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. Then in Level Seven training, we learned how to customize our Vico Office workspace with views, viewsets, layouts, and column chooser. Finally, in Level Eight training we learned how to hone in on costs in our estimate with minimum and maximum values and then identify which pieces of the project are contributing the most to the budget.
In Level 9 we want to offer even more ways to slice and dice the budget information in order to present it logically to the Owner. The last thing any Owner wants is to see the estimator rifling through binders or stacks of spreadsheets in order to explain assumptions. This section offers recommendations for views, reports, and even graphical representations of the budget alongside the 3D view of the project. Both the project team and the Owner will appreciate the crisp presentation of information. Information that will help them make data-driven decisions about the project.
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 some of the features in Cost Planner and Cost Explorer, please navigate to the FAQs to learn even more. Level 9 completes our Estimator-based training section, but feel free to jump to Scheduling and/or Constructability training when you are ready. 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 9
Step One: Setting Up a Target Cost Comparison
We shown in an earlier video how to define your target costs as either a percentage of total budget or as a dollar value. Now we will introduce this data to our cost plan and compare how we are doing.
There are two ways to do this. The first method is very quick and involves adding the Target Cost column to our cost plan. We do this by selecting it from the Column Chooser. Now we have a side-by-side comparison.
The second way to do this is a Report. Download the Target Cost Comparison report template and follow along with the video. Using the parameter setting on the Report Editor, simply select the versions of the cost plan to compare. Notice the cool color coding in the Report to help the Owner pinpoint the differences.
Step Two: Using Snapshots to Compare Two Versions of the Cost Plan
A snapshot is a saved version of the estimate which usually corresponds to a particular meeting date or milestone. Users can save as many snapshots as necessary as they help provide an update to the Team about what has changed in the project since the last meeting.
The obvious advantage is that this comparison immediately calls attention to a part of the project that has changed dramatically. This means that problems can be solved faster because everyone's attention has been focused on the cost override.
Step Three: Analyze Construction Project Budget Variances
Now that we have the snapshots of our estimate from our meeting dates, we can pinpoint the places where change has occurred – either as a price difference or quantity difference. This video illustrates two ways to do this comparison: Compare and Update and the Cost and Quantity Variance Report.
Compare and Update allows you to compare the two cost plan snapshots and then isolate the differences between the two versions of the estimate. This is achieved with color coding - anything in red had changed.
The Cost and Quantity Variance Report outputs the data in a format you can easily share with project stakeholders. Download the Cost and Quantity Variance report template and follow along to set the report parameters.
Step Four: Running a Construction Project Budget Meeting
When you are preparing for a budget review meeting with the Owner and project team, there are several ways to best communicate the project data. This video highlights how to use Cost Explorer to graphically illustrate the budget alongside the dynamically integrated 3D view of the project. The Cost and Quantity Variance Report is also available to pinpoint changes.
Now you have three unique ways to communicate the estimate: the variance report, a color-coded graphical tree structure, and the 3D model.
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; we've learned how to customize and further refine the data we're working with; we've learned two options for honing in on items in our estimate; and we've prepared for our Budget Review meeting with snapshots and cost variance reports.
As an Estimator, you've seen how the project workflow changes when a BIM model is introduced. Plus you've seen the extra presentation capabilities from Cost Explorer to Reporting.
Now that you've completed this training section, please review the other materials we have for Estimators:
Webpage: The 5D Workflow
Webpage: What Is 5D BIM?
Webpage: What's the Difference between Cost Planning and Estimating?
Webinar: The 5D Virtual Construction Workflow in Vico Office
Webinar: BIM-Based Estimating Basics
Product: Vico Takeoff Manager and FAQs
Product: Vico Cost Planner and FAQs
Product: Vico Cost Explorer and FAQs
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.