Learning to use Vico Office Cost Planner is as simple as building an estimate with your current workflow. The interface is designed to replicate a standard Excel spreadsheet, so users will have a familiar environment. The code structure is the same CSI Uniformat or Masterformat that you already use. And you don't even need a model to get started.
We understand that not all projects will come with a perfectly designed means and methods model. So we designed the Vico 5D estimating solutions to bridge the gap between the 2D current practices and the 5D environment where we see construction headed. What better way to future-proof your estimating department than by having a system which works in 2D and 5D simultaneously?
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, 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 1
Step One: Adding a Cost Line Item
The building blocks of an estimate are the components and assemblies which make up the bill of materials. Although Vico Office Cost Planner is meant to be used with BIM models, you don't have to have a BIM model available to get started right away. Here we show just how easy it is to start manually entering building components.
The Plan Cost view contains an n-tiered 3D spreadsheet; a graphic scheme which emphasizes the hierarchical structure of the cost estimate. Every line item (Assembly) can be further refined with additional Components, providing flexibility, and enabling you to gradually develop your cost plan from a basic abstract level to a highly-detailed cost estimate.
Vico Office Cost Planner is designed to look and feel like an Excel spreadsheet, a familiar environment for construction estimating. The first step is to simply start typing in components - the term we use for cost line items. That's right - you don't need a BIM model to get started!
Step Two: Creating Cost Assemblies
Just as a cake is made up of flour, sugar, eggs, and water, so too is a column comprised of concrete, rebar, formwork, and finish. It follows, then, that assemblies are made up of components.
Cost Planner supports the concept of the evolving estimate: the idea that the cost plan becomes more detailed and accurate throughout the design and preconstruction phases, as a result of design and construction planning decisions that allow the cost planner to add more specific cost information to the project.
Cost Planner supports this by allowing you to add sub-Components to Components and activate these when the collection of sub-Components matches the scope of the Component. At this point, the sub-Components can be activated, which then turns the Component into an Assembly and the sub-Components into Components.
The pace at which design and construction planning decisions are made will vary per system in the building: detailed information will be available earlier for the foundation than for interior finishes.
In Cost Planner, it is possible to add more detailed information (sub-Components) to select Components in the project, and to keep other Components, for which design and planning decisions have yet to be made, at the lower Level of Detail.
Step Three: Using Shared Data
A Component is made unique in a project through its Code: every time you enter a value in the Code cell that already exists in the project, the shared information (Description and Cost per Unit) is automatically copied.
Also, when you change the Description or Cost per Unit of a Component that has multiple instances your project, it is automatically updated throughout the project.
Step Four: Marking Up Line Items
The term "Markup" is used in Cost Planner for the margin (profit, risk) that is applied to the active Components in the project. To simplify defining and maintaining markup for the cost items in your project, Cost Planner allows you to define default Markup Percentages based on Cost Types that you recognize in your projects.
Step Five: Entering Add-Ons
Add-Ons are the items in Cost Planner that let you include non-direct cost, margins and contingencies in your cost plan. Add-On Values are defined as a percentage of the total direct cost, calculated for the project using the Component and Assembly structure.
Add-Ons are presented in a separate area in the Plan Cost spreadsheet that can be activated from the Ribbon. Once active, an unlimited number of Add-On items can be added to the project, all rolling up to the Bid Price on the Project level.
This video tutorial illustrates how to add overhead and general contingency to to total price of the project.
Step Six: Creating a Cost Plan Report
Some people don't realize that Vico Office is a database containing all the information for the project on which you are working...as well as all of your company's other 5D BIM projects. Therefore, creating custom and templated reports on this data is critical for each department. In this video tutorial we show how to use a report template to build a Cost Plan Report.
If you are using your copy of Vico Office in conjunction with these training videos, you'll want to download the report template we use in this exercise.
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, let's advance to Level Two Cost Planner Training. We will learn how to build out our estimate with additional data from previous projects. 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.