The BIM Knowledge Base for Cost and Time Elements


In an environment where there are smaller projects with plenty of bidders under a hard bid deadline, it’s imperative that you remain competitive.

Having a database for costing, resources, and productivity rates ready to go when a new bid is being developed would help ensure that you have the latest pricing at your fingertips. Tying this knowledge base to a BIM augments your 3D model to a 4D schedule and a 5D estimate. All of a sudden, the "I" in BIM means more than geometry: it contains procurement lead times, costing, activities, crew size, and productivity rates, not to mention LEED points, energy analysis information, and even warranty details.


This knowledge base links BIM objects with costs and schedules and improves the decision-making value of your 3D model.  The knowledge base allows you to build resource-loaded schedules and cost-loaded estimates with element assemblies and activity assemblies, all divided into labor, material, machinery, subcontractors, etc.  But the question remains: how do you get a knowledge base?  Should you build one or should you invest in one?



 BIM Knowledge Base of Cost and Time Elements


 available at your convenience


 a free online webinar series


 use the form at the bottom of the page to download the webinar






In this special Fridays with Vico webinar, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of building your own database versus purchasing a pre-populated one. We’ll demonstrate best practices for developing geography-specific cost and schedule databases. And we’ll also have a frank discussion of why this data is hard to pinpoint and gather.

Many companies do have a robust estimating database in place. So it’s important to note that there is a major difference between a normal estimating database and a knowledge base of time and cost elements from which schedules and estimates can be generated. For example:
Estimating Items need to be split into schedule activities
• Erecting and stripping side #1 and side #2 formwork are separate activities because
   they can’t be done at the same time)
Unique descriptions for all element types
• No simple Concrete to Foundations task. The tasks need to be broken out:
     • Pour PSI4000 Concrete to Grade beams
     • Pour PSI4000 Concrete to Pier caps
     • Pour PSI4000 Concrete to Pad foundations
Unique descriptions for like element types
• Even a slight change in dimension effects the costing. For example, a 6” concrete wall
   has a different amount of rebar and a different pour and cure time than a 2’ wall.
Estimating quantity types versus Scheduling quantity types
• A scheduler may be likely to work on a basis of number of like-sized items (like piers,
   piles, steelwork, etc.) per day rather than its dimensions and if that element always
   requires a crane.
Resource Pricing
• It’s important to identify labor resources who will move from task to task across the
   site rather than thinking of them as a “crew” who will go home after each task. This
   means having a calculation for labor per day rather than crew per cubic yard.
Classification Systems
• We prefer Uniformat Level 4 for element assemblies and CSI Masterformat 2004 for
   activity assemblies.



 BIM Knowledge Base of Cost and Time Elements


 available at your convenience


 a free online webinar series


 use the form at the bottom of the page to download the webinar







For more information on Vico Services and developing your own knowledge base configuration, please read through the following resources:

Webinar: The Knowledge Base of Cost and Time Elements

Webinar: Understanding the Model Progression Specification

Webinar: The MPS 3.0

Webinar: Applying the 5D Data Pack to Your New Project

Blog: A Shortcut to 5D BIM - the Vico Data Pack

Blog: Keeping Construction Practices Connected

Webpage: The Virtual Construction Toolkit - the 5D Data Pack

Webpage: Inside the 5D Data Pack

FAQs: 5D Data Pack FAQs


Learn from your peers with your peers at Fridays with Vico.


See highlights of this Fridays with Vico episode on the video clip below. If the content is meaningful to you and your BIM Team, please use the form at the bottom of the page to download the entire webinar.



System Requirements
PC-based attendees:
Windows® 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista
Macintosh®-based attendees:
Mac OS® X 10.4 (Tiger®) or newer



Select Recorded Webinars

Mastering Coordination and Constructability in a Hard Bid

November 13, 2009


Mastering the 5D Cost Plan in a Hard Bid

October 16, 2009


Vico Office Unplugged

October 2, 2009


Scheduling Strategies in a Hard Bid Environment

September 11, 2009


Tracking Changes in Construction Drawing Sets

August 21, 2009


Introducing BIM for Executives

August 7, 2009


Vico Office for Preconstruction and Estimating Teams

July 17, 2009


Connecting the Conceptual Estimate to the MPS

June 26, 2009


BIM 501: Model-Based Estimating

May 15, 2009


BIM 401: Model-Based Scheduling

May 1, 2009


BIM 301 Webinar: New Contract Language

April 17, 2009


BIM 201 Webinar: 3D/4D Coordination

April 3, 2009


BIM 101 Webinar

March 20, 2009


Swinerton Builders

February 27, 2009


Introducing Vico Office

February 20, 2009


The McGraw-Hill BIM SmartMarket Report

February 13, 2009


Suffolk Construction and the Torrey Pines Project

January 30, 2009


Hensel Phelps and the Denver Justice Center

January 23, 2009


Trimble and Vico - Bringing BIM to the Field

January 16, 2009


Webcor Builders and the Model Progression Specification

December 19, 2008


St. Joseph's Mission Hospital Virtual Mock-Up Case Study

November 14, 2008


Vico's Win the Deal Bundle

November 7, 2008


Vico for Concrete: Lift Drawings and More

Oct 17, 2008


Vico 101: An Introductory Webinar for Virtual Construction

Oct 13, 2008


Virtual Construction with the PCL Family of Companies

Sept 25, 2008


Orchestrating BIM the Vico Way

August 15, 2008 




Hard Bids 401 - Knowledgebase