BIM - Rise of the Machines

The UK Government's mandate for the adoption of collaborative Building Information Modelling (BIM) on all central government procured projects ushers in a new era of cost management practices for Quantity Surveyors.

It is now widely acknowledged that at its finest, BIM has undisputed capabilities offering quicker ways of quantification compared to existing protracted and labour intensive processes.

Having spent vital hours and days undertaking extensive measurement tasks for huge multimillion projects, one is all too aware that the introduction of BIM's measuring capability is a blessing for all stakeholders including Quantity Surveyors. There is complete transparency of the design process and the quantity surveyor is expected to be far more involved in pre contract BIM workshops where design intent and assumptions can be captured correctly. To reap the benefits of quicker quantification, it is vital to ensure the model is set up correctly so technology can aid in the quantification process.

...BIM has undisputed capabilities offering quicker ways of quantification compared to existing protracted and labour intensive processes.

With BIM, the quantification functionality of Quantity Surveyors will be simplified from undertaking prolonged measurement exercises to carrying out more complex quantification activities, quality assurance checks to validate quantities and other data produced by the 3D BIM model.

Talk to a good Quantity Surveyor and they will tell you that one undisputable feature of a good cost estimate is that, it must be as close as possible to the tender figure obtained, or that any difference between the two figures must be anticipated and within a projected range. By semi-automating the labour intensive tasks of quantifying, BIM will free up Quantity Surveyors’ time to enable them to focus on project cost optimisation activities. More value is added when Quantity Surveyors have additional time to fine-tune their estimates, taking into account higher value project-specific factors, risk profiling, value engineering and value management, extensive market testing, etc.

The true value of the future Quantity Surveyor would therefore be their construction wisdom, their ability to factor in project specific peculiarities and to add real value rather than their ability to count building parts.

By semi-automating the labour intensive tasks of quantifying, BIM will free up Quantity Surveyors' time to enable them to focus on project cost optimisation activities.

Regardless of the much-professed prowess of BIM, and its most revered intelligent parametric capabilities, BIM is incapable of interpreting design intent nor is it able to communicate the nuances of construction. These are tasks which only human expertise can offer. At its core, the essence of BIM is collaboration. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), BIM is a tool that rallies people and information to work together efficiently, by supporting them with defined processes. Far from a death knell, BIM should rather be seen as a harbinger of a new and exciting era, giving the profession a brilliant opportunity to reinvent itself to provide more value for clients. 

As one of the world's largest project and cost consultants, Faithful+Gould has extensive experience supporting the effective use of BIM for clients in the UK and around the globe. Our teams provide a range of services including strategic BIM advisory services, procurement strategy, tendering, cost management, and whole-life management of built assets. Contact us to learn more about how we can assist you with your next project.

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