In an industry where money plays such an important role, it amazes me that we are yet to get to grips with 5D BIM
They say “money makes the world go round” and where the construction industry is concerned that is almost certainly the case. But, in an industry where money plays such an important role, it amazes me that we are yet to get to grips with 5D BIM, especially with its focus on cost.
5D BIM offers a number of benefits for the project team, client and end user across the asset lifecycle, which go way beyond just pure cost management. The ability to carry out cost benefit analysis and track costs across a buildings lifetime, ensure that clients can have cost certainty and achieve optimum levels of financial performance. But despite some progress on adopting 5D BIM, as an industry we are failing to realise its promise.
The biggest problem relates to the timescales involved in getting cost data to the design team and all too often we are finding that it arrives too late for it to be used in a meaningful way. There also remains a degree of “secrecy” surrounding costs and little appetite to share information with the wider team, which runs contra to the transparency and openness that BIM aims to foster. As a result the very tool that is supposed to be managing and improving a project’s financial performance is actually proving to be rather a waste of money, delivering little in the way of value.
There remains a degree of ‘secrecy’ surrounding costs and little appetite to share information with the wider team
Addressing these issues will almost certainly require cost consultants to come out from their own silos and become an integral part of the team from day one. Giving them a better understanding of the project’s parameters and ensuring that the cost data provided is both relevant and timely. The model itself would also benefit from a greater cost input. For example adding a cost component to the kit of parts would allow us to cost items and projects more accurately; undertake analysis and consider issues such as whole life costs. Making certain that capital and operations budgets can be met and giving clients a greater understanding of what it will cost to run their building across its lifespan.
With so much to gain it is in everyone’s interest to make this work. The industry wants cost consultants to be part of our integrated team, now all that remains is for them to respond to our invitation.
Andrew Pryke is managing director for Bam Design and BIM director for Bam Construct UK’s property development, design, construction and FM services