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BIM Uses

Cost Estimation

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A process in which a BIM model can offer an accurate quantity take-off and cost estimate early in the design process and provide cost effects of additions and modifications with potential to save time and money and avoid budget overruns. This process also allows designers to see the cost effects of their changes in a timely manner which can help curb excessive budget overruns due to project modifications.

Potential Value:

  1. Precisely estimate material quantities and generate quick revisions if needed
  2. Stay within budget constraints with frequent preliminary cost estimate while the design progresses
  3. Better visual representation of project and construction elements that need to be estimated: taken off and priced
  4. Provide cost information to the owner during the early decision making phase of design
  5. Focus on more value adding activities in estimating like identifying construction assemblies, generating pricing and factoring risks then quantity take-off, which are essential for high quality estimates.
  6. Exploring different design options and concepts within the owner’s budget
  7. Saving estimator’s time and allowing them to focus on more important issues in an estimate since take-offs can be automatically provided.
  8. Quickly determine costs of specific objects


Resources Required:

  1. Model-based estimating software
  2. Design authoring software
  3. Cost data


Team Competencies Required:

  • Ability to define specific design modeling procedures which yield accurate quantity take-off information
  • Ability to identify quantities for the appropriate estimating level (e.g. ROM, SF, etc.) upfront

Selected Resources:


Penn State