Vico Office Cost Explorer FAQs
It can be difficult to communicate the cost and the cost changes to the Owner. Oftentimes, the Owner isn’t comfortable reading drawings and multi-tab spreadsheets can get daunting. Vico Office Cost Explorer is a tool that allows Estimators to transparently communicate how the estimate changes during the course of the design; and it also helps you communicate how you’re doing against a particular target that was set at the beginning of the design phase.
Vico Office Cost Explorer is construction software that visually expresses the project budget with a stoplight color code tied to the 3D model and the 5D cost plan. The application uses different colors to display whether you are over budget (red), when you are on target (green), or if you are suspiciously low (blue), or within target range (yellow).
With Cost Explorer, the Estimator can communicate project costs to the Owner and other project stakeholders. Design and material choices can be visualized in the model, but also seen in the spreadsheet cost plan view. Any cost overruns can be quickly investigated in terms that everyone on the team can follow.
An Estimator would use Vico Office Client to view and interrogate the models, as well as generate reports. Next, the Estimator would use Takeoff Manager for a complete listing of the construction-caliber quantities. These quantities then get prices associated in Cost Planner. The target cost is then entered so the Estimator can compare the various iterations of the cost plan to the budget and use Cost Explorer to help the Owner visualize the estimate and budget.
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We also offer a step-by-step guide to our 5D virtual construction workflow with video tutorials. These videos are just 2-5 minutes in length, but illustrate how to use a particular piece of functionality. You can access the video library index and view just what you need, or download the complete set of training videos.
Q: How does the Estimator show cost overruns or compare the estimate to the target cost?
A: We tried to make Vico Office as visual as possible. It takes the best from 3D BIM, i.e. communicating the design visually, but then we take it to the next level. For example, an Estimator can compare the line items of the quantity takeoff next to the 3D model and see how the model was put together. In Cost Planner, the Estimator can see the line items of the cost plan next to the 3D model and see which elements are major cost drivers. Finally, with Cost Explorer, the estimator can show the Owner a graphical representation of the budget, color-coded in stoplight fashion, next to the model. Now, when they want to explore a cost overrun, the estimator can quickly click on a red "stoplight" and see which elements from the model are contributing to that cost.
This video helps explain how the estimator can visually communicate cost changes to the Owner.
Q: How is the Owner supposed to read the Cost Explorer stoplighting?
A: Vico Office Cost Explorer helps the estimator show the Owner where budget changes have occured and how they are effecting the project. Color coded nodes correspond to model elements to quickly convey project budget information.
We recommend that the Estimator or Project Manager show the Owner a split screen that includes the budget, cost plan, and 3D model. Then by clicking on a red, blue, yellow, or green budget node, the Owner can immediately see in the model which elements are contributing to the cost. Additionally, the line items in the cost plan will also be highlighted. Hence the name "Explorer," now the Project Manager and the Owner can explore the cost structure together.
Here is a quick demonstration of this workflow.