With the adoption of Level 3 BIM cost estimation can be adopted through 5D. This is possible by linking the 3D model to an estimation library or database. 5D Estimation helps project stakeholders understand the project better, and collaborate efficiently. This preconstruction estimation data is used by designers, engineers, and other project team members to make informed decisions in terms of project planning, cost management, purchase, quality, etc.

The benefits of 5D BIM cost estimation have been highly recognized in the AEC industry. It is undoubtedly helping project owners and stakeholders leverage faster project delivery, minimize cost,  enhance productivity, and project quality.

The integration of design and costestimation in preconstruction provides deeper analysis and project insight. The effective use and transference of data across the various project lifecycle creates a robust platform to avoid project rework, data loss, etc.

It also helps project stakeholders build better bidding proposals, efficiently handle project execution, and ensure positive project delivery.

Robust estimating software can augment the complete process through data transparency, mitigate errors & risks, etc. All this and more to ensure owners and project stakeholders can leverage better ROI.

Advantages of a fully connected BIM workflow based on 5D cost estimation

  • Helps estimators work more efficiently
  • Leverage unprecedented levels of information to enhance collaboration
  • Enhance overall project performance through design & construction linking
  • Better project visualization based on accurate estimation
  • Augment quantification of modeled materials
  • Find optimal accuracy and solution in calculating costs and planning
  • The highly visual process makes it easier for estimators to understand new processes and technology
  • Generate greater cost estimates at quick rates
  • Create & deliver precise data for planning and field implementation

Along these lines, accurate estimation through high-end software helps create seamless workflows across all the project lifecycles.

How does 5D Cost Estimation Help?

  • Build automated estimations based on access from 3D models – accuracy eliminates errors and rework
  • Increase in overall accuracy based on automated data processing
  • Leverage historical cost data based on accurate takeoffs
  • Connect data across various systems for project planning, cost management, etc.
  • Cost management tools can be used to verify 5D estimation data based on comparisons between budgeted data and the actual amount
  • Gain greater insight into the project through accurate 5D cost estimation
  • On-site personnel can leverage building strategies and gain insights through real-time information on materials, costs, etc.

Understanding Design and Construction as an Integrated System

  • It is important to identify a very strong relationship between design & construction, it can be best viewed as an integrated system
  • That said, the design creates a highly detailed description of a building, facility, infrastructure, etc based on models, plans, etc.
  • Whereas, construction planning involves the identification of activities and resources to make these projects a reality

 Various characteristics need to be considered based on design and construction

  • Every building, infrastructure, or facility is unique and requires custom designing
  • Every project takes a specific time to complete
  • Design & construction for a specific project need to satisfy certain conditions
  • The service life or sustainability of a building, infrastructure, or facility is long
  • Project complexities can cause changes in designs during the construction phase

The integration of 5D cost-estimation at the design and construction phase creates a robust design and construction workflow and mitigates most of the challenges based on rework, budget and time overruns, etc.

The Cost –Estimation workflow

  • Prepare a plan to begin the estimation
  • Create an estimate
  • Manage your estimates
  • Enhance the estimation technique

Prepare a plan to begin the estimation –

  • The primary objective of the project team would be setting a definition through a broad vision
  • Identify resources to begin the estimation
  • Identify any kind of constraint
  • Build a project charter or initiation document
  • Identify people for budget management & approval

Prepare an estimate –

  • Use various cost estimation techniques to create and maintain a budget
  • Leverage policies, market conditions, templates, etc., to build an estimate
  • Build estimates based on parametric and analogous estimation
  • Use WBS or Work Breakdown Structure using the scope and duration
  • Cost baselines are the approved time-phased budget and will be leveraged by the project manager to manage the complete estimation process

Manage your estimate –

  • The Project Manager is responsible to oversee various phases of the cost estimation process
  • Specific cost estimates can be factored in the project execution phase based on specific costs from vendors, required resources, etc.
  • This helps project managers convey transparent information and manage better stakeholder communication

Enhance the estimation technique

  • The project manager is responsible for managing and improving project cost estimates based on specific KPI’s
  • These KPI’s can be listed as project objectives, effort, cost analysis or tracking, and project performance
  • Project Managers can use EVM to perform Earned Value Analysis that can compare the earned value, planned value, and actual costs
  • Change requests can be managed and the necessary project documents need to be updated based on the change requests

Various Cost Estimation Techniques

5D Cost Estimation can be achieved through various techniques viz.

Analogous Estimation – use historical data to determine project costs in the early stages of the project

Statistical Estimation – determine estimation based on parametric calculations

Bottom-Up Estimation – determine estimation based on individual work or tasks

Three-Point Estimation – determine estimation based on 3 techniques viz.optimistic, most likely, and pessimistic

Cost of Quality – determine estimation based on expenses during the project to prevent failures and expenses done after the project to focus on failures

Reserve Analysis– determine estimation based on reserves that need to be kept aside or allocated


Using 5D cost estimation across the entire project lifecycle, estimators or estimation companies can save on valuable time and cost. The BIM 5D estimation advantage lets stakeholders view the model along with the necessary schedules. This ensures all the teams get a clear grasp of how changes can affect the cost cycle and vice-versa based on invaluable information. BIM estimation from design to construction always works towards owner and stakeholder advantage.

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By bimengus

BIM Engineering US is a leading Building Information Technology solution service provider offering end to end solutions in Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection systems engineering, design and construction.