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Paper w78-2010-59:
Framework Design for Bim-Based Construction Cost Estimating Software

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Zhiliang Ma, Xiude Zhang, Song Wu, Zhenhua Wei, Zhe Lou

Framework Design for Bim-Based Construction Cost Estimating Software

Abstract: Cost estimating is one of the critical activities for any construction projects. During the tendering process, preparing bids is often the most time consuming task, especially for a large complex project with relevant short tendering period. Estimating software have been developed and used to assist the estimators to undertake estimating task more efficiently. However, up to now, the estimators have to do extensive work on measurement to establish bill of quantities from drawing sheets or the electrical 2D data before cost estimating can be completed.With the development of BIM (Building Information Model), the design of buildings can be done with BIM tools and the BIM data can be obtained by the estimators. Thus some software vendors have developed BIM based applications to enable more efficient cost estimation. However, due to the localization of specifications and building standards, those applications can not be applied widely to all the countries and regions. It is the case for China, which the BIM-based applications from foreign vendors are hardly used, particularly in the cost estimating area.This paper is aimed to develop a framework for a BIM-based cost estimating application based on Chinese standards. The characteristics of the existing Chinese construction estimating software tools are presented and the requirements for next generation of construction cost estimating software are summarized based on this study. Moreover, the characteristics of the major BIM-based construction cost estimating tools from foreign vendors are reviewed and their feasibility to be used in China is also analyzed. Furthermore, the critical works to be carried out for such software development are analyzed with a particular attention being paid to sharing of the estimating data in the later stages in construction. Finally, a framework for the BIM-based cost estimating software subject to Chinese standards is established and presented, including the description for the major functions of the system. This paper provided a sound foundation for developing BIM-based cost estimating software subject to Chinese standards and it should be beneficial to other researchers who are developing BIM-based applications to meet the local requirements.

Keywords: BIM, IFC, Construction Cost Estimating, Software Framework


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