Wu, Song, Ginige, K, Wood, G and Jong, SW (2014) How Can BIM support the New Rules of Measurement (NRM1)? Research Report. RICS, London, UK.

The emergence of BIM has remarkably changed the way the construction industry operates. BIM through its extensive digital capability of virtually representing physical and functional characteristics of a built facility creates a shared source of information among the construction project team thereby forming a reliable platform for the decision making process to take place throughout the whole life cycle of the facility. It has shifted the industry from traditional paper based information management processes which are typically tend to be cost ineffective, tiresome, error-ridden and time consuming, to automated processes facilitated by sophisticated technology that bring a number of advantages in terms of time, cost, and quality.
BIM’s capability of automating measurements through extracting quantities directly from digital building models is its key benefit towards quantity surveyors as it clearly accelerates the traditional estimating process. BIM based estimating can be executed in three ways, namely, by exporting the measurements to spreadsheets, by directly linking modelling tools with estimating plug-ins, and using specialised BIM estimating tools. However, quantity surveyors in the UK construction industry are yet to integrate the comprehensive use of BIM into their practices. The key reason for the limited usage of BIM in quantity surveying practice is the unavailability of BIM based cost estimating or take- off software tools that fully adopt the UK practices and standards of measurement.
Attempting to bridge the gap of a BIM based estimating or take-off tool that adhere to the UK standards and practices of measurement, this research investigates the required information from a BIM model to support the estimating process according to the RICS standard of NRM1 order of cost estimating and elemental cost planning, and reviews the technical requirement for BIM based software tools to support NRM1. A comprehensive literature review, a series of in-depth interviews with BIM experts, and a workshop with a group of quantity surveyors, on BIM in general; application of BIM in quantity surveying functions, estimating and cost planning in particular; standards for cost estimating and cost planning laid the foundation of this research. The information requirement outlined in this report provides overall guidance for the quantity surveyors on the types of measurements a BIM model can generate, and the ways of utilising the quantity information in a BIM model in cost estimating and planning. The review of technical requirements enables the quantity surveyors to select the most appropriate BIM based cost estimating tool for a specific scenario from a number of those available. The research reviews the four most well known tools in the UK market, namely, Solibri model checker, Autodesk QTO, CostX and Causeway BIMmeasure based on a set of criteria which is relevant to the NRM1 cost estimating and cost planning exercise.
The study reveals it is essential for the project team to agree on a set of requirements which is defined from the viewpoint of cost estimating and planning to enable the quantity surveyor to use BIM more effectively. Having formed the basis of such information requirements it suggests that the efficiency and accuracy of cost estimating and planning processes can be significantly improved by supporting BIM models with NRM 1 requirements.

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