5D BIM Estimating



Estimators are the backbone of any GC firm.  They go to sleep each night with the weight of the firm’s profitability riding on their thoroughness. If they missed any portion of the project scope, the whole bid is at risk.


That scenario doesn’t change with BIM – we just make it very visual and very comprehensive. Now Estimators are able to rest easy, assured that they have not missed one iota of scope.  Here’s how:


Quantity Takeoff: Just as you would takeoff quantities with drawings, Estimators still need to takeoff quantities of a model. Now, however, the software reads the model geometry and proposes several quantity calculations. The Estimator is still in control as to how those takeoff formulas will be calculated, but so much of the laborious work is now done automatically. With Vico Takeoff Manager, our powerful algorithm reads model geometry to produce a construction-caliber quantity takeoff.


Estimating: At Vico we call this step cost planning because there will be many iterations of the estimate as more and more information is learned about the project.  And Estimators should not be leery of this terminology – it is not more work – it is a better use of time. Imagine the Estimating team being able to alert the project stakeholders when a design change impacts the cost and by how much – and being able to do so almost immediately. Vico Cost Planner makes estimating cool again.  The estimate evolves as more and more details are refined for the project.


Budget Visualization: The views in Vico Office are incredible. Not just because you can see the 3D model in relation to the schedule or the budget, or see the individual line items of the estimate highlighted in the model; but because it helps lay people understand the ripple effects of design changes and their decisions. Vico Cost Explorer does exactly this – allows the Estimator to show the Owner when and where the budget is being impacted. With Vico's Cost Explorer, project stakeholders can examine budget levers, the items which greatly influence a project's ability to stay on track and run powerful comparisons.


Estimating tools have changed a lot since slide rules and digitizers, but the Estimator’s role actually takes on new importance in the BIM environment. S/he not only sees the project, but sees into the project to uncover the answers to key questions like: what happens to the cost and schedule if the design changes?


We invite you to take advantage of the many resources on our website for Estimators.  There is so much to learn about BIM-based estimating that we’ve organized our meatiest resources here:


Our Products: Vico Takeoff Manager and FAQs

Our Products: Vico Cost Planner and FAQs

Our Products: Vico Cost Explorer and FAQs


Webpage: What Is 5D BIM?

Webpage: What Is Model-Based Estimating?

Webpage: What Is the Difference between Cost Planning and Estimating?


Webinar: BIM-Based Estimating Fundamentals

Webinar: The 5D Virtual Construction Workflow


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


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.