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DCS Chair to deliver Keynote at BIM/C 2022 event _ Dublin, Ireland

The significance of the BIM model [and Digital Twins]

to the Quantity Surveyor / Commercial Manager [in 2022]

- by Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS

At a virtual ‘Building Safety Alliance’ roundtable, hosted by the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management ‘IWFM’, held on 08.08.22; by way of a kind invitation from Dr Graham Kelly, Director of BIM Academy, I observed [and suitably contributed towards] the contents of a timely discussion regarding the ‘multi-faceted’ implementation and future ‘day-to-day’ challenge of the ‘golden thread of information management’.

On the back of what is undoubtedly one of the worst, Case Studies of ‘fatal-construction’ which has led to the ongoing investigation, commonly referred to as the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, the ‘golden thread’ is an emerging and key legal requirement of the planning, design, construction and occupation / end-use phase of public and private real estate. Currently ‘focussed on HRRB’s’ this requirement will grow over time to encompass every asset that accommodates people, with a particular focus on residential assets.

It was really good to see fellow colleagues Rebecca Thompson, DLUHC and Neil Hope-Collins, HSE both attendee panellists from a recent #InPerson (annual CIH 2022) event held on 30.06.22 in Manchester.

Credit: RICS

Back in 2015, I supported the well documented RICS effort that became known as “BIM for Cost Managers: requirements from the BIM Model” – an amazing piece of work overseen by an industry ally and fellow disruptor Alan Muse FRICS, Global Director of the Built Environment, RICS

BIM also known as Building Information Modelling, is now well-established in the construction industry, and Quantity Surveyors/Estimators are hearing about it more and more. Designers have embraced BIM and many today are producing 3D models. But how can the QS or estimator get started, and how is it relevant to them [now in 2022, in post-pandemic, post #Grenfell environ]?

Credit: RICS

First and foremost, it is important to note that BIM is not a software you can simply purchase and pressure your staff into implementing. BIM is a new way of working or a process. So in a sense, you cannot purchase a BIM software per se, but a software to capitalise on the BIM work flow.

Credit: RICS

Building Information Models are three-dimensional digital representations of both the physical and functional characteristics such as the spatial relationships, constraints and dependencies of a project which in collaboration, forms a reliable foundation for decision making.

Credit: RICS

The emphasis is on the “information” which is collectively shared and communicated between the projects’ stakeholders – throughout the entire lifecycle of the building. Enforcing a consistent flow of data through the adoption of a centralised model not only enhances accuracy, but also significantly diminishes discrepancies whilst harvesting meaningful collaboration between the Architects, Structural Engineers, MEP Designers and Quantity Surveyors.

Credit: RICS

So where does 5D BIM fit in? Well, 5D BIM is, quite simply, the process of applying costs to the model. This is the role of the QS/estimator, and as BIM workflows become established within the construction industry, QS & estimators will require the ability to deal with these models and know how estimating from the model fits in with the BIM supply chain.

Credit: RICS

The benefits of 5D BIM for the QS/estimator, once established within a workflow, are endless. In a 5D BIM environment, the QS/estimator can participate in data exchange from the outset, rather than working in isolation to offer cost advice or takeoff quantities for a project. This enables them to better collaborate with the entire construction chain, including project teams. They can also focus on the client’s needs more effectively, which results in a higher quality project overall. The automatic generation of quantities provides a faster, more accurate tool to analyse data and provide better advice, and allows the estimator to explore ways of improving building design, efficiency, performance and cost.

Credit: RICS

And, purely for reference and clarity......

Credit: RICS

A key principle of BIM is that a shared asset model promotes a collaborative work¬flow leading to improved outcomes. File interoperability is an important aspect of this, so any 5D BIM software worth its weight needs to support a multitude of BIM native files, such as DWG, IFC, and even SketchUp.

The establishment of industry standards and procedures provides a sound framework for BIM implementation across all sectors of the industry to the benefit of the community as a whole. 5D BIM within QS and building companies has been a slower uptake than some other facets of BIM, but this is now changing as more and more companies are making the switch to ensure a better workflow.

Excerpt 2:

The findings suggest that 5D BIM provides numerous benefits to QS’s over traditional methods, mainly through increased efficiency and visualization. Furthermore, other benefits could be achieved such as improved value management services to the client and rapid identification of design changes. However, as currently practised, these perceived benefits were only being achieved to a modest extent, due to a number of barriers limiting 5D BIM implementation. These barriers were mainly associated with incomplete design in the BIM model, lack of standards to facilitate electronic measurement, legal issues, lack of data within BIM model objects required for 5D BIM, and a lack of government support. As a consequence, the use of 5D BIM appears to be limited, and professional quantity surveyors are still heavily reliant on using traditional methods. Despite this, there was a strong indication that 5D BIM implementation will achieve these benefits to a greater extent in the future. [And, eight (8) years later, the future is now in August 2022!]

Credit: Harrison, C., and Thurnell, D. (2014) 5D BIM in a consulting quantity surveying environment. MoBIE (Ed.), Building a Better New Zealand conference 2014, Auckland, 3-5 September (43-53)

However, even just seven (7) years later, it is clear to me that the traditional role of the Quantity Surveyor, which has changed little, if any [during the last 154 years] and now the evolving role of the Cost / Commercial Manager, will have a profound ‘client-facing & public interest’’ role to play, moving forward, on multiple fronts. My own perspective was recently proffered up for debate at the recent RICS UK QS & Construction Conference 2022

Notwithstanding, the real question will need to continue to be explored where ‘exponential progress’ over time will need to monitored. However, what on earth does this ‘new regime’ mean for the custodian of ‘cost and value’ i.e. upcoming, recently qualified and fully experienced, senor members of the ‘global’ Surveying profession, particularly with a focus on ‘asset-level’ whole-lifecycle asset management, amidst the wider net-zero & sustainability challenge?

Clearly interesting times ahead for the wider sector [and the role of the QS / Commercialeial Manager!], hope to see you in Dublin, next month [08.09.22]..22].22].2].].. [in the UK] will be chronologically required as part of a certified ‘whole lifecycle’ construction process, soon be administered by the ‘newly formed’ Building Safety Regulator [BSR]. The consultation described and suitably by presented by Neil Hope-Collins has commenced and can be accessed here; Building Safety Consultation _ Citizen Space

Part 3 _ Design & Construction [changes to the Building Regulations]

Part 4 _ In Occupation [the new regime for Occupied Higher-Risk Buildings]

Clearly interesting times ahead for the wider sector [and the role of the QS / Commerce Manager!], hope to see you in Dublin, next month [08.09.22].


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