Another way Q&D provides the best value for your project is through working with a copy of the designer’s “three-dimensional” model of your project to expedite preconstruction services and reduce costs in the field.
Today’s designers and engineers use Building Information Modeling tools (BIM) to produce construction drawings, producing a hyper-accurate, digital representation of the project’s detailed geometry and specific tolerances, rendered in three dimensions. Each element drawn in a BIM model is enhanced not only with additional dimensional and special information, but with specific details about its material, manufacture and finish. A very simple example is a door frame, which is drawn in 3 dimensions, will be tagged information about the hardware set, wall thickness, the door’s swing and paint color.
By contrast, two-dimensional drawings not only do not include this additional data, but information about the elevation or height of each element must be separately assigned, cataloged and specified, a time-consuming process which increases the potential for errors in the design, estimating and construction phases.
There is a good chance that your architect or engineer is working with a multi-dimensional design software to produce the plans for your project. Q&D will use that model to more quickly gather data for estimating and as a critical tool for enhanced coordination between building trades during preconstruction.
BIM as an Estimating Tool
In our estimating process, we use extraction techniques to perform virtual quantity surveys and respond quickly to provide estimates at milestones and to evaluate alternative costs strategies at any point during the preconstruction phase. For projects that do not use BIM, we work from two-dimensional construction plans by scanning them into our electronic estimating software to assign information to the plans and calculate quantities and costs.
BIM as a Virtual Coordination Tool
Using BIM as a resource for field coordination during preconstruction, teams can evaluate the potential for “clashes.” A “clash” is the designation used to identify two or more construction elements that are planned to occupy the same space. For example, an I-beam, designed to support a structure and shown at 17’-6” from the floor on the structural engineer’s drawings may be shown in conflict with a run of 14” sheetmetal exhaust ducting that is shown at a similar elevation on the mechanical engineer’s drawings. By running what we call “clash detection,” a process of virtually surveying the BIM model to coordinate as a team around clashes, we can avoid them in the field where they will cost money and affect the schedule.
In the virtual coordination process, in which we use software tools to extract information, share reports, and meet regularly to review and assign actions, Q&D also incorporates subcontractor production drawings and vendor manufacturing drawings to further enhance the potential for investigating and mitigating field issues. This process saves our clients money – imagine having to pull and replace that ductwork mentioned above to avoid the beam – by reducing or eliminating coordination issues before construction starts. .