Budgeting with Macro BIM


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http://www.beck-technology.com - Taking Budgeting to a New Level with Macro BIM in Design Cost Data magazine, July/Aug 2011. In this article, we look at two cases using “macro” BIM software tools to make development go/no go decisions and keep a
target value design on track. Macro BIM is a building information model, made of higher level building elements. It’s used for macrovlevel analysis including visualization, spatial validation, cost modeling/estimating, phasing/sequencing, energy performance, and risk analysis. Macro models are meant to be built quickly, to rapidly analyze
multiple concepts before using a more detailed “micro” BIM tool. Macro BIM authoring tools use parametric variables and inferencing capabilities to quickly build enough relevant data for analysis.

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Budgeting with Macro BIM

  1. 1. DCDDesign Cost Data™ July-August 2011 $17.00 The #1 Industry Source for Actual Square Foot Cost DataTenant Build-Outs Going StrongTaking Budgeting to a New Level with BIMDCD Industrial Building Cost Analysis InCapital Holdings, LLC Boca Raton, Florida Architect: Gallo Herbert Lebolo
  2. 2. Taking Budgeting to aNew Level with BIMBy Lori Nash ByronB IM (building information modeling) is moving from buzzword to business tool. While not all construction firms routinely use BIM software, many of the early adopters are finding newuses and technologies to solve problems and add value. In this article, we’ll look at two cases using “macro” BIM soft-ware tools to make development go/no go decisions and keep atarget value design on track. Macro BIM is a building informationmodel, made of higher level building elements. It’s used for macrolevel analysis including visualization, spatial validation, cost model-ing/estimating, phasing/sequencing, energy performance, and riskanalysis. Macro models are meant to be built quickly, to rapidly ana-lyze multiple concepts before using a more detailed “micro” BIM tool.Macro BIM authoring tools use parametric variables and inferencing 3D model of site master plan created by DProfiler, a macro BIM soft-capabilities to quickly build enough relevant data for analysis. ware. Building locations, elevations, orientations and more can be Data Rich Site Master Planning changed to evaluate the site and cost impacts. Post real estate market crash, savvy owners and construc- of the site to the south. With only the developer’s napkin sketch,tion firms have leveraged macro BIM technology to improve their Myers had to house more than a dozen buildings – retail, office,ability to evaluate how a particular site matches the intended use residential, parking structures – on the site. He also had to marrybefore the land is purchased. Accurate estimates from general the site’s proposed network of roads and pathways to the existingcontractors can help an owner to determine whether a project is transportation network surrounding the site.viable, at the earliest stage. Using macro BIM applications, owners Myers first imported the proposed site’s topography fromand developers can quickly evaluate the feasibility and costs of Google Earth™ into his macro BIM application, set elevations forbuilding the project on a particular site. There’s also the benefit of buildings and parking structures and modeled all the structures forseeing it and better understanding the assumptions the estimate the virtual site plan. He used the software to estimate the cost ofis based on. the buildings and the site, computing the grade, cut and fill costs The director of preconstruction for a major real estate devel- and produced a color-coded image illustrating the cut and fill areasopment company, known for a signature product, says that in his visually. Nearly 600,000 cubic yards of dirt had to be redistributedbusiness, the site is critical. “Typically the designers can play around to balance the site.with the buildings, elevations and finishes on a project to meet the Next, Myers explored site planning alternatives, creating virtualbudget, but the site – we can’t control that. It has to be engineered. scenarios based on building and site item location and orientation,The sooner we know what the issues are, the better.” as well as changes to the building pad and site item elevations. Garry Myers is a Senior Construction Estimator for Clark Con- He advised the owner’s representative on the site’s issues andstruction Company, an ENR Top 400 contractor, headquartered in related costs for each scenario.Lansing, Michigan. He has 30 years of estimating experience, and The outcome? The significant challenges associated with thisspent much of the last ten creating conceptual master planning site have the developer leaning toward a “no go” decision. Theestimates for major development projects. Myers describes how developer credits the 3D conceptual cost models with giving himhe uses DProfiler, a macro BIM application from Beck Technology, the facts to make a fiscally smart decision, quickly. He is alsofor preliminary cost estimating of site master plans. “I use DProfiler making plans to bring the technology in house to improve theirto determine a project’s costs while there’s little information, to help internal analytics.the owner make fundamental decisions,” says Myers. “I create Fast and Accurate Cost Estimateshigh level conceptual models and then experiment with different Keep Target Value Design Projects on Trackconfigurations for the buildings within the site to see what the cost Target value design (TVD) is a lean construction practice thatramifications will be.” incorporates targets such as cost and LEED goals, as factors in In early 2010, Myers began work on a proposed $100 million design upfront to minimize waste and create value. For example,site development project, creating a conceptual master plan with rather than designing a project and then determining the cost todetailed costs that the developer would use to determine whether build it, TVD methodology establishes a price first, and only thento move forward with the project. determines what can be designed to fit that price. This cost/de- The proposed site was attractive from a market perspective, sign tension requires that designers, constructors and ownersbut posed serious engineering challenges. The 50 acre infill par- collaborate to evaluate a projects priorities, design features andcel had dramatic 30-foot elevation changes from the north end costs continuously, not just at milestones.14 Design Cost Data /July-August 2011
  3. 3. TVD requires that the design be based on adetailed estimate. Teams composed of architects,engineers, and contractors design and construct toa specific target cost, which can never be exceeded.The target costs are established for the differentareas of a project, including the site improvements,building envelope, interior/finishes, vertical transpor-tation, material handling, structure, and mechanical,electrical, and plumbing. The targets are adjustedup and down across the different areas to maintainthe overall project target cost. Model-Based Estimating Makes TVD Work To design to a detailed estimate, teams must havea mechanism to quickly evaluate alternate designconcepts and their costs. Major projects could requirenew detailed estimates weekly to keep the project on Macro BIM software combines real-time cost estimating with 3D visual images of thetarget to meet its budget. Macro BIM software solves buildings or site.one of target value design’s biggest challenges, the Hill.”And seeing the model helps us all to avoid errors that canneed to generate fast and accurate detailed estimates for evolving creep into projects because of misunderstandings.”designs throughout the life of the project. As BIM technology continues to mature, construction profession- Andy Hill, preconstruction manager for the Phoenix office of DPR als are using it to improve the existing delivery processes. The real-Construction, is using macro BIM software for rapid cost feedback time connection between design, cost, and schedule using macroon a target value design project, a new university building. He says BIM is taking decision making and budgeting to a new level.that being able to express the design concepts through a lightweight About the author: Lori Nash Byron is a freelance writer and3D model helps the team to communicate the concepts, track the owner of Practical Magic Marketing.budget, the changes and the issues clearly and quickly. Lori has 20 years experience in the marketing field work- “During our project team meetings, I can make some changes ing in the AEC, technology and financial services sector. Visitin the model on the fly, and then we can all see it and review the www.PracticalMagicMarketing.com or email Lori at lori@practi-cost ramifications. It keeps us clear and on track,” comments calmagicmarketing.com. Circle #109 On Reader Service CardDesign Cost Data /July-August 2011 15