The digital transformation journey has to be adopted in order for Quantity Surveyors (QS) to stay competitive. To keep themselves updated on the trends and latest technologies available in the market, the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) in collaboration with Glodon Singapore held an event entitled “BIM Sharing Session” last 13 July 2018 at Singapore Management University.
There were over 80 industry professionals who attended the event. This was made possible to increase the awareness in the QS community and fully embrace BIM in their workflow.
The quantity surveying industry has been experiencing a shift from conventional methods to the automated methods by adopting BIM applications. This session helps to assist the QS to become more engaged with the whole BIM process. The speakers presented the latest technological strategies offered by the adoption of BIM applications for the QS to overcome the deficiencies from a conventional method. The understanding and familiarity of the implications of technology will lift the perception of value provided by the QS.
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The latest knowledge and technological approaches were discussed by the featured speakers. They presented the potential of BIM to revolutionize the quantity surveying practice. The speakers lead by Mr. Lee Keng Seng - Honorary Treasurer of SISV and Director at Surbana Jurong Consultants, were Mr. Callum Agnew – BIM Committee Member of SISV and Associate Director at Turner & Townsend, Ms. Marianne Amores – Executive Manager at Building & Construction Authority (BCA), Mr. Justin Bong – Chief Technical Engineer at Glodon Singapore, and Mr. Forbes Seah – Quantity Surveyor at Straits Construction.
Mr. Lee Keng Seng made the opening remarks of the event. He informed that this BIM sharing session is a part of the few sharing session series that they will organize in the next period to further enlighten the ways of driving the adoption of BIM technology in quantity surveying. The session accentuated the capabilities of how a BIM-based estimating could transform and revolutionize the way quantity surveyors work. Due to the advancement in technology, the skills required for the quantity surveyors have now extended from just conventional 2D measurement to the ability to read 3D models.
Mr. Callum Agnew presented the current BIM initiatives in Singapore. First, was the launch of Quantity Surveying BIM Attribute Requirement (QSBAR) which provides a guide for the Design Consultants to model in BIM that complies with the Quantity Surveyor’s requirements. QSBAR is a set of documents that explains the requirements of BIM in cost management. Details of the cost breakdown structure that is required in a BIM model is required to conform to the standard method of measurement. He discussed the New Rules of Measurement (NRM1) published by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), that serves as a guide to measure and estimate the works in a construction project. He also explained the Level of Development (LOD) that defines the number of details and information for the different stages of the design in the model.
Ms. Marianne Amores shared the implementation overview of BCA’s BIM and Virtual Design & Construction (VDC), as well as the plans for Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD). The construction industry’s transformation desires to have a streamlined project delivery process, a collaborative supply chain partnerships, and build competency to raise international competitiveness. She explained that the Public Sector took the first lead towards driving the BIM adoption in the industry. In order to build up BIM collaboration capability in projects, they provided up to 70% co-funding for hardware, software, training cost, and consultancy cost. The funding support is from the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund (CPCF), to help improve the productivity and strengthen the capability of the construction industry.
She also discussed that BCA is pushing from BIM/VDC to IDD for the industry to achieve timely, cost-effective, productive and high-quality project delivery. The scope of IDD involves the digital design, digital manufacturing and fabrication, digital construction, and to digital asset delivery and management. An IDD platform provides data storage, data exchange, data processing, data mining, and analytics engine/machine learning. Recently, BCA launched IDD last Q2 2018, they kick-started demonstrating projects, developed an IDD ecosystem, solutions, and standards. BCA planned to see the outcomes by the end of 2020, wherein there will be leading firms capable of executing IDD. In relation to the QS, the value of IDD application is to have higher data reliability, more streamlined and efficient work processes, and timely and better-informed decision making.
Mr. Justin Bong presented about the digital transformation for QS through BIM technology. Digitalisation in the construction industry is still relatively low in Singapore. For the construction industry to progress in digitalisation it must have a model-based digital platform that involves data input, integration, collaboration, and application. He also emphasized that QS should embrace technological change as BIM is the key to the future of the quantity surveying profession. A recommended BIM Quantity Surveying Workflow should be: the QS should involve in BIM Execution Plan (BEP), read and check BIM models, generate quantity/cost report from the model, and then continue to use the cost model in the subsequent project stages.
He also introduced Rvt Viewer researched and developed by Glodon, a standalone application that reads and views the Revit BIM model. He also added that in the current situation most BIM model doesn’t comply with the quantity surveying requirements, for example, the structural priority/cut off that affects formwork and rebar take-off, element family categorizing, floor grouping of elements, and quantity classification. Quantity information mapping will be more accurate and faster if modelling is done in accordance with guides such as QSBAR and proper modelling standards according to QS requirements.
Applying this best practice in modelling will achieve more automated quantity take-off when it comes to calculations, deductions, and element categorization. Moreover, as a technology service provider for the industry, Glodon continuously provides the best solution for users following their requirements. These includes some automatic and intelligent software processing embedded within the applications, which enhances work efficiency and improves the quality of work produced. He also cited few of the project's cases that greatly benefitted using the Cubicost Software. For example, the EC Forestville at Woodlands (GFA: 72,240m2) was done by China Jingye Construction Pte Ltd, where an estimated time cost of 301 hours if measured manually as compared with measured with the application, which only takes up to 162 hours, resulting to almost 50% savings.
Mr. Forbes Seah was the last to share his views on the impact of BIM technology in his profession from conventional methods to using Cubicost Software for quantity take-off. He emphasized that applying BIM in quantity surveying helps to provide fast, effective and efficient quantity take-off and cost estimation. Moreover, it provides them a 3D model for visualization of the project, better collaboration amongst team members, able to generate different reports for different purposes and it allows them to track changes, record variations and perform checks. He showed a sample of their completed projects using Cubicost as well.
Hence, can clearly see as the industry is evolving into another era of technology and digitalization companies shouldn’t ignore these developments and improvements but instead should embrace it. This is because, with the advancement of digital technologies, it will fundamentally change the way business and processes are done. QS professionals should start working with tools and practices based on this technology. It has been proven that companies working BIM applications are steps ahead as they can overcome the challenges in the industry to gain the estimating advantage. Ultimately, the move towards digital transformation will be inevitable for the construction industry.
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