During Level One Cost Planner Training, we saw how easy it was to set up an initial cost plan without even having a BIM model available. Then during Level Two training, we saw how to access previous project data to flesh out our cost plan. In Level Three we appropriated our quantities by location, confirmed quantity calculations with Formula Editor, and even developed a Cost per Location report.
In Level Four training, we have two important concepts to cover. First, we will show how current or legacy estimating data can be formatted for use in Vico Office using the Excel Import tool. This essentially takes 2D estimating data and makes it applicable to the 5D BIM environment. Secondly, we will investigate how best to use the cost tracking features in Cost Explorer. Here we will compare different versions of our current project to the budget and note which elements or design choices have increased the project cost. Excel Import and Cost Explorer are two important pieces in the Vico Office estimating solution. (And have you noticed that there still isn't a BIM model in sight?)
We've developed these video tutorials to walk you through the major pieces of functionality in easy bite-sized chunks. Refer back to these videos as often as you like. We'll continue to update the materials as new releases of Vico Office are issued.
After watching these video tutorials on the major features of Cost Planner, Takeoff Manager, and Cost Explorer, please navigate to the FAQs to learn even more. And when you're ready, please feel free to advance to the next level. You can also request to receive the entire video collection by completing the form on the Vico Office Training Videos page.
Vico Office Cost Planner Level 4
Step One: Importing Data from Excel
What's the easiest way to get data from one system to another? It's probably Excel. You can transfer your Outlook contacts to your new phone using a *.csv file. You map birthdays and anniversaries and note by mapping fields. The same concept exists with Vico Office. We developed a tool called Excel Import as a way to bring in all the estimating data that already exists in your firm.
Most often, estimators have reams of data stored in existing Excel spreadsheets, but don't have a way to make that information relevant in a 3D application. Now with Excel Import, that existing estimating data can be associated with the elements in a 3D model. Because Vico Office recognizes those associations, the 3D model becomes a dynamic 5D model. So when the model geometry changes, the project cost automatically changes. But we're getting ahead of ourselves because we still don't have a model...but slowly and surely, we're building a very powerful cost plan. Let's learn the basics of this tool first.
Step Two: Defining Target Costs
How do you go about defining a personal budget? There are rules of thumb such as 30% of income goes to housing and 10% goes to charity. Similar rules of thumb exist in commercial construction. In your geography, how much should the foundation contribute to the total cost? How much should the curtain wall?
Setting the Target Cost is establishing the budgeting allocations very early on. And because the structure of the budget matches the structure of your cost plan, the two are very easy to compare to one another. This proves to be very important when there is a design option or change which can contribute to the project cost. Owners want to see what elements are driving up the costs and how they can be contained. With Vico Office Cost Explorer, this is very easy to show.
But let's first learn how to define our target cost for the project.
Step Three: Comparing against Targets
Wouldn't it be great to graphically identify which portions of the construction project are currently over or under budget? So instead of flipping through binders and spreadsheets and obscured assumptions, Vico Office Cost Explorer makes it incredibly easy to compare any Cost Plan version to the Target Cost (budget).
Because the Cost Explorer color-coded tree structure is set up to reflect the Assembly/Component structure of your Cost Plan, the two are dynamically linked. This means that clicking on an element of the building in the budget tree immediately highlights the line in the Cost Plan.
Wouldn't it then be great if that also highlighted the element of the 3D model? But we're getting ahead of ourselves again...
Step Four: Comparing against Targets and Previous Versions of the Cost Plan
The Owner expects teamwork when s/he selects the project team. What better way to demonstrate teamwork as to work through multiple what-if scenarios together.
Because you can create so many Cost Plan versions in Vico Office, why not set them up to compare different situations - or what-if scenarios. This way, the Owner has options - not only for materials (do Green choices impact material costs and/or installation costs?), but also for design decisions (how would adding another two floors of retail space impact the budget versus the rental income?).
These comparisons are set up the same way in Cost Explorer. Simply create Cost Plan versions for each option to compare them against each other and then against the target cost.
Now that you've seen that setting up an estimating project in Vico Office Cost Planner is just like starting a traditional estimate from scratch; and you've seen that utilizing previous project work is as easy as dragging and dropping and auto-complete; and you've seen how to define a quantity takeoff for an element is just like establishing a formula in Excel and even how to map these quantities to their proper location; and you've learned to use Cost Explorer to compare the current project status to the budget, let's advance to Level Five Cost Planner Training. You can also request to receive the entire video collection by completing the form on the Vico Office Training Videos page.
And remember, you can always jump over to the Vico Office Client tutorial videos.