Digitization continues to transform the whole construction industry in Denmark and revolutionizes the approach to all phases of construction projects. Technologies such as Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) are now being extensively adopted by contractors, thereby minimizing the risk of errors and waste in design, supply and production. One of the frontrunners of this development is Per Aarsleff A/S.
With a direct Live-Link between the 3D building and design program Autodesk Revit and 5D calculation program Sigma Estimates, Per Aarsleff A/S has opened the possibility of further streamlining its 5D BIM/VDC tendering process. Aarsleff has used it, for example, in its project to transform the old post office in Copenhagen.
The building elements in 3D and 5D are connected in real time. Put simply, this means that when building elements such as a concrete wall, column or other elements in the 3D model are selected, the corresponding building elements in Sigma are highlighted in the 5D model.
Robust calculations in quotations
“With the help of the Sigma Live-Link to Revit we have compiled 5D calculations that are linked directly to the BIM model in real time. It has made it possible to see exactly where the costs in the calculation come from in the building. This has been a powerful tool because the specialized calculator can orient itself within the model and ensure that all quantities are listed correctly and determine whether some building parts are missing”, said Nikolaj Thomsen from Aarsleff, who is the VDC coordinator on the project.
Live-Link has also enabled Aarsleff to keep the calculations continuously updated with reliable data direct from the BIM models. This has been of great benefit, because tender processes often have short deadlines and the estimation models have to be updated frequently before the final submission.
Previously, the VDC coordinator on the project would have relied on “colored” plans to show how the calculations have been made and the quotations put together. Now, thanks to 5D, the software indicates the corresponding building objects in the 3D model as soon as you click on the linked part of the calculation in Sigma.
“Additionally, the 5D modelling has allowed us to begin working on the pricing quotation before the design is completed. As soon as our estimators started working on Revit, we could link their calculations directly so that they were based on the pricing of the building objects established in our pricing library. When the volumes in the model were changed during the design phase, they were automatically updated in our pricing calculation,” said Nikolaj Thomsen.
Get started easily with Sigma
He also points out that one of the great benefits of Sigma Live-Link is that it is still based on the classic Sigma platform that the estimators at Aarsleff were used to working with. Therefore, there has been minimal additional training associated with the implementation of the new software, and the estimators’ workflow has not changed significantly.
VDC/BIM keeps track of all information
The great challenge for contractors during the bid phase is to keep track of all relevant information, such as drawings, 3D models, quantities, descriptions and pricing etc. and being able to determine the best possible solution for the project, so that it can be won profitability, without carrying large, unforeseen financial risks.
“This is where BIM/VDC has its core strength, and why it has become indispensable due to its ability, among other things, to handle the greatly increasing complexity and amount of information now necessary in the construction industry. With BIM/VDC, a wall is no longer just a series of drawn lines, but also an integrated intelligent building component containing information about, among other things, its design, dimensions, description, pricing and instructions on how to build it,” explains Susanne Lund from Sigma Estimates.
At the same time, she points out that when the building objects contain a large amount of data, it becomes easy to calculate quantities automatically and it is possible to extract precise information providing a sound basis for pricing and bidding.
5D is the next big win with BIM
At Sigma Estimates, which recently also entered into a global agreement with Bonava, the design and housing development company, Susanne Lund sees a trend for the construction industry to secure the profitability of projects using 5D BIM/VDC whereby the gains come from saving time through digitizing the bidding process, using information containing fewer errors, and being able to swiftly adapt and incorporate changes in the plans into the pricing quotation, and automating quality assurance etc.
“In addition to the importance of securing the profitability of projects, 5D in BIM also deals with the quality assurance of the data in the model – so 5D brings advantages in data management, whereby data can be easily shared with subsequent processes, such as planning, Facilities Management etc. and we are seeing 5D gain more and more traction here” says Susanne Lund.