Tips & Tricks

Put a price on your de$ign

Nolliplan has developed an exciting concept to quickly get a cost estimate of the design in the early phases that gives an indication of what the project may end up costing. To make this process possible, Nolliplan has developed templates and working methods that are innovative for the industry.

Take control

When the project is "sent on bill", it is often time-consuming to get the results in return – and more often than not you end up with a returning result of the calculation that is priced too high, which means the project must be slimmed down. Then a re-evaluation gets in process to try to reduce costs before the new proposal is "sent on bill" once more. This standardized work method is a rigid and time-consuming process. Unfortunately, it is also easy to make errors during this process - errors that can be minimized by working digitally with a digital twin of the project.

Instead of the manual process, we can re-use the 3D / BIM models and automatically reschedule building elements, to then re-price it.

It creates several opportunities for the industry to test its design in the early stages and more iteratively try out the design to then project it against a budget.

To be able to quickly test different design alternatives and see how these differ in cost gives a much faster and more efficient control over the cost of the project.

What does a house cost? You quickly get the answer with the concept "Put a price on your design"

Early stages

The concept has been developed for early stages, such as sketch, conceptual and early schematic phases of the design development, until a more accurate calculation is requested by the client. The more accurate and detailed calculations can also be developed in the concept, but then calcification expertise is required. Our model therefore quickly gives an indicative price for a design, and that is why we named it "Put a price on your design"!

The tools

To optimize the workflow, we have created a process where you first create a 3D / BIM model with any computer software. We chose ARCHICAD. The next step will be to ensure the quality of the model in Solibri. The final step for quantifying and calculating is done in Vico Office. We have developed templates and workflows for this method to make it easier for the user to get started.

Model, quantities and costs

The take-off point is that a 3D / BIM model is created at an early stage with a consistent naming (labeling) of the construction elements and objects. These quantities are then automatically added to the Vico Office software, where all objects with names (labels) are grouped. Unique quantity algorithms then create a list of quantities for the calculation.

The next step is to use recipes that include costs and time and apply them to the 3D / BIM model. The database recipes comes from ÅF / Bygganalys - which is the same register that many in the Swedish industry use. When the quantities are mapped to the calculation recipe, the project is calculated bit by bit. It is also clearly derived which objects have been calculated and not with the help of marking and filtering techniques in the Vico Office's 3D view.

What will the cost of the changes add up to? You quickly get the answer with the concept "Put a price on your design"

Changes and adjustment

When the objects are mapped to a cost, the costs will automatically be updated with the changes that takes place in the 3D / BIM model. If a wall becomes longer, shorter, higher, lower or if more doors are inserted in the wall, the geometry, and thus also the quantities, will be changed automatically. The quantities update the calculation and quickly generate a response to how the changes affect the project. If the built-in version management also is used, it is possible to compare the cost of the different design alternatives and make cost analyzes.

Digitization and automation

When the process is completely digital, it is also possible to automate quantity take-offs and calculations right from the beginning. Requirements for a smooth and continuous operation is that the project planner in future projects use the same labels for the same types of objects in 3D / BIM; then these will automatically be mapped to the calculation for the same recipes. The process provides huge time savings, time that can be added on more value-creating areas in the project than to manually calculate drawings.

VICO Office interface that shows a list with names/labels of the highlighted building elements from the 3D model in the left palette and recipes, quantities and cost in the lower right palette.

Knowledge is crucial

To understand how the process works, we have designed a new, unique training, where we teach the participants how to use the technology. It is, however, important to emphasize that it is not a training that teaches how to make advanced production calculations, just as we do not teach architecture when we give trainings in ARCHICAD. The focus is on how to use the technology in an innovative way and reuse the 3D / BIM models for quantity and calculation.

Great interest

We have a received great interest and curiosity about this concept. We believe that it depends on the simplicity but also that we have the tools and processes developed. Architectural offices are now testing the concept "Put a price on your design" to see how they can implement it in their projects - and perhaps offer it as a future service to their clients.

The work process is a natural step in digitization for the construction industry; to stop measuring on drawings and start using 3D / BIM models to bring up both time and cost to a new level in the future method. We (Nolliplan) have refined this approach since 2009.

From client to project manager

The above named concept is designed to target anyone who wants to know what a project costs in the early stages. It can be used for design development and also used for budget decisions. This means that the concept is aimed at clients, architectural offices, project developers, calculation companies, construction companies, project management companies and BIM coordinators.

This picture shows a different layout. The highlighted 3D walls can be located on the documentation in the right palette, the length, area and volume of the same walls are listed in the lower left palette and the cost difference in the lower right palette.
Author image

About Patrik Mälarholm

Patrik is a construction engineer and has been working with 3D/BIM with Archicad since 1995. Patrik is also a co-founder of Nolliplan and is now focusing on helping the construction industry to add cost and time to BIM.
  • Sweden