Quantity Surveying- Going beyond the call of duty

Quantity Surveying as a profession has made a significant and definitive contribution to the construction sector for around 150 years. Even so, the future role of quantity surveyors has been questioned following the recent explosion and success of BIM (Building Information Modelling) and its constant technological advances.

Many quantity surveyors and estimators have become increasingly aware of the benefits that software advancements in the construction sector can offer them by increasing efficiencies and productivity in their measurement, estimating and cost management functions.

BIM technology offers quantity surveyors the opportunity to get behind this growling engine of change in our industry. From leveraging historical data to working with models, to keeping costs in sync with design iterations. The Living Spaces 5D BIM competition 2018 in partnership with ASAQS will reveal how to adopt the latest tools and classifications in an estimating environment.

Growing significantly, this year’s ASAQS conference, Traction…Gaining Ground will provide insight into the integration of 3D and 5D estimating. The vision is to target value design, optimizing workflows, better collaboration with architects and engineers and continuous improvement methods.

Take this opportunity to register in our exciting 5D BIM Estimating competition and show off your skills in the latest take-off, estimation tools on the market.

Living Spaces 5D BIM Competition

The BIM Institute recently issued the first BIM design competition in South African BIM for architects and designers for proposals on the design of healthier living. The competitions was designed to seek innovative architects in South Africa to wanting to explore BIM capabilities on their projects. This is the first competition of the series where we focus our attention on residential dwellings with emphasis on tagging elements within the 3D models using the ASAQS Elemental Classification standard.


“Following the brief from a design point of view as well as from a BIM Implementation point of view was extremely beneficial to me as a BIM Manager. I discovered new ways of setting up a BIM model and entering information and data into my model to make it more accessible for estimators to work with. “says Janine Strachan, DSA Architects, winner of the design competition.

 Learning on the job – BIM is the way, but how?

Vaughan Harris, Executive Director, BIM Institute took the opportunity to sit down with Janine Strachan ,DSA Architects International and asked her the big question?

Are you BIM ready?

We are “BIM-ready!” This what I tell myself every morning when I arrive at work. The truth of it is, we aren’t BIM ready, we aren’t even “3D-ready.” So, how do we get there?

After months of back and forth with the directors and staff, we finally agreed that BIM was worth looking into. The resistance to BIM stems from a reluctance to change.

“We’ve done it like this for years and it’s gotten us this far, so why change?” comes the cries from the floor.

To stay competitive in an industry that is continuously changing and improving, we need to break the rigid routine we have fallen into.

“ What about BIM training?” asks Harris

“The training will cripple us!” wails the C-suite.

New software, workflows and protocols require staff training. Time is money in any industry, the construction sector is no exception. A loss in production time has a financial impact on the company. The amount of time spent away from the production of designs and drawings just didn’t make business sense to those making the decisions.

We needed a plan!  I came across an article by Autodesk’s Louay Dahmash called the “10 steps to BIM.” Great, we had a road map.

Using this as a starting point, we developed our own process, our very own “5 steps to BIM.”

We focused on 3D software implementation first. The transition from 2D to 3D can be a disruptive change in an organization. 3D software has a deep learning curve; its mastery is not linear. These 3D tools are extremely powerful, but it takes time for the user to gain the experience to exploit its full potential. This can take a solid year or two experience. To break up the process and allow the designers to grow into BIM, we adopted the strategy: “3D first, and BIM will follow.”

Step 1: Get to know BIM

BIM is a journey; a methodology, a way of working, rather than something that can be bought. BIM implementation requires you to look at your staff dynamic, your processes and workflows and your outputs to bring them together in a meaningful way – we are building a collaborative environment.

For us to collaborate successfully with our consultants and clients, we, as a company, need to be “BIM-ready.”


Step 2: Communicate change

Google “BIM implementation” and you are bombarded with articles explaining the “what,” “how” and “when” of implementing a BIM workflow. What you don’t find are articles explaining how to deal with the “who.” BIM is made up of:

  • People
  • Processes
  • Technology

The processes and technology are easy – the information is out there. You just need to take it and meld it to fit in with your current office workflows.

However, the people element is so often overlooked. The people involved in the BIM Implementation make up 80% of the process. Only a committed team with full buy-in from management, can expect to achieve what we have set out to do.

We provided a clear line of communication to the staff as to why and how we planned to implement our choice of software – Revit – and the BIM workflow into the company. This paved the way to effectively change our processes and made the transition from 2D to 3D less disruptive.

We constantly reassured the staff that we would retain the things that were valuable in their current way of working. We made it clear that we weren’t changing the process, we were “tweaking” it.


Step 3: Pilot Project

The pilot project was the first project we carried out using Revit as our authoring tool. Starting our team on a pilot project gave us a controlled environment to learn and document how we used Revit, while implementing a BIM workflow. We documented the results and got a clear indication of where and how we could improve our production process.

Implementing BIM is a long, uncomfortable journey and our management team were aware of this, but did not fully understand the implications. In the early stages, our office productivity dropped as we gained Revit experience. Then our traditional CAD process looked more efficient and faster. Staff members not fully committed to the process were, of course, tempted to fall back into old ways.

Clear support and approval from management was paramount to overcome this obstacle and move forward with the pilot project.  Our team was given enough time to manage the BIM process learning curve, while still implementing a strict schedule for deliverables, without the possibility of delay.


Step 4: Document preferred processes and Change Management plan

Successfully completing your pilot project is the first big step of a successful BIM implementation. As we started our pilot project, we asked our team to document their use of BIM software during each stage of the project. They highlighted areas which needed improvement and the processes followed that lead to the success of the project. We now had the information needed to create best practice workflows and set up BIM component libraries for the rest of the project teams.

We still have regular feedback sessions with each project team to discuss difficulties and achievements when implementing BIM on new projects. This process is ongoing. Each new project brings new challenges that help create more efficient BIM models. This forms part of our long-term BIM strategy. The pilot project is our comparison project. It allows us to estimate where we are saving time and money, and what needs to be done to improve the process.


Step 5: Train project teams

The next step was to train staff members as they were about to start a BIM project. Having learned our lesson with regards to training, we decided to break the training up based on project teams. Each new Revit team went through fundamental training before the project started. This training also included basic training on how to start a BIM project, where and how to save the model and basic office protocols that were implemented. We had weekly training sessions as well as feedback sessions for each project to assist the staff with their assigned tasks.

One of our most valuable tools where the staff members from our pilot project. These were our BIM champions and became our BIM mascots, advocating the adoption of BIM across our organisation. Our BIM champions answered questions and provided support as the rest of the teams were assigned to BIM projects. Now we just need to find external teams to work with on BIM projects…


Every step is a step closer

Our industry is constantly evolving. There will always be a better, faster, more effective ways of doing something. We need to keep our teams up to date with all the latest software enhancements, new technologies and innovative workflows.

We need to be the best. We need to lead by example. Again, this is easier said than done. But it is possible. We are always on the lookout for new workshops and training sessions we can attend to gain knowledge. Getting out there and meeting BIM professionals and learning from their experiences. We can’t do this alone. BIM forces us to work together and share our knowledge. This allows us to better inform our clients and make the project production process as pleasant as possible.

We are far from where we need to be, but we are BIM champions; we are BIM leaders; because we are finally on the path we need to be.

The Living Spaces 5D BIM competitions is an ideal environment for Estimators to present their BIM skills by mapping the Elemental classification to the 3D model elements and a chance to go beyond the call of duty!

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to enter the competition and to attend the ASAQS Conference on the 2nd August 2018, to listen to how AECOM and WSP are integrating 3D and 5D estimating.

Here are just some of the benefits you will see by attending this years ASAQS conference.


Learn more about keeping estimates up to date
Streamline the synchronization of estimates with design models to ensure quantification  are accurate at every step

Optimize your estimating workflow
Develop a shared understanding using the new ASAQS Elemental Classification WBS  and learn to integrate 3D & 5D quantity take-off to ensure an efficient estimation process

Maximize the value of data
Discover how to rapidly provide clients with elemental estimates from historical data and better predict future costs with 3D data-driven forecasting

Benchmark the Latest Tools
See how quantity take-off applications, estimation software  allows for a smoother secure bid management process and collaboration with the design team.

Broaden Your Network
Meet the other BIM experts, architects and estimators from companies big and small who are already putting their skills to practice in a 5D world.

The competition criteria will be made available once the competition starts on 9 July 2018 – with entry to the competition being free of charge. The competition deadline is  23 July 2018, and the prize giving will be held at the ASAQS Conference on the 2nd August 2018 on in Gallagher Convention Centre Midrand. The top final entrees selected by the judges will also be on display at  the conference. Competition website: https://www.biminstitute.org.za/5d-bim-estimating-competition/

Download Competition Details