Every time information flows between architect, engineer, construction manager, and owner there is a drop in efficiency and a potential negative financial impact. It’s an age-old problem that AEC firm STV is tackling today with its BIM456 initiative.
STV started its BIM 456 initiative in 2012 to integrate scheduling (4D), estimating (5D), and facility management (6D) into its BIM applications and processes. In addition to improving efficiency, the initiative is aimed at bringing their clients a more holistic solution to their projects.
To support this program, STV has developed a platform of interoperable software tools (including Autodesk Revit, Sage Estimating, and Oracle’s Primavera P6) linked with custom applications to effectively move data between traditional design and construction functions with improved accuracy. “We look to minimize the use of environments that increase the risk of data corruption and the process of constant upload and download, which adds steps to the process and reduces efficiency,” says Carl “Ozzie” Mest, senior cost estimator and systems administrator at STV.
The benefits of their BIM456 efforts have been many, including:
Improved cost analysis and accuracy
The STV platform provides a virtual desktop to help the company’s 35+ estimators, from multiple offices across the country, work more efficiently. As a result, they have seen both time savings and less variance between estimates and final costs.
Schedule visualization that also reflects cost implication
Estimate information such as work breakdown structure is integrated with STV’s scheduling software to help build the master schedule. Both costs and master schedule are then linked back to the 3D model for visualizations such as demonstrating the cash flow curve of the project—information extremely useful for owners.
Easier measurement of construction productivity rates
STV is also putting iPads in the hands of project managers to measure actual quantities in place on the construction site versus planned quantities. This provides more accurate productivity rates. The information is used to track progress and develop informative earned value analysis (EVA) for work in place and effective man-hour resource analysis.
One as-built information source to better service clients
Finally, the information captured throughout the design, estimating, scheduling, and construction process is packaged in a way to work with the owner’s facility management system for future maintenance and renovation.
STV doesn’t stand still when it comes to using technology to enhance the building process. “We are always looking to improve our abilities as a market leader,” says Mest. When it comes to innovative thinking that will deliver greater value to building owners, STV is certainly a company to watch.
About the Author
Walt Davis, estimating market manager for Sage Construction and Real Estate solutions, has spent more than 25 years providing technology solutions to construction companies. He is a Colorado native and an avid hiker, biker, and golfer. You can follow Walt on Twitter @waltdavisco