Vico Office Cost Planner Video Tutorials

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.  With Level Four training we brought in legacy estimating data with Excel Import and then compared two different versions of the estimate with Cost Explorer.  All these tasks were accomplished before we had a BIM model to work with.  Finally, in Level Five training, we got to work with three BIM models: publishing them from Revit to Vico Office, activating them, and selecting which properties we would use for our quantity takeoff.


Here in Level 6, we're going to explore Locations.  Quantities by location are key to understanding Vico.  Not only will quantities by location help us create much more precise schedules and estimates, producing cost- and resource-loaded schedules and location-based cost plans, but these quantities by location will also be crucial out on the jobsite to help us reconcile work put-in-place. 


Are you thinking, "Aren't locations the planner's job?"  The workflow we're describing here actually allows Estimators to be more accurate with their Cost Plans using location as an extra dimension. The physical locations virtually split elements to provide location-based quantities that allow the Estimator to create a location-based cost plan (for example: using a different price for elements on a higher floor).  The preconstruction planner could adopt this location breakdown structure as a simple precon LBS or elaborate on it.  The PM, site-based scheduler, or Super could then further elaborate with much more detailed locations.  In the best case scenario, Estimators then use LBS Manager for quantity mining; extracting historical location-based quantities (from similar project types) supports estimated quantities for new projects even prior to the creation of a Building Information Model.


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 Vico LBS Manager, please navigate to the FAQs to learn even more.  We also have a webinar featuring LBS Manager that helps explain the topic in greater detail.  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 6


Step One: Defining the Project Bounding Box

The first step to establishing locations for the BIM model is to set up the project bounding box.  The bounding box encompasses the geometry of the model with 10 ft/3 m "padding" around the perimeter.  Only the geometry within the bounding box will be included in your takeoff.




Step Two: Defining Floors

The first logical step for creating locations within our BIM model is to define the floors. Note that these do not have to be restricted by the floors defined in the BIM authoring application (although they could be used as a starting point if this option is checked upon model activation).  The bonus to the user is that these locations are persistent so that no matter how many new model versions you receive, these locations will be automatically applied to re-quantify the building elements per location with no re-work.


Once we've created the floors, we will define the elevations (the base elevation of each floor, usually the top of slab), and check our work by using the Isolate feature to highlight the geometry contained within the new location.




Step Three: Defining Zones

Now with the floors as the logical horizontal split, let's further refine our locations with zones.  Ideally, a zone is the optimal-sized workspace for a particular trade.  And since here we're working with the substructure, let's use a zone to represent the pad footings and concrete pour.


We can do this easily with a 2D floor plan view and the pencil tool to add polylines. In order to see the model geometry in this 2D view, we will set the cut height and view depth. This makes zone divisions easy to see. The snapping feature helps us draw straight line and divvy up the model.






Step Four: Applying the LBS to the Model and Updating the Project

In order to apply the new floors and locations to our project, we need to re-activate our model.  This virtually splits elements crossing floor and zone boundaries, updates the model-based quantity information, and produces quantities by location.  Now, based on their position in the model, elements are associated with the correct location. 


It is important to note:

Vico is the first solution to provide both geometry splitting and location-based quantities. And it is non-destructive – we keep the original elements so you don’t need to keep returning to the original BIM model to make tedious changes. All the locations are persistent in Vico Office LBS Manager and can be applied to new versions of the model.




Step Five: Manually Assigning Elements to a Location

This video addresses handling the exceptions when a model element falls outside of a logical location.  Perhaps, as in this example, a pad footing or two could be included in a previous workflow to balance the number of quantities per location.  It’s a good practice to try and make the workload equivalent in each location, and manually assigning model elements to a new location is an easy way to accomplish the task.


We will use our familiar paintbrush tool to "paint" the pad footings into an adjacent zone.




Step Six: Assigning Bounding Boxes to Locations

One of the by-products of editing locations in LBS Manager are non-model-based locations (previous physical locations that have been divided into two or more new locations).  These are locations which do not have a bounding box associated with them, and therefore, do not have elements associated with them.  You can manually assign a bounding box to a location using the paintbrush tool.  Let’s assume that this project contains hundreds of locations which we have named already (instead of just the four we show).  We can quickly assign bounding boxes to these named locations with the paintbrush.  The paintbrush is a much more efficient fix than going back to rename hundreds of locations.




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; and we've finally started using a BIM model from which we can extract quantities for our estimate using Takeoff Manager; and we've introduced zones to our project so that we can get location-based quantities and cost plan data,  let's advance to Level Seven 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.