The answer for a contractor may lie in identifying a ‘best practice with BIM’ procedure for all of your business processes, whether from tendering for a new project to handling an RFI. Yet once you have undertaken the research and invested the efforts required to arrive at the answers, how can you be sure that your people embrace these procedures into their everyday project working environment?
Construction executive need to see an accurate comparison of Actual Cost verses Estimated Cost in real time – the critical information needed for management action to control cost. This is the cost control that can provide the increased margin that makes the difference between market leadership and falling behind.
Contractors require will always require an estimating tool on a project, but it also provides an industry leading and fully integrated BIM Planning or Scheduling tool that produces a “living real-time estimate” that can be remodeled after tender award. It is important to allow for allow for resource leveling and accurate cash flow projections, and an accurate benchmark for all post tender activities. The estimating software should also provide the detailed breakdown of costs within the BIM model and for what should happen on a contract.
Because information is often a construction company’s most sensitive IP, this information should be stored in a secure cloud database that is inaccessible across the web to outside parties. This is also referred to as the Common Data Environment(CDE).
A contractors accounting solution should ideally be a live system that manages procurement, payroll and accounts online. It should also be built for the unique requirements of construction industry alone, and must allow for the tracking all contributors to cost by contract, all in real time for insuring that all information is seen in real time. Actual costs on a project need to be managed by Activity and Cost Code simultaneously for an ideal environment for a contractor on a BIM project. This will also allow precise comparisons from either an accounting or project management point of view. Budgets and resource lists can be directly drawn from the estimating software. Procurement workflows also need to be setup to insure tight control of quantities and extracted from the BIM model, and appropriate referral for approvals.
It is also fundamental to setup a Delivery and Time & Attendance reporting system that reports directly from site, similar to Site Requisitions to minimize rouge purchases.
Plant, Stock and Small tools should also be managed and integrated with Fixed Assets and Work in Progress. Real-time costing reports need to be setup and seamlessly integrated with the BIM (Building Assembly Modelling) model to ensure reports are available in real time in any location with access to the internet or mobile device.
The 3D Model must provide a clear picture of the cost expected at any given point in time, and reporting actual cost by Activity, as well as by Cost Code, at that same point in time, the construction executive has unparalleled control over his projects and his business.