BIM is a process that allows members of the project team to collaborate on the design elements of a 3D architectural model via a computer virtual platform. Architects, engineers, planners and the construction team have to analyze the digital model and provide their technical expertise with a goal of conforming their inputs in relation to the model, specifications, regulations and other fields of expertise which are part of the project as a whole. BIM allows incompatible elements across the model to be rectified before building commences, thus saving the client a lot of money and reducing disputes which normally arise during the construction phase. In this regard BIM may be used as a tool to assess the feasibility of a project in the planning/design stage, because it allows the project team to have a walkthrough inside the virtual model and inspect the elements.
Quantity surveyors are also part of the project team, and their major concern is the cost of the project. Fortunately, BIM does not need an estimator to measure and quantify the building elements. The virtual software does this automatically, through automatic take-off of the project 3D Model geometrics. However, when a quantifying function or auto-measurement capability is not included on BIM software, you have to look for construction quantity takeoff software that allows integration with BIM.
There are a few top BIM Quantity Takeoff software that you can find on the market because BIM is a new concept that is gradually gaining momentum in the construction industry, especially with government projects, for example in the UK (United Kingdom), BIM has been adopted by the government due to its ability to reduce costs, increase value and cut project delivery time. Indeed, a lot of time is saved because a large part of BIM is identifying issues and resolving them, which allows smooth delivery and increased productivity.
The following is a list of some of the best building quantity take-off software that can integrate with BIM:
CostX by Exactal
CostX is a construction digital takeoff software that can be integrated with BIM to automatically produce quantities. The software is developed by Exactal.com and the company has seven specialized CostX products to choose from. Some of these products for example CostX 2D and CostX Takeoff 2D, can only work with 2D digital drawings. CostX and CostX Takeoff are capable of working with BIM and 3D models. CostX Takeoff will only take you as far as taking off quantities, but the deal is that it’s done automatically. If you want advanced BIM estimating software with full BIM capabilities and powerful features such as Auto-Revise and 3D model quantity take-off, then CostX is the product to choose. There is a bonus for college and university students – instead of getting the commercial version, you should download the educational version which is free to use for 3 years.
Free Trial – 3 years for educational version.
Demo – You can test the commercial versions by requesting a demo
AutoDesk Quantity Takeoff ( Replaced by Navisworks )
AutoDesk Quantity Takeoff is construction measurement software that allows you to calculate building quantities from 2D and 3D architectural models. Like most modern electronic take-off software, it can automatically generate quantities at the click of a button. AutoDesk is the same software company that makes Revit, a well-known BIM solution mostly used in the USA and other parts of the world. On the company site, there are demo videos on how you can integrate AutoDesk QT with BIM. As the whitepaper explains, the software is intrinsically built to support BIM data as well as other types of applications like CAD and AutoCAD. For costing estimating purposes, you can link the software to costing systems such as US Cost or Innovaya.
Free Trial – AutoDesk Quantity Takeoff was discontinued in 2013. It has been superseded by Navisworks which has richer quantifying capabilities. Navisworks can be integrated with Revit and other 3D modelling software. It’s also capable of 3D BIM takeoff.
Navisworks Free Trial – 30 days Download
Primus-IFC by ACCA Software
Primus-IFC is primarily developed to work with 3D BIM and 3D CAD models. You can automatically take-off quantities from BIM objects and price them, allowing you to get an instant cost estimate and priced Bills of Quantities that are always current with updates in BIM models and price list. Compared with other BIM quantity take-off software, Primus-IFC has well explained features that will impress a Quantity Surveyor who is looking for a smart measurement and cost estimating solution. The software works with IFC files, a commonly used standard file in most 3D BIM models. As a result, you can integrate Primus-IFC with a wide choice of BIM solutions:
- BIM Logic,
The estimating software also works with a lot of 3D modelling programs such as AutoDesk AutoCAD and 3D CAD. The software can convert BIM quantities to Excel, MS Word and other formats.
Free Trial – 30 days Download
File Size – 105 MB
Set up Installer – 9 MB
Cubit by Buildsoft
Cubit is a take-off and estimating software developed by Buildsoft, an Australian company specializing in construction software. The software allows you to trace over digital drawings on your computer, so that you can generate quantities instantly. You can measure quantities from BIM files (DWFx) as well as CAD, PDF including JPEG and PNG. Integration with BIM is possible with Cubit Basic and Cubit Pro. If you need advanced BIM takeoff, you should get the Pro version.
To price your quantities, you can import pricing data from suppliers, which can be saved as a template that is natively connected to your estimate. Just by updating the prices in the template, the changes will be automatically translated to your cost estimate, generating new figures each time. The Pro version has all the features, including Bills of Quantities, Custom Report and BIM Reader.
Free Trial – 14 days Download
File Size – 58.16 MB
Vico Office Takeoff Manager
Vico Office is a 5D BIM platform that supports different types of BIM files from other BIM solutions. Users can upload 3D models from Revit, ArchiCAD and Tekla and run clash detection tests. This multi-platform BIM environment allows parties to the project to exercise their roles i.e. engineers, architects, construction teams and the owner can collaborate on the virtual BIM platform for effective project management.
Vico Office has three functions that will be of use to the Estimator. These are the Vico Cost Planner, Vico Cost Explorer and Vico Takeoff Manager. The first application is for cost comparison, the second is for budget planning and the last application is for executing 3D BIM quantity take-off. Since Vico Office is a BIM platform, the Takeoff Manager will be handy for Quantity Surveyors collaborating on the platform. This feature is not only for 3D BIM takeoff, but you can also use it for 2D takeoff and add measurement items that cannot be virtualized in BIM model. To get these features, you have to download the Vico installer which installs all modules, including the Vico Office Suite.
Free Trial – Download
Revit by AutoDesk
Revit is a popular BIM software for project collaboration and 3D digital modelling. It does what any BIM platform would do, but for the Estimator, they will be interested in creating schedules for automatic 3D model quantification. Although Revit has many purposes, which are based on the virtualization and simulation of a physical building, there are companies which use Revit for the sole purpose of model takeoff. The Estimator extracts quantities from Revit to an Excel sheet for pricing or a costing solution can be connected to Revit via API. There is an educational version and commercial version for this program, both offering free trials.
Free Trial – 30 days Download
With eTakeoff software, you can complete measurement of construction work on your screen. All you need is a copy of the drawings in electronic format i.e. CAD or AutoCAD file. Open the electronic drawings and start measuring. The software supports dimension assemblies for group measurements, and the estimator can transfer the quantities to a costing solution to generate a cost estimate. Although eTakeoff looks like a standard application for on-screen measurement and semi-automated generation of quantities, it can be integrated with BIM.
Free Trial – 15 days Download