An Introduction to Model-Based Estimating


Blame it on marketing. Too many people believe that BIM-based estimating involves a few clicks and *presto* the computer spits out the estimate. We wish there was an Easy Button for Estimating, but it just doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t mean that using a BIM model for estimating can’t be very efficient, more precise, and showcase the estimating team’s knowledge and experience.

We’ve put together a special Wednesday edition of Fridays with Vico specifically for estimators. Prepared for The Building Exchange Network and the American Society of Professional Estimators, we would like to invite your estimating team to this session.



 An Introduction to Model-Based Estimating


 Archived for convenient viewing 24/7


 A free online webinar series


 Use the form below to download the archived webinar







This webinar is for your estimating team if

1.)  You’re interested in a tool that derives precise, construction-caliber quantities, based on the geometry from Tekla, Revit, and ArchiCAD models.
2.)  If you are interested in learning how to use model based estimating systems very early in the design process, even when there is no model, only sketches and a narrative.
3.)  You’re interested in quickly accessing the multiple quantity types in the model and customizing their specific calculations to account for consumption rates, waste factors, and conditions.
4.)  You’re interested in working better with subcontractors, negotiating mutually beneficial contracts when the scope is clear.
5.)  You’re interested in learning how you can convert your Timberline, MC2, or RIB estimating database into a model-based system.

Whether you work under the pressure of hard bids or alternative contract types like design-build or IPD, using a model for estimating is a unique advantage in today’s commercial construction market.  With a 5D model, estimators can guide the Owner through budget impacts:

• What would happen to the cost and the schedule if we added a 5-floor parking
• Determine the correct mix of retail and residential in mixed-use buildings.
• Compare green materials in terms of installation time, cost, and projected energy
• Pinpoint which decisions have the greatest impact on the budget.

Whether you team works with Tekla, ArchiCAD, or Revit models, we’ll show your team how to derive construction-caliber quantities from the model geometry. We’ll also demonstrate how to edit formulas for model-based and non-model-based quantities.

Next we have the option to access the information from past projects built with Vico Office, or even go out to estimating systems like Timberline. Using Excel Import, estimators can leverage all the data collected in Timberline by linking it to the 3D model and its quantities.

We explore the benefits of creating iterative cost plans as more and more detail is known about the project. These cost plans are presented in an easy-to-read Excel-like interface, and clicking on any of the line items highlights the components contained in the model. This way, estimators can always determine if the estimate is missing any scope... and add it back in quickly.

With the model and cost plan in place, the estimating team can work with the owner to examine budget. With a simple stoplight color scheme, the estimator can quickly determine which building elements are causing a budget overrun, or perhaps have not been calculated properly

We’ll end the webinar with a thorough questions and answers sessions.



 An Introduction to Model-Based Estimating


 Archived for convenient viewing 24/7


 A free online webinar series


 Use the form below to download the archived webinar







With all the buzz in the marketplace about BIM, many estimators wonder if this means the end of their job. Model-based estimating is no different than the paper-based processes in place now – there are just different inputs. The webinar will be presented by an estimator with 17 years of field experience and he will share his initial trepidations, learnings, and successes.

Join us for this educational webinar and learn what advantages 5D BIM can bring to your firm.


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 dowload the entire movie with the form below and watch the archived webinar with your team.



We also offer a step-by-step guide to our 5D virtual construction workflow with video tutorials. These videos are just 2-5 minutes in length, but illustrate how to use a particular piece of functionality. You can access the video library index and view just what you need, or download the complete set of training videos.


If you like the subject of model-based estimating, you'll appreciate these additional resources:

Blog: There Is No Easy-Button for BIM Quantities

Blog: Does BIM Mean Estimators Are Out of a Job?

Blog: True or False: Myths about BIM Estimating

Blog: Vico Helps Balfour Beatty and Parsons Brinckerhoff Weather the BIM Storm

Webpage: What's the Difference between Cost Planning and Estimating?

Webpage: What Is 5D BIM?

Webpage: What Is Model-Based Estimating?

Product: Vico Office Estimating Solution


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



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