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. With our model experience, we stepped to Level Six training and started dividing up our model into locations. These locations can serve as the basis for our location-based cost plan; but can also be expanded upon by the precon planner and Superintendent for much more granular management of the project on-site.
Here in Level 7, we're introduce some of the flexibility with the user interface, as well as the powerful Tag functionality. It's always important to remind users that Vico Office is a database. So every field and value takes on the added flexibility of being reported upon, organized by, filtered in or out. In the examples here, we create a tag to organize a cost report according to CSI Masterformat stratifications. You know which reporting features your firm and your Owners will appreciate, so use Tags to your advantage and drill down deep into the data.
Another feature of the software we explore is the graphical user interface. The goal of every piece of software is to provide intuitive icons, workflows that mimic real life, and organizing data in such a way that just makes sense visually. You can never underestimate the power of a brilliant user interface. The viewset feature is a great way for each individual user to customize their workspace. You know that it true - some people are better at powerpoints, some people only use spreadsheets, and some people like to write and some people take the best photographs. It's our bet that you've run into Owners who are all about the numbers...and some Owners who are all about the visuals. You probably have co-workers who live and breathe for spreadsheets, but can't read a set of drawings. You'll see that with Viewset, we can accomodate any user and any audience. It's a powerful communication tool because each viewing area is dynamically integrated with the others on the screen. This means that when you click on the Foundation line item in the cost plan, you can see the quantitites which comprise the assembly in the takeoff, AND the elements of the 3D model which make up the foundation.
This is a fun section - it's where you can customize Vico Office to best suit YOU.
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 tags and customizables viewsets in Cost Planner, 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 7
Step One: Using a Viewset
How do you like your data organized? If you don't know, take a look at how you've set up your Microsoft Outlook. Do you use a preview pane? How large a space do you dedicate to your task list?
This is the same type of customization that users can establish with Vico Office. This video illustrates how to customize your viewsets in Cost Planner, but the same premise applies to all the Vico Office modules. You can set up split screens, 3-way views, and even 4-way views. (Now, if we could only figure out how to do this on our television for weekend sports!)
Step Two: Using Highlighting to Check Quantities and Usage
With our Favorite Viewset in place, we can now take advantage of the dynamic integration between the views in Vico Office. We can select any takeoff item from our first view and see it automatically highlighted in both the 3D view (the model) and the cost plan view (the estimate). This visual check makes it easy to validate the cost plan - and explain it to Owners!
Step Three: Filtering the Cost Plan by Quantity Input Type
If you have been following the videos from the beginning, you'll recall that we started our estimate by manually typing in data. We even imported some data from a past project. Now we have three BIM models that we're working with and we derived their quantities automatically and associated them with the cost plan.
Now we'd like to go back and revisit those manually-entered values and see if we can make them more precise. There are several ways to do this and we show three examples in this video:
1.) we can filter the cost plan layout preset
2.) we can filter the quantity layout preset
3.) we can use a specially-created Tag and sort on its values
Tags will become a favorite feature of yours in Vico Office, so watch out for them in later episodes.
Step Four: Working with Columns
Just as users can define their own viewsets, you can also design their own data presets. We give you a great starting point with the presets, but, of course, we want you to modify them to fit the way you work. Think of data presets as Excel spreadsheets – now which columns do you want in your spreadsheet? Because Vico Office is a database, users can include every field, even newly created Tags, to give them the most comprehensive presentation of the data. This makes interacting with and editing the data very easy to do and makes for a robust construction estimate.
Step Five: Defining and Using Tags
Have you ever played the game "20 Questions" on a road trip with your family? It usually starts off with classification questions: Is this a person or animal? Animal. Living or dead? Neither. Animated or movie character? Animated. Superhero or regular? Regular. Male or female? Male. Does he live in a national park? No. Does he live in a barn? No. Does he walk on two legs or four? Two.
The classifications are the same labels we use in Tags. A tag allows you to place better qualifiers onto elements in your project. And with better qualifiers, you can produce better, more precise reports.
This video illustrates how to create your own Tags in Tag Editor. We can then arrange the column for that Tag in our layout. And can then work through our Cost Plan, or Constructability Issues, or our Schedule Tasks and further refine our work. In this example, we create a Tag for CSI Masterformat. Then we simply pre-populate the values for our picklist. Should we happen to forget a value, we can add it in on the fly as we're editing our Cost Plan.
And as we'll see in the next video, Tags play a key role in creating very granular reports.
By the way, did you make a guess? Bugs Bunny
Step Six: Creating a Categorized Cost Report
We can use Report Editor's grouping functionality to generate a report showing only the items with a CSI Mastormat Divisions tag value.
To start this section, please download the Report Template for a Categorized Cost Report. Alternately, you can download all the Vico Office training videos and report templates to use at your desk or in a conference room with your team.
We also have a section of Vico Office training videos dedicated to Report Editor. You can review those at any time.
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; we've introduced zones to our project so that we can get a location-based cost plan; and we've learned how to customize and further refine the data we're working with. So now let's advance to Level Eight 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.