5D BIM bringing the benefits of BIM to Cost Managers | Blogs | nCircle Tech
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Construction cost estimation is yet another aspect of the planning and building process that can benefit from a computable building information model (BIM). Architects, quantity surveyors, builders, cost estimators, and even clients can significantly benefit from the opportunity to leverage all the information being accumulated in their projects for much better cost estimations and control.

In this article, we will deep dive into the benefits of 5D BIM for efficient and accurate cost estimates. Before moving any further, let us first understand the following:

What is 5D BIM?

At the heart of 5D is everything related to a project’s costs. One way of thinking about 5D BIM is that it is the cost dimension added to a BIM model.

The Other D’s of BIM

Just to recap, BIM dimensions refer to the different levels of data and information linked to a 3D model with the help of a robust BIM software. 
According to the fundamentals of BIM, there are as many as 5 recognized dimensions.

  • 3D is for the three-dimensional rendering of a model
  • 4D is for time information and project duration analysis
  • 5D, as mentioned above, is for cost estimations
  • 6D deals with sustainability assessment
  • 7D deals with life cycle and maintenance

For BIM technology to be truly effective and deliver value in the construction of better buildings, all the D’s need to be adopted.

In this article, we are going to focus solely on the 5th dimension of the BIM model moving forward.

Please note that BIM dimensionality is different from BIM maturity levels.

BIM maturity levels describe the degree of maturity of BIM usage in construction projects. 

  • Level 0 – Low collaboration
  • Level 1 – Partial collaboration
  • Level 2 – Full collaboration
  • Level 3 – Full integration

BIM dimensions describe the type of data that can be made available through a process and can be found in both levels 2 and 3.

5D BIM Benefits: How it is transformational for cost estimations and more?


  1. Cost Estimations Get Much Smarter
    Without a doubt, this is one of the most important and visible advantages of 5D BIM. By knowing the exact quantity of materials and their costs through the information added to the model, cost calculations become much simpler.

  2. Increased Accuracy and Efficiency
    5D BIM reduces the time-consuming manual efforts involved in quantifying resources and calculating costs significantly (a few minutes vs few days) while also reducing errors.

  3. Positive ROI
    A McKinsey study states that 75 percent of companies who have adopted 5D BIM technology have reported positive business impact.

  4. Quickly Adapts to Design Changes
    Any modification in a building component can automatically trigger a cost reevaluation and hence keeping all information consistent with the design.

  5. Evaluate Multiple Design Options
    5D BIM use makes it much easier for architects to choose from multiple design options.

  6. Shorter Project Cycles
    Savings in time in so many manual tasks positively impact the project timeline.

  7. Geotagging:
    Geotagging on a map embedded in the BIM software allows companies to identify the location of material vendors and the types of material they provide. It helps manufacturers reduce delivery time and logistics cost.

How do automatic quantity takeoff features reduce the task of calculating the geometry manually?

Quantity takeoff (QTO) is the thorough and accurate measurement of the number of materials involved in a construction project. 

Whilst Automatic Quantity takeoff is the process of measuring the quantities of materials & labors required, with the help of drawings and specifications. These drawings are prepared accurately in the proportion with the help of engineers and architects. The Geometry calculated manually is very much similar to that acquired automatically. The accuracy of the measurement is due to the accuracy of the geo-tagging add-on. The Geo-tagging helps to measure the actual area on the digital system. Without geo-tagging feature, automatic QTO would not have been any closer to a reliable method. 

The automatic quantity takeoff thus helps save money, time, resources and energy, spent on labors for measurement. Moreover, manual mistakes are flawlessly overcome in automatic quantity takeoff. The time saved for calculating and estimating is tremendously and efficiently saved.

What does 5D BIM mean for cost managers?

While some cost managers may be apprehensive that 5D BIM technology can automate a lot of their tasks, it should be treated as something positive for their work.

  • It adds much more flexibility and speeds up their decision-making process
  • It provides greater control on a project’s budget
  • Cost managers will always be needed to validate the estimations as they are only as good as the quality of cost-related information added

Wrapping Up!

5D BIM, thus, can have a powerful impact on the overall construction project when it comes to cost estimations and related decisions. If you are still waiting to start leveraging the potential of 5D BIM for better cost planning and estimations, now is the time. It is the need of the hour for construction companies!

We at nCircle Tech build customizations, automation, extensions and plugins to do more with CAD, BIM, PLM, and VDC software. Let us know if you need help with adopting 5D BIM for better cost estimations in your project!

Author: Mayur Undale

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nCircle Tech (inCorporated in 2012) empowers passionate innovators to create impactful 3D visualization software for desktop, mobile and cloud. Our domain expertise in CAD-BIM customization driving automation with the ability to integrate advanced technologies like AI/ML and VR/AR; empowers our clients to reduce time to market and meet business goals. nCircle has a proven track record of technology consulting and advisory services for the AEC and Manufacturing industry across the globe. Our team of dedicated engineers, partner ecosystem and industry veterans are on a mission to redefine how you design and visualize. Over the last 7+ years, the organisation has worked on more than 150 large and complex projects for 50+ customers across 15+ countries.



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