Managing Data Exchange
Building Information Modelling offers the capability to develop project cost information with more
accuracy throughout the entire building lifecycle. The key to successful use of BIM‐based costing will be the development of processes and methods within organizations. The level of detail required in a building model will vary depending on project phases, from preliminary (macro) costing models to very detailed models required for micro costing activities during the construction phase
Data exchange between BIM and costing applications can be accomplished in several ways – APIs, ODBC and IFCs among them. The manner chosen will depend on the software application features available. Professionals using BIM costing applications will need to select a method depending on project phase and the detail required, and develop in‐house standards and procedures for aligning their models with the estimating processes.
Industry standards for data exchange – IFCs(Industry Foundation Class) in particular and frameworks for information classification (e.g. OmniClass, UniFormat) are integral to industry interoperability. As many standards are still developing, so are BIM applications. Cost Managers using BIM will have to adopt strategies to integrate and change as these technologies mature.
BIM offers the promise of a central detailed database for a range of project applications, and its visual capabilities for all of them should be a notable advantage when considering how professionals can change and manage building information throughout a project. As new technology, BIM assisted cost estimating will not obsolete estimators; rather, it promises to free them to focus on higher value task than counting or quantifying and rather returning increased value to project processes and be seen prefrably as a Cost Manager or Cost Engineer.