BIM vs. Bills of Quantities. Will 3D Model Takeoff Software Eliminate The Need for Quantity Surveyors and Estimators in Construction Projects?

3D Modelling Interior of Building

Virtual Bedroom – An Architectural 3D CAD Model of Bedroom Interior

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling. There are many perspectives in which people view BIM. It is essential to know that BIM evolved as an architectural design process based on digital 3D Modelling, but instead of the Architect being the only one involved in the design process, it is now inclusive of other parties involved in the project i.e. Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Civil, Waste/Water Engineers, Environmental Planners as well as Building Contractors and the Owner.  While others see it as a 3D software for modelling or simulating the real-life physical design of a building, others see it as a communication tool for team collaboration, i.e. everyone involved in the project can view or provide input on the real-time model via a centralized system or cloud-based service. Some see it as a reliable dynamic database for getting up to date specifications and changes to the building design. Still, others think it’s a great tool for risk management and trouble shooting, allowing clashes, discrepancies and issues to be identified in the model before construction working drawings are sent to the contractor. For an Estimator or Quantity Surveyor, BIM might be seen as a tool for automating the production of error-free quantities from live models and eliminating manual takeoff from paper and digital blueprints. For the client (building owner), BIM will be a platform that allows him or her to monitor the design and actually see the progressive 3D visual representation of the building at any stage of the project. This gives the owner control over the design. Since every party knows what is taking place at any point, BIM provides transparency to the project as a whole. Some have compared BIM to a 3D simulation video game where the user can actually enter a virtual building and open doors to the bedroom, kitchen, living room, bath etc, enabling the user to see how the rooms look like.

BIM and the Future of Quantity Surveying

Although automating the measurement of building quantities is something that will speed up the production of cost estimates and reduce the workload for a Quantity Surveyor, it is something that has created a cause for concern for an Estimator’s job security. With the development of auto-takeoff software that can link to a BIM platform, for example CostX, and BIM solutions like Revit that have inbuilt capabilities for producing quantities automatically, people in the construction industry i.e. Architects, Civil Engineers, Project Managers, Property Developers including Quantity Surveyors themselves, have been talking about the advent of 3D auto-measuring software that will make the role of Quantity Surveyors redundant.

Will BIM eliminate the need for Estimators and Quantity Surveyors in a construction project? Although some people think so, BIM or any 3D Model-based estimating software will not kill the Quantity Surveying profession. In the early days of the profession, a Quantity Surveyor’s main role was solely taking off measurements from a plan, but the modern Quantity Surveyor has far more roles than taking off quantities. The modern Quantity Surveyor has a broader portfolio of responsibilities which include estimating,  cost planning, documentation, tender administration, contract administration, progress valuations, financial management , cost control, dispute resolution, facility management, risk management, asset management, contract law consultation, construction firm management consultation and project management services.

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  1. […] « BIM vs. Bills of Quantities. Will 3D Model Takeoff Software Eliminate The Need for Quantity Surveyor… […]

  2. […] process, saving the Estimator a lot of time. If the template is a BOQ, you can easily get Bills of Quantities and price them using your price list or costing […]

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