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.
The interface is still the same familiar Excel-like spreadsheet, but now Level Two training introduces the concept of the "evolving estimate." The cost plan grows in specificity as more and more information is learned about the project. This specificity can also come from previously completed projects, as we will see in these lessons.
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 2
Step One: Saving and Comparing Two Versions of the Cost Plan
In Level One, we captured all the information we knew about the project without referring to a BIM model. In this session, we will save that version and date stamp it. This allows us to continue fleshing out the estimate as more information becomes available.
This video offers an introduction to the Compare and Update feature. More detailed explanations of this feature are offered in the Help File and the FAQs.
Caption: What happened to the project since the last meeting? With Compare & Update, you can quickly track changes to your project, see who has added more information, etc. These "project snapshots" allow you to track progress and keep everyone focused on the tasks at hand. You can also use Compare & Update to copy certain elements from a past project (a "reference" project) to your current project.
Step Two: Comparing the Cost Plan to a Reference Project
Now, instead of looking for the differences between the cost plan at the last meeting and the cost plan today, we'll examine how to compare your current project to a past project.
The steps are still the same. Recall that because Vico Office is a database of construction projects, you can "reference" any construction project to which you have access rights. This means you can quickly compare how one medical office building compares to another. But most importantly, since much of the cost component and assembly structures are already complete, you don't have to start from scratch with each new Vico Office project.
Step Three: Using Shared Data
If each recently-completed construction project represents your firm’s most up-to-date intellectual property, wouldn’t it make sense to harness those means and methods for the next similar project? Because Vico Office is a database of all your construction projects, you are able to do just that. This video illustrates how you can quickly pull in information from the last similar project and take advantage of the learnings on your new project. This video again highlights the Compare and Update functionality to compare your current project to a “reference project” in the Vico Office database and then decide which pieces (a cost assembly or the whole project) to copy.
Step Four: Creating a Comparison Report
Now that you have several saved versions of the cost plan, we can compare the differences between them.
As we learned in Level One Training, the Vico Office Reporting Engine is very powerful because it can draw on all the information captured in the database. This tutorial illustrates how to use a report template to create a Cost Variance Report for your project - this report compares two cost versions side-by-side.
If you are following along with your own copy of Vico Office, you'll want to download the report template for the exercise in this section.
Step Five: Using the Reference Browser
Another way to access previous project data is to select your default reference project. This is a simple set-up operation at the beginning of your project. Not only can you select the default reference project, but you can also choose its color palette so that it is easy to distinguish from your live project data.
In this video we illustrate how to define the defaul reference project in your settings panel. Then from the Cost Plan view, we access the data in the reference project from the Reference Browser menu item. There are three options for copying data: to include component and assembly; to include the formula; or to include the quantities. In this example, we are working with the option to include the formula.
Step Six: Using the Side-by-Side Reference View
Did you know that users can arrange how data is displayed back to them in Vico Office. We call this information display the "view." Some views come standard while other views can be completely customized to suit the user's preferences.
In this video tutorial, we illustrate how to use the preset Reference View to drag and drop cost component and assembly data from the default Reference Project to the current, live project. As explained in the previous video, there are options to copy and paste just the assemblies, their formula, and/or their quantities.
We will also see the dialogue box which helps the user identify which items to overwrite or skip.
Step Seven: Using Auto-Complete
Another way to access previously created content in your firm's BIM projects is to use the Auto-Complete feature in Vico Office. Just as the Google search bar recognizes the phrase you are trying to type to help you hone in on exact language, so too does this feature in Vico Office.
The process begins the same as the other videos in this section. We first need a default Reference Project from which to cull our possible codes and materials.
In the Cost Plan view, we need to select our auto-complete feature from either the Reference Project, from our Current Project, or both. Now we can type a three character start into the cell and the system will offer us all the possible ways to complete the Code numbering or the material name.
There are much more important areas to focus your estimating efforts - memorizing codes and materials is not one of them.
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; let's advance to Level Three Cost Planner Training. We will learn how to build out our estimate with construction-caliber quantities and quantities by location. 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.