BIM, Value Management, Life-cycle Cost Management

Source:  International Journal of Facility Management, Vol 4, No 1 (2013), via http://www.4Clickscom – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, SATOC, MATOC, MACC POCA, BOA, BOA… including exclusively enhanced 400,000+ RSMeans line item cost database, contract/project/document management, and visual estimating/QTO.

BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.  Unfortunately, too much emphasis has been placed upon 3-D visualization and other technology components vs. the process of life-cycle management.

Facility / Infrastructure Life Cycle Cost:   Costs associated with designing, acquiring, constructing, adapting, maintaining, repairing, and operating a built structure.

While Value Management is used as term in this paper, it is arguably interchangeable with Capital Planning and Management (CPMS).  The latter is a process involving the construction and management of physical and functional conditions of a built structure over time.

 

A CRITICAL REVIEW OF VALUE MANAGEMENT AND WHOLE LIFE COSTING ON CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS

Abdul Lateef A, Olanrewaju
Department of Civil Engineering, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS,
Bandar Seri Iskandar 31750 Tronoh, Perak Darul Ridzuan

Correspondence: abdullateef.olanrewaju@ymail.com

ABSTRACT

It is the aim of this paper, to present the complexity of the body of knowledge capturing the range of conflicting assumptions and understanding on the theories and practices of value management (VM) and life cycle-cost (LCC). Life cycle cost in facility construction projects is a management tool that is used to analyze the cost of constructed facilities in terms of cost of acquiring the facility and as well as maintaining and operating the facility. It makes a lot of sense to consider the capital costs of projects with their associated operation and maintenance costs. This is so that the project that is procured would economically viable through its entire life span. The recent increase in demand for sustainable or green buildings is further making the consideration of life cycle cost an issue.

However, life cycle of the project alone is not sufficient as source of creating value to the clients and end users. Consequently, the need for value management emerges. Based on extensive literature review this paper has shown that the life cycle costing techniques is a tool in the value management methodology an basic finding from the connection is that both VM and LCC can be embedded into the wider context of FM.

Keywords: life cycle cost; value management; reflexivity in research, facility management, best value; construction projects

I. INTRODUCTION

In this paper, our aim is to represent the complexity of the body of literature capturing the range of conflicting assumptions and understandings about the theories and practice of VM and LCC. Before proceeding however, it is important to acknowledge what although we attempt to offer a balanced portrait of opposing views, our opinions and biases will come through whether we want them to or not. Although we are more comfortable with usual impersonal academic writing style, we believe it will help readers to differentiate what we believe from what other believe if we are honest and explicit about where we stand on some of these issues under investigations. We do this here and again wherever we view it is necessary. This kind of discussion of the preference and opinions of an author is reflexivity paradigm, and it is particularly important in value management issues, in which so many divergent assumptions are often left unsaid or asserted as truth. While some could argue that some issues are better left unsaid, it is not at any one interest to continue to pretend as everything is right and thus failed to present our side of the case. At least, this could serve as impetus to some writers and commentators.

Published literature revealed a wide range of opinion which tends to polarize either towards life cycle costing or value management. In other words, there are misconceptions and misunderstandings as to which of the two techniques is more involving, proactive and can ultimately create and sustain best value for construction projects. However, the purpose of life cycle costing is to maximize the total cost of ownership of the projects over the project’s life span (Morton and Jaggar, 1995 and Arditi and Messiha, 1996). It is also defined as the total cash flow of the project from the conceptual stage to the disposal stage (Bennett, 2003). Life cycle analysis takes into account the capital costs of the project as well as costs of operation and maintenance. The fundamental issue in the LCC is the determination of the operation and maintenance costs of all possible alternatives which are then discounted to present worth of money (Pasquire and Swaffield, 2006) for analysis.

However, while selecting alternative proposals or elements, the criteria of selections are more than just the issues of total costs. Many criteria, in addition to the cost criterion must be analyzed and adequately considered if maximum value is to be delivered to the client (Ahuja and Walsh, 1983). VM takes into accounts all the criteria that the client / user desire in their project. Value management involves the identification of the required functions and the selection of alternative that maximize the achievement of the functions and performance at the lowest possible total cost (Best and De-Valennce, 2003). The value management approach reduces the risk of project failure, lower cost, shorten projects schedules, improve quality, functions, performance and ensure high reliability and safety. While, life cycle costing is useful when a “project” has been “selected or defined”, value management is introduced much earlier. Value management is introduced when a decision has not been made yet either to build or not. At this stage, the “project” is still soft; the client’s solution to the client’s problem might not even be constructed facilities. For instance, if a client wants higher return for investment, value management is introduced to determine the kind of project that will provide to the client the expected return on investment (Kelly and Male, 2001). Perhaps the project in this case may be for the client to invest in agricultural activities. So from the beginning, the clients and other stakeholders are explicitly aware of the kind of project in which to invest.

This paper used literature review to achieve its aim. The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. It commences in II “epistemology of reflexivity, in this section, overview of reflexivity are presented. This section is preceded with the section on the “introduction”. Section III; dwell on the “principle of life cycle costing”. The section III reviews literature on the technique of life cycle costing. The purposes and methodology of the technique were provided and discussed. In section IV, the principle and methodology of value management were discussed. In this section, explicit references on the two important phases in the value management methodology where life cycle analysis is mainly used were outlined. Analytical comparisons of the two techniques are then presented in section V as discussion. However, before detail information on comparing the two techniques is provided, linkages between facilities management, value management and life cycle cost are provided. A basic finding from the connection is that both VM and LCC can be embedded into the wider context of FM. The paper is concluded in section VI by bringing together major themes of the paper in: “conclusion and observations”.

II. EPISTEMOLOGY OF REFLEXIVITY IN RESEARCH

Research could involve quantitative or qualitative data or both. The degree of influence the researcher has on a research depends on the type of data being collected. For instance data collected through interviews are more prone to bias as compared to survey questionnaire instrumentation. Being reflexive involves being conscious on how the researcher’s personal values, opinions, views, actions will not creep into the data collection, analysis, results and interpretations. For instance, bias could also creep into research because of how the researchers analyze and interpret previous related works-i.e. through literature review. However, bias could creep into research knowingly or unknowingly. According to Dainty, there is a “traditional of reflexivity in qualitative enquiry where researcher openly questioned the effectiveness of their research methods on the robustness of their results and debate the influence and effect that their enquiry has had on the phenomena that they have sought to observe” (Dainty, 2008). Cohen, et al., (2006) also outlined that reflection occur at every stage of action research. In that regards, in actual practice, biasness is difficult to eliminate in all type of research. However, being aware of it and the ability to control or minimize it is the most important element in research. In order to minimize biases, researchers should apply to themselves the same decisive criteria they set for other people works to pass through (Cohen, et al., 2006). However, we are consciously aware of the effects of the reflexivity on this study. In other words, we recognized the influence our sentiment, perceptions, values, feelings, thoughts and understandings may have on this study. For these reasons, we have made all possible efforts to be on the fence– yet to be decisive and analytical. In other words, as far as this issue is concerned, we have not taken a neutral position but a middle course position.

III. LIFE CYCLE COST TECHNIQUE IN CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

While information on the exact time, on the origin of LCC and the time it was first applied to the construction projects is not available, but it can be safely concluded that it preceded the VM techniques. Life cycle costing is also being referred to as whole life cost or cost-in-use. However, life cycle cost is preferred here as it is the most familiar time term even among the practitioners. Regardless of the nomenclature, the main purpose is to consider future costs in the determination of true cost of projects. In other words, LCC is a technique that is used to relate the initial cost with future based costs like running, operation, maintenance, replacement, alteration costs (Ahuja and Walsh, 1983; Morton and Jaggar, 1995; Bennett, 2003 and Kiyoyuki, et al., 2005). Elsewhere, it is defined as the total cost of project measured over a period of financial interest of the clients (Flanagan and Jewell, 2005). LCC enables a practical economic comparison of the alternatives, in terms of both the present and future costs. This is to allow in the final evaluation, to find out how much additional capital expenditure is warranted today in order to achieve future benefit over the entire life of the project. It is therefore the relationship of initial cost and other future based cost. Certainly, there is a need to relate capital cost with operation and maintenance costs in order to procure buildings that present value for money invested to the clients. This requirement is becoming more of a necessity with the increase in drive and subsequent demand for sustainable or green buildings. Since the 1960s, studies have shown there are the needs to balance capital costs against the subsequent maintenance costs of the buildings (Seeley, 1996).

Decision regarding the life cost of a project has to be ascertained right from the project’s conceptual stage as to whether to reduce the initial cost at the detriment of the maintenance and running costs. This depends on the client’s value system on the projects; however, effective balance must be strike to ensure meaningful selection. In addition to the initial construction costs which are foreseeable cost, other unforeseeable cost that should be considered are the operation cost, cost of energy usage, maintenance cost, disposal cost / salvage cost. Today clients are wiser, as they seem to prefer investing little more today for tomorrow savings. Clients are becoming knowledgeable about construction projects, as to what the future might likely portray regarding collateral costs. Issues of LCC are more important to the owner-occupier than to the developer who only builds to let or sell the construction projects on completion or over a certain period of time. In this case, end-users are left to bear the maintenance costs. The modern procurement system (i.e. design, building and operate) is possibly a good channel to consider building life cycle. In fact, the LCC is a tool that is often used by the management team to procure value for money invested

IV. VALUE MANAGEMENT IN CONSTRUCTION PROJECT

Various terms – value engineering, value control, value analysis and value engineering- have been used to describe the principle of value engineering. However, in this paper all the terms are synonymous. The most common are value management and value engineering, though. The two terms are used interchangeably in this paper. VM was developed due to shortage of materials and components that faced the manufacturing industry in the North America during the WW11. VM is both problem solving and problem seeking processes. As a problem seeking system, it identified problems that might arise in future and develop or identified solution to the problem. Value management is a proactive, problems solving management system that maximizes the functional value of a project by managing its development from concept stage to operation stage of a projects through multidisciplinary value team (Kelly and Male, 2001). It make client value system explicitly clear at the project’s conceptual stage. It seeks to obtain the best functional balance between cost, quality, reliability, safety and aesthetic. The approach could be introduced at any stage in the projects’ life cycle, but it is more beneficial if it is introduced from the pre-construction phase of the projects; before any design is committed (Ahuja and Walsh, 1983).

The tools and techniques of VM push stakeholders to provide answers to questions that might not ordinarily be considered if other approaches were used (Olanrewaju and Khairuddin, 2006). Value engineering identifies items of unnecessary costs in a project and develops alternative ways of achieving the same functions at the lowest possible cost, without impairing on the quality, aesthetic, image, safety and functional performances of the building and at the same time improves the project schedules. VM programs commonly take the form of arranging a workshop in which the client, contractors, suppliers, manufacturers, specialists and other stakeholders involved take part and put forward suggestions for discussions and investigations (Harry, 2000). This will make the consultants and designers understand what a client will accept as the benchmark to measure the outcome of their investment (Leung, Chu and Lu, 2003).

Consequently, the client will be provided with projects they can occupy, operate, maintain, at their preferred location, on schedule without compromising the require quality, function, aesthetic and images with acceptable comfort. If the client value system is not made explicit, consultants and designers merely focus on requirements that were not intended by a client. Thus, opportunity for maximizing concept, design, construction and maintenance might not be possible. However, the VM workshop or session is different from the normal project meeting as the objectives of each are distinct.

Value management is defined as an organized set of procedures and processes that are introduced, purposely to enhance the function of a designs, services, facilities or systems at the lowest possible total cost of effective ownership, taken cognizance of the client’s value system for quality, reliability, durability, conformance, durability, aesthetic, time, and cost (Olanrewaju and Khairuddin, 2007). The methodology is about being creative, innovative, and susceptible to changes, consensus, enhancing the use of resources, analytical, togetherness and good communication (Stevens, 1997). Value engineering program is commonly carried out in the systematic stages of; feasibility, concept design, design development, construction and operations and occupancy phase of the projects (Table 1). The work activities are strategically carried out in the job plan. The job plan is the frame works that guide the systematic maneuvering of ideas to ensure that alternatives are not unnecessarily omitted (Ahuja and Walsh, 1983).

Table 1.Value Management’s Job Plan

alt

The value management job plan is an organized framework that guides the processes of analyzing the project, products, services or components under study, to enable the development of numbers of viable economical and functional alternatives that meet clients’ requirements. The strict adherence to the framework ensures maximum benefits and offer greater chances for flexibility. It also ensures that no step or phase is over-sighted or omitted. The value management process can be broken down into various phases. Regardless of the number of phases in the process, the major activities still holds. In many cases, the phases are however broken down into five major phases. However, in this paper, it is broken onto nine major phases for easy understanding. Life cost of project of an item or element is mainly considered during two of the value management phases, namely, the evaluation phase and the development phase. Therefore, the next two sections will discuss in-depth the two main phase.

IV.1 The evaluation phase

This is the fifth phase in the value management methodologies. The evaluation phase is some time call the investigation phase. The evaluation phase is very important phase of the value management process. It is a strategic planning stage of the process (Stevens, 1997). The phase should be considered with the spirit of creative thinking that is associated with the analytical phase. The refined and modified results of the analytical phase are considered in detailed in evaluation phase, on one to one basis judging among themselves. Primarily, the basic activities of this phase is elimination, pruning, modifying and combining ideas in order to reduce the large quantity of ideas collected from the analytical stage to meaningful and workable ones. Generally, alternatives are evaluated in terms of its total cost, availability, technology, its merits, its constraints, ease of construction, effect on schedules of works, safety, ease of procurement, coordination (Bennett, 2003). The evaluation should not just be based on what similar design had cost before or currently cost, but the comparison should include physical appearance, similar properties, and methods of designs, technology and maintainability (Ahuj and Walsh, 1983).

In the course of pruning ideas, some ideas might appear to have potentials but perhaps due to the prevalent technological advancement, they might not be considered. Those ideas should be put aside for later discussions with interested manufacturers or vendors for productions or purchase (Dell’Isola, 1982) where possible. Overall, the project must be looked at from different dimensions. In order to avoid fall-out during the evaluating process, a benchmark should be set against which to establish and measure whether idea should be rejected, pruned, modified or combined. However, it is important to invite some if not all members of the designing team in order to listen to their opinion regarding the evaluated alternatives, particularly, those that were selected. This is important in case they might have considered inculcating some of the analyzed alternatives earlier on. And, if they had, a request should be made as to why they did not consider using these alternatives. Their ground of rejection might be important to the study team (Kelly and Male, 2001) in search for better alternatives.

IV.II: The development phase

Based on the outcome of the evaluation phase, some or the entire item will require further development so that best value proposal can be made more explicit. In other words, the purpose of this phase is to enable further development of the alternative proposals. The major activity that is performed in the development phase includes the preparation of alternative design and cost so that a justification can be made on the viability and feasibility of the new proposals (Dell’Isola, 1982; Ahuja & Walsh, 1983 and Ashworth, and Hogg, 2002). Further benchmarking is to be considered here aside the one in the preceding phase such as; if the idea will work and meet the client’s requirements considering the prevalent advancement of technology. In addition, the interests of the clients who will approve the recommendations require systematic consideration to avoid unnecessary objections. All the relevant information regarding the development of a project must be documented, as this will later be presented to the clients as evidence. The associated risk inherent in the alternative proposals are determined, documented and solutions proffer in advance (James, 1994).

V. DISCUSSION

This section discusses the crossing point between value management and life cycle cost. But before proceeding, a brief discussion on how the two strategies relate with facility management is provided. The question can be asked, whether LCC or VM fit with facility management? Facilities include all fixed properties of an organization such as buildings, plants and equipments. Assets entail both fixed and non-fixed properties of an organisation. Facilities contribute significantly to the enhancement in productivities, profit-abilities and service quality of an organization. Facility management (FM) involves the management of all the services that support core business of an organization (Amaratunga, et al., 2000). FM focuses on meeting organization’s performance in terms of relationship between operational facilities and business outcome. Although, both VM or/ LCC are applicable to all classes of facilities (management), the focus of the classes of the facilities that this paper is concerned with are the constructed facilities and the building projects in particular. Building in this context involve the building’s fabrics, structure and engineering services. The value of a building is determined in relation to its current ability to provide user functional requirements, the current market value and the building condition and performance rating in comparison to that of a new building (Kyle, 2001). The roles are consistent with functions of professional including value managers, asset managers, facility managers and the real estate managers.

One of the major functions of facility management is to ensure that building projects receive adequate maintenance in order to continue to function efficiently and effectively to support the organisation’s corporate objectives. Maintenance process is a fundamental stage in the building life cycle. Maintenance has to be initiated if the building is still functionally sound and cost-efficient to do so against procuring new building or embarking on activities including refurbishment, conversion and alteration. In order to ensure high building performance, maintenance must be considered from the initiation of the buildings. From the foregoing, the opening question is pertinent, because LCC is a technique that is used by the facility management organisation or team to procure value for money invested (Flanagan and Jewell, 2005). In other words, LCC enables facility managers to make informed decisions on how much to invest today for future economic benefits. While the needs for space requirements in an organisation can be triggered by organisation’s asset / facility management unit, the strategic nature of VM allows it to be explicitly clear whether the proposed facility is require and what nature and form it should takes. Generally, the primary functions of the facility managers concern the coordination of the needs of properties users, equipments and plants and operational activities taken place within the space (IREM, 2006). This role is different from that of the value managers. The feedback from the post occupancy evaluation, which forms part of the FM directive, can also serve as feedback to the VM workshop in order to provide best values to the stakeholders. In general, VM can be integrated into the largest context of FM (Green and Moss, 1998) as FM provides a wider platform for decision making throughout the building life cycle. Therefore, FM focuses on space planning. Thus, the combination of VM and FM would produce good outputs. Having provided connections between facility management, life cycle costing and value management, in the remaining paragraphs the discussion emphasises LCC and VM.

Issues relating to LCC of facility have received wider acceptance, because what appears to be cheaper might in actual fact be expensive taking into account future-based costs. Therefore, when selecting a design solution capable of achieving the client value system, alternative that has the lowest cost, will in most cases be the first to be selected, if other performance criteria are satisfied. However, criteria like aesthetic (inspiring and harmonious), images (reputable and progressive), fitness for purpose, sustainability, buildablity, maintainability, technology, quality, safety, convenience, comfort, reliability must be included if best value is to be achieved. Construction clients are becoming more demanding, complex, sophisticated and in fact wiser compare to how they use to be in the past. Today’s clients want to see and in fact have projects that will perform the required functions; that costs less, be sustainable, completed within shortest possible time and also meet other basic requirements (Fong, 1999). Whereas, life cycle costing concentrate on the cost criteria (capital, operation and maintenance cost though), value management takes account all of the criteria within the client value system. Indeed, today clients are taking into account various set of complex algorithm that defined value to them (Halil, and Celik, 1999). The benefits and satisfactions they are getting from other industries like the automobile, aircraft industries are all fascinating experience. These are also making them to be more aggressive with the construction industry. The LCC techniques might be capable of providing best price, but best price does not in any way connote best value.

LCC is introduced after it has been decided that the best alternative proposals that will meet the client’s corporate objective is construction project, whereas VM examine the client’s business case to establish what type of “projects” a client required. Project in this stage is not necessarily a construction projects, but any alternatives that would provide the best return for the client’s investment in terms of money, time and other criteria of their value system.

VM precedes other strategies in that it is introduced before the design even commences (Kelly and Male, 2001; (Qipping, and Liu, 2004 and Shen, 2004). It is also unique in that it makes explicitly the client value system and goes ahead to determine weather the projects is desirable, viable and feasible before any commitment is made to whether to build or not. In that regards, it entail getting it right from the concept. It is only when the correct problem is identified that the correct solution can be developed. Regardless of the sophistication of the instrument used, if the client’s needs and wants are not known, it is either the projects is abandoned, completed but unoccupied or very expensive to operate and maintain. While LCC is tactical; VM is both strategic and systemic. While the LCC could be described as a strategy that provides answer to the question “how do we do it efficiently”, VM ask and provide answer to the question “why do we do it-why do we need the projects”. This is achieved using the functional analytical procedure of the VM. VM is certainly not a replacement alternative to the previous cost saving approach but it is certainly a viable alternative for achieving client value system (Ahuja and Walsh, 1983).

In the value management of construction projects, techniques like the supply chain, risk management, procurement, system engineering, concurrent engineering, safety management and partnering are applied during the development stage of the VM workshop; when developing alternative proposals, elements, components, equipments, items, materials and construction methods that provide value for money to the client. Therefore, these techniques are tools in the kits of the value management process. Apart from the LCC technique, VM makes used of other tools and techniques including, functional analysis, decision matrix, criteria scoring, brainstorming and functional cost model, SWOT analysis, supply chain analysis, risk analysis and checklists. To underscore the holistic and uniqueness of value management, various writers including Male, et al., (1998) and Fong (2004) have found that value management is more involving and unique than many methods / systems including total quality management, supply chain management, risk management, time management, cost management and lean construction.

VI: CONCLUSION AND OBSERVATIONS

The study has been able to investigate the relationship between value management and life cycle costing through literature review. This is done by bringing the theory behind each of the concept into context through literature survey. The paper has revisited the debate on VM and LCC which began sometime ago perhaps unnoticed. While the exact time cannot be traced the debate probably began on the arrival of the VM into the construction scene around 1960. This paper should be regarded as reflective contributions of the authors to the debate about the two concepts and tools. Life cycle costing technique is specific to particular stages and it is useful when it has been established that a “project” will satisfied the client requirements. The techniques and tools used in VM are not new per se, however the methodologies, consistent, systematic and holistic ways they are applied in VM is prominent. While value management has reached certain level of popularity and maturity, the LCC is yet to gain similar recognition even in the construction.

In conclusion, hopefully, we have been able to provide intermediate interpretations of the two concepts because we do not intend to provide extreme viewpoints. This paper does not claim that total cost of building is not important, but what it claimed is that, the value of projects does not ends with the consideration of the cost alone. Many “soft or qualitative” issues in actual fact are more important to the “hard or engineering” issues in majority or all of the cases. Perhaps, we should also add that considerations of the quality and completion time of project are also engineering or hard issues. Our aim is to provide a broad overview over a significant, yet complex issue and the emphasis has been to demonstrate the connection between the two concepts. Since we are aware of the bias that might creep into research like, attempts were made consciously to bring them to the barest level even though it is very difficult to eliminate it altogether. The conclusions of this paper are based on literature review In future primary data through survey or case studies will be collected from those that are consider to have adequate knowledge on the two techniques to see how our opinions differ from that of others’. On a final note, VM is about getting the initial concept right from the word “go”!

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Is Cloud Computing More Important than BIM?

Is focus upon the 3D component of BIM an unfortunate distraction?

BIM, Building Information Modeling is the ability to create a dynamic information model of the built environment (above and below ground, inside and out, horizontal and vertical physical infrastructure) for use in all real property related activities:  concept,  rapid prototyping, planning, design, engineering, construction, physical and functional condition monitoring and management, financing, capital reinvestment, insurance, facility management, renovation, repair, sustainability, utilization, leasing, valuation, procurement, sale and decommissioning  with appropriate shared, secure, and collaborative information access and use.

The advent of Cloud Computing, combined with the cost to capture, store, and process information  falling to near zero,  is enabling new capabilities for secure, real-time collaboration.

The altered world landscape relative to the built environment is upon us all.  In addition to technology changes that are altering the ways we interact and conduct business on fundamental basis, there are economic and environmental imperatives.   All of which lead to the AECOO (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations and Owner) sector and its stakeholdings needing to collaborate to achieve better, quicker outcome,  at less cost,  and with less risk.

Key challenges to BIM in terms of its true potential, the life-cycle management of the built environment, include:

– The development of uniform standard process, terminology, and technology environments for the new BIG DATA world , encompassing  all  ‘built environment related knowledge domains, competencies, and activities.   

– Clear organization and classifications of information and associated access  rights and rights to use, enabling appropriate, uniform basis intra and international use.

– Workflow-based  Cloud-computing services environments, and plug-ins that are vs.  monolithic traditional software frameworks which are web enabled via virtual server, or even traditional 3-tier web applications such as .NET.   4-tier applications are needed with the ability to link and reuse  information in any manner  relative  to identity/location, building, area, floor, room, occupancy, use, physical and functional conditions,  standardized and actual costs (material, equipment, and labor), et al… – to provide common ‘highly secure’  models for short and long term decision support.

– The acceptance and increased use of collaborative construction delivery methods such as Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) and Job Order Contracting (JOC).  The latter a form of IPD specifically targeting facility renovation, repair, sustainability, and minor new construction projects.

–  AUTHENTICATION, ACCESS CONTROL, COLLABORATION, AND STANDARDS …  4Clicks Solutions is about to release a powerful new Cloud Computing solution called CEASEL. It focuses upon transparent construction cost estimating and efficient project delivery.  Each user to controls their own ‘domain’ and access policies (ie ‘who’ can access ‘what’ data, ‘when’ and ‘how’ ). Data in NEVER deleted and  ALL user access and activities are tracked.. .the best form of security.    “Data independency” and  appropriate access for all asset owners, managers, and service providers is supported.   Project development time is reduced because users don’t need to create an identity store and access control system for each project, and projects, estimates, etc. can easily be updated and re-used.

New authentication methods or new kinds of user credentials can be adopted by upgrading just the authentication service.  Associated contracts,  projects, and estimates don’t need to be re-coded.  Changes to access control policy can be made quicker and more easily because it is consolidated in the one place. 

Dedicated and focused security service leads to better overall security – compared with each organization having a part-time resource for security management. 

Security improvements benefit all projects at the same time. 

Less time and effort is devoted to security administration as administrators only need to understand and use one security framework rather than a different one for each project.

Errors are reduced because there is no duplication of identity data and access control policy.A unified view of identity and access control policy is achieved for each user, without breaching the security of other users.

Simplified , auditing and reporting.

If you are interesting in being a pilot user of this new capability, please contact me directly.

 

NIBS – Building Innovation 2012 – January 7th-11th, 2012, Washington, D.C.

14 Reasons to Register: Building Innovation 2013  

NIBS Building Innovation 2013
Visit Booth #5 – 4Clicks Introduces CEASAL

1:  Building Innovation 2013 is delivered by the National Institute of Building Sciences – an authoritative source of innovative solutions for the built environment. For nearly 40 years, the Institute, a non-profit, non-government organization, has served as an interface between government and the private sector, with the primary purpose of bringing together representatives of the entire building community to review advancements in science and technology and develop solutions for our built environment.
2:  Building Innovation 2013 is focused on Improving Resiliency through High Performance and will present the latest advancements in a wide-range of building industry areas that offer genuine solutions for improving security, disaster preparedness, performance, sustainability, information resources and technologies for our nation’s buildings and infrastructure. Within four tracks, Conference attendees will experience the Institute in action as a leader and advocate for the industry and discover how the Institute’s programs and activities work to develop innovative solutions for a number of building-related challenges.
3:  Building Innovation 2013 is the only place you’ll find the authentic event on federal construction: FEDCon® — The Annual Market Outlook on Federal Construction — where attendees will hear the most authoritative, up-to-date information on federal agency building and infrastructure budgets, construction forecasts and regulatory updates. The Institute initiated FEDCon®, now in its 20th year, to give private-sector architects, engineers, general and specialty contractors, and manufacturers insight into what they need to know to deliver services and products to the U.S. Federal Government — the world’s largest facility owner and procurer of design and construction services.
4:  Building Innovation 2013 is where the popular and informative buildingSMART alliance Conference is on the schedule. It’s the only place where the very experts who make the critical decisions on building information modeling (BIM) standards come together to share their knowledge on the various aspects of implementing BIM.  This Conference, focused on Integrating BIM: Moving the Industry Forward, will deliver an understanding of how BIM can better integrate the design, construction, fabrication and operation processes, and also provide you with the latest metrics available to assess industry progress.
5:  Building Innovation 2013 is the only Conference that gives you Innovative Technology Demonstrations directly from the developers who initiated the cutting-edge tools. Don’t settle for second-hand information on the Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) Calculator and Specifiers Properties information exchange (SPie) Catalog. Find out first-hand all about these IE standards, as well as the new information exchanges for Building Programming (BPie), HVAC (HVACie), Electrical Systems (SPARKie), Building Automation Modeling (BAMie) and Water Systems (WSie). Attend these demonstrations, along with the buildingSMART Challenge at Building Innovation 2013, and gain insights straight from the source.
6: Building Innovation 2013 is home to the popular Building Enclosure Technology and Environment Council (BETEC) Symposium, where the field’s leading experts in building enclosure research, design and practice unite to tackle the latest issues. For 30 years, BETEC has delivered quality symposia and continues its commitment with this Symposium titled, Fenestration: A World of Change, which will examine the most current data available on fenestration performance and technology.
7: Building Innovation 2013 kicks off the inaugural Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC) Symposium, designed to guide hazard mitigation policies for the next decade. At this Symposium, focused on Large-Scale Mitigation Planning and Strategies, industry experts will participate in interactive sessions to tackle long-standing multihazard mitigation problems in the United States and then present their conclusions to a panel of high-level policy makers, with the goal of setting long-term solutions.
8:  Building Innovation 2013 highlights the revolutionary tools developed through the Institute’s collaboration with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Infrastructure Protection and Disaster Management Division (IDD) for use in evaluating buildings against the threat of multiple hazards. The Integrated Resilient Design Symposium: Evaluating Risk, Improving Performance, introduces attendees to these invaluable tools and demonstrates how they are being used to assess potential risks to buildings from blast, chemical, biological and radiological (CBR) threats, and natural hazards, while incorporating high-performance attributes into building design.
9:  Building Innovation 2013 offers the only Symposium specifically addressing the needs of persons with low vision. The Low Vision Design Committee Symposium: Creating Supportive Environments for Persons with Low Vision, presents the latest state-of-the art theory and practices for designing for people with low vision from the designers, users, clients and low vision medical specialists that focus on this growing segment of the population – which is expected to be more than 50 million people by the year 2020. Find out how designing for persons with low vision can create environments that are more universally user-friendly for everyone.
10:  Building Innovation 2013 provides the chance to explore what social, economic and environmental sustainability means to various segments of the building industry and how an effective, holistic approach can move the industry Beyond Green™. The Sustainable Buildings Industry Council Symposium: Fostering Innovation to Go Beyond Green™, is the only event where you’ll meet the winners of the 2012 Beyond Green™ High-Performance Building Award and see their real-world examples of sustainability first-hand.
11:  Building Innovation 2013 is the place where academic professionals will gather to work on establishing a common educational strategy for BIM education. During the BIM Academic Education Symposium: Setting the Course for a BIM Educational Strategy, representatives from more than 25 colleges and universities will focus on certification, accreditation and credentialing. Coordinated by the buildingSMART alliance for the 4th year, this event will be held in collaboration with the AGC BIM Forum.
12:  Building Innovation 2013 allows you the opportunity to meet the industry’s leaders as they are recognized for making exceptional contributions to the nation and the building community. The Institute’s Reception and Annual Awards Banquet will highlight the State of the Institute and honor individuals and organizations that are moving the industry forward.
13: Building Innovation 2013 gives you a full week to make quality one-on-one connections with industry experts and innovators; collaborate with colleagues; learn from the best; and share your expertise and experiences. From the varied Symposia and Educational Sessions to the Exhibitor Reception and Keynote Lunches, there are many excellent reasons to attend.

14. Visit 4Clicks and see CEASAL, the ONLY CLOUD-BASED, Collaborative  COST ESTIMATING and EFFICIENT PROJECT DELIVERY system with 400,000+ detailed RSMeans Line Items, ability to leverage your custom cost data, and incorporate IPD – Integrated Project Delivery, JOC – Job Order Contracting, IDIQ, SATOC, MATOC, POCA, BOA and more!    (multiple Patents Pending).  Exhibit Space #5.

http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software.
If these 14 reasons aren’t enough, visit us at http://www.4clicks.com

BIM and The Role of a Construction Cost Estimator

Professional construction cost estimators are critical to any collaborative, transparent, and productive  BIM solution.   BIM, facilities life-cycle management supported by digital technology will create a high demand cost estimators with a thorough understanding of building systems and associated repair, renovation, sustainability and construction techniques, materials, equipment, and labor.   Experienced cost estimators who appropriately leverage technology and embrace collaboration will excel.  Navigating the current AEC sector-wide paradigm shift from antagonistic ad-hoc processes such as design-bid-build, excessive change-orders, and even modest attempts at improvement such as design-build, to collaborative, efficient project delivery methods such as integrated project delivery – IPD, and job order contracting – JOC will be a challenge for some, but a willing change for most.

A team approach, support by technologies such as domain-specific cloud-computing solutions (cost estimating, capital planning, maintenance/repair, …)  integrated with 3D visualization tools..aka Revit will become commonplace.  Owners, AEs, Contractors, Sub-Contractors, Oversight Groups, Business Product Manufacturers- BPMs, and the Community will all gain higher visibility into life-cycle needs and impacts of the built environment.

All who collaborate openly to exceed client’s expectations, and produce efficient, quality construction, renovation, repair, and sustainability on-time, and on-budget will thrive, while non-participants will fall by the wayside.

The AECOO’s (architecture, engineering, construction, owner, operations) legacy of fragmented, unproductive approaches,  ad hoc practices, and associated lack of trust will crumble, to be replaced by OPEN, transparent, and collaborative PROCESSES supported by robust technology.

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BIM Construction Cost Estimating – Top Ten List

First and foremost BIM is the life-cycle management of the built environment supported by digital technology.  While the industry is currently fixated upon 3D visualization tools, aka Revit, Archicad, Bentely… they only represent components of a BIM solution.

Construction cost estimating, and facility life-cycle cost estimating are critical components of any facility design, project delivery, repair, renovation, sustainability, or planning function.

Here’s a list of BIM Construction Cost Estimating Requirements:

1.  Collaboration – involvement of all stakeholders – Owners, AE’s, Contractors, Oversight Groups, Community …

2. Transparency – Appropriate access to cost information, and associated comparison to published independent third-party costs such as RSMeans Cost Data.

3. Consistent Format and Terminology – Use of a standard set of terms and data architectures such as Uniformat, Masterformat, Omniclass.

4. Metrics and Benchmarks – Time, Accuracy, Cost

5. Proper allowances for local conditions – geographic, weather, productivity of labor, …

6. Appropriate level of technology to assure productivity, collaboration, security, audit trail.

7. Robust Process – The application of a robust process and business “best-practices” with a focus upon continuous improvement.

8. Appropriate knowledge of all “levels” of construction cost estimating and their potential accuracy – Square Foot / Conceptual / Building Level Construction Cost Estimating, Assembly / System Level Construction Cost Estimating, Unit Line Item Construction Cost Estimating.

9. Knowledge of the impact of the Construction Cost Delivery Method upon construction costs and life-cycle costs – Design-Bid-Build, CM@Risk, Design-Build, Job Order Contracting, Integrated Project Delivery

10. Fundamental understanding of Total Cost of Ownership and Facility Life-cycle Management – Physical and functional conditions, Operations, Sustainability, Renovation, Repair, Efficient Project Delivery Methods ( IPD-Integrated Project Delivey, JOC – Job Order Contracting )

Construction Cost Estimating Software vs. Spreadsheets – State of the Nation 2012

While accurate, timely, and transparent cost estimating is critical to the success of any renovation, repair, sustainability, or new construction project, most construction cost estimators (over 55%) continue to rely primarily upon manual methods, hard copy documents, or electronic spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel.

Lack of robust business processes, management practices, proper education and training, and some degree of technophobia endemic to our AECOO industry (Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, Owner) may well be responsible for this “state of the nation”.   Negative impacts of ‘ad hoc’ methods and the failure to adopt robust construction delivery methods and associated supporting software include:  loss of business revenue and lower profit margins, poor productivity, spreadsheet and formula errors, lost information, and poor business decisions.

Construction estimating involves the estimating of material, labor, equipment, overhead/profit and contingencies. Spreadsheets, most commonly Microsoft Excel, are used by more estimators for this purpose (over 40%) than any method, although as many as ten (10) percent or more of construction cost estimators may still rely exclusively upon hand written estimates.  While spreadsheets are relatively easy to master and provide a means to create and report a construction cost estimate and or cost models, their benefit comes largely from their ability to partially relieve estimators of mundane calculations.  Accuracy, however, is not necessarily improved and productivity is not maximized.   For example, data entry remains tedious and prone to error, formula error are common, and collaboration and information sharing are limited. (Christofferson, Jay. “Estimating with Microsoft Excel”, Brigham Young University. Nickols, Robert Duane. “Construction Estimating Using Excel” Lexington Technical Institute, University of Kentucky. Caulkins, Jonathan P., et al. “Do Spreadsheet Errors Lead to Bad Decisions” Carnegie Mellon University)

Sophisticated, Cost estimating and Efficient Project Delivery Software systems are now available, and have been proven over the past decade.  Growing numbers of cost estimators now have the need to work with multiple projects, multiple estimates, and multiple contracts (IDIQ, JOC, SABER…) simultaneously and securely.   These newer Cost estimating and Efficient Project Delivery Software systems, such as 4Clicks Project Estimator, provide these benefits, and more.    A ‘short list’ of additional capabilities includes the ability to work with multiple cost books/guides/UPBs, track project status, automatically compare estimates, easily copy/paste, clone, and reuse estimates, integrated sophisticated visual estimating and quantity take-off (QTO) tools, including pattern search, automatically link specifications to estimates ….
Owners, Contractors, and AEs are moving to advanced cost estimating and management systems, and many oversight groups such are beginning to require their use.

The level of collaboration, transparency, and information re-use enabled by Cost Estimating and Efficient Project Delivery Software drives 15-25%+ reductions in procurement cycles, six to ten times faster estimating, reduce overall project times, as a significant reduction in change orders and the virtual elimination of contract related legal disputes.

White Paper – Cost Estimating Evolution 

A Comparison of Construction Cost Estimating Tools – Spreadsheets, Cost Calculators (RSMeans CostWorks), and Cost Estimating/Project Management Software (e4Clicks Project Estimator)

INTRODUCTION

Accurate, timely, and transparent cost estimating is critical to the success of any renovation, repair, sustainability, or new construction project. While most construction cost estimators continue to rely primarily upon hardcopy documents and electronic spreadsheets such as Microsoft Excel, many are beginning to leverage electronic cost books and associated “calculator” software tools. Both of these approaches have merit and are well suited for certain types of users.

Growing numbers of cost estimators, however, have the need to work with multiple projects and multiple estimates simultaneously, securely share information on active projects, localized cost information, as well as easily locate and reuse historical data.
These Owners, Contractors, and AEs are moving to advanced cost estimating and management systems. They are discovering that significantly higher productivity can be gained (50%+). Furthermore, the collaborative aspects of these advanced cost estimating and project management software systems are aligned with integrated project delivery methods and construction sector movement toward Building Information Modelling (BIM).

This paper addresses each of these primary approaches to construction cost estimating and discusses their application. For clarity, products are referenced within each category as follows: (1) Spreadsheets – Microsoft Excel, (2) Electronic Cost Books/Calculator – RSMeans CostWorks, and (3) Cost Estimating and Project Management Software – e4Clicks Project Estimator.

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CONCLUSION

Over the past forty plus years, there have been many initiatives to improve cost estimating to facilitate the delivery of construction projects on time and on budget. Owners, contractors, and AEs now have multiple methods to select from based upon their needs.

Spreadsheets were a major improvement in the 1980s, followed by formal processes for collecting and harnessing historical information to more accurately project and control costs.

Over the past decade, a powerful new capability has been added, collaborative cost estimating and project management software. The evolution of transparent and collaborative cost estimating and project management software mitigates the time wasting, unproductive aspects of creating estimates one at a time from scratch. Additional benefits include the reduction of data input and formulae errors, as well as costly ‘errors of omission’, common with ‘ad hoc’ spreadsheet-centric approaches.

What’s next…?

The application of cloud computing to cost estimating and project delivery and management software and the subsequent integration with Building Information Modelling.  The ability to produce accurate cost estimates and control costs throughout a buildings life-cycle will be greatly enhanced. Another breed of cost estimating and project management software, Adaptive Project Delivery (APD) will also evolve.  But all this is for another story.