estimating technology to tackle 5D BIM challenges

Virtual design and construction (VDC) practices today extend into all phases of the building life cycle—from design, through estimating and construction management, and onto building maintenance and demolition.  That flow involves many individuals of different work disciplines—architect, engineer, estimator, project manager and more—each with their own requirements.

To address the needs of these different disciplines, software developers over the years have become experts in specific software applications. While this has given each discipline the deep functionality they need, it has also resulted in software silos. Now, more than ever, there is a need to share information between disciplines and break down those silos through VDC technology.

BIM and estimating integration

As I mentioned in my last post, Time to take 5D BIM to the next level, sharing information between designers and estimators through a 3D BIM model still has its challenges. Basically the estimator has a very different view of a project from the person who designed it. So the juncture where those two disciplines meet needs to be contractor friendly and practical for the estimator. To achieve this, we have been working with leading technology players Autodesk and eTakeoff to offer a solution that will bridge the current gap between BIM and estimating.

The new solution will offer takeoff tools that make it possible for estimators to do production estimating work concurrently with 2D and 3D content. This will streamline the now fragmented takeoff process and eliminate additional error prone work. The ability to link construction objects in a model to assemblies in a customized estimating database will also be available, providing the estimator with the specification variables that are often missing in models.

A best-in-class approach

Many designers and estimators in the industry are already using Sage Estimating, Autodesk BIM process solutions such as Navisworks, and eTakeoff. With this best-in-class approach, our customers won’t have to buy something new. And, as software providers, we each can stay focused on producing the best software for design, estimating, and electronic takeoff.