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Are we talking about different roles and practices for quantity surveyors with BIM?

The emergence of BIM provides a new an enhanced horizon for the Quantity Surveyor

Published: 10/08/2017

Country: United Kingdom

Data digitization and automation, a new threatening for the quality surveyors, who see this unstoppable methodology a risk for the existence of their jobs. BIM allows the automation of a lot of processes and it is growing exponentially. However, not everything is lost for this profiles. Recent examples of construction planning, scheduling, costing, etc... highlight a new role for the Quantity Surveyors.

The current situation

Nowadays, Quantity Surveyors work under pressure when it comes off new logistics and topographic tasks in large built-up areas and multiple complexities. They're forced to provide a cost estimation and list of materials, etc... with very short deadlines. In pre-contract phases is when Quantity Surveyors face the most challenging costs about reporting and planning since they have to prepare BOQs (bill of quantities) based on the received designs. Engineers and architects must provide fully annotated and commented plans of the constructions, as sectional and elevation details. To put into other words, we're talking about engineers and architects delivering drawings with the maximum level of detail so the Quantity Surveyors can produce accurate BOMs.

In the case that some of the details of the plans are missing, they work in an estimated reports. Sometimes these speculations end up with the overcoming of the expected costs. This scenario without BIM leads to not fundamental decisions, very risky to assume in the early stages of the project, forcing to a material waste, delays, and possible reworks. This current messy situation demands the delete this old fashioned methods and invests in new ones. 

BIM: the final solution

The use of BIM aims to eradicate prejudice decisions, trying to manage complexions in the construction sector. As far as we know, this methodology has been used as a tool to coordinate and encourage the collaboration among the actors of the AECO sector such as architects, structural and MEP engineers. The potential of BIM allows the automatization of the basics tasks for the Quantity Surveyors and why not, to cut them some slack. In addition, the centralized data management in a collaborative environment allows the creation of surveys, preliminary estimates management, costs, plans BOM preparations and dispute resolution. On the other hand, BIM also provides a space to gather together fragmented communication as well as the minimization of the data conflict. 

In addition, 5D BIM allows working with a live model that allows updating changes and cost estimation with a 3D geometry on the building model. That means Quantity Surveyors can keep updated all times with the inclusion of designs, scheduling and labor and material costs, etc... and the derivation of productivity rates. This new scenario helps contractors with ordering materials on-site with an appropriate coordination. Therefore, we're talking about a reduction of the errors because we work with an accurate statistical data. 

BIM provides one of the major advantages for the Quantity Surveyors: planning orders from accurate as-built models. BIM 3D models give a precise QTO (quantity takeoffs) and planned materials based on the collected information. At the beginning, we're talking about a very primitive information that will evolve as it does the project. A simple BOQ will not be enough to fulfill the needs provided by a substantial report or cost indication for a construction. 

As a conclusion, we need to work to improve the manual evaluation of the drawings received from MEP Engineers and Architects. It is a laborious task and it doesn't help carrying on with the project, providing an estimated results. The 5D BIM integration with a software that can calculate the estimated cost provides an accurate value of the QTO.


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