Have you heard about BIM? Are you wondering what all the fuss is about and how it will affect you?

BIM stands for Building Information Modelling. It’s not a piece of software or a product, it goes beyond a 3D model and applies to more than just buildings.


There are numerous definitions of BIM but to describe it quite simply, BIM is an integrated process for the generation and management of all of the information required about a project from design through to the construction and into the operational aspect of the project life-cycle.

While BIM has its foundations in architecture and construction, it has vast implications and benefits for a wide range of industries including civil, road construction and landscaping. It is becoming more prevalent across the globe as governments and businesses recognise BIM’s capability to enhance the design process as well as deliver smarter, more sustainable projects that are easier and more cost effective to manage.

In the United Kingdom, the government has begun a program where it intends to require 3D building information models on all of its projects by 2016. The key objective of this project, according to the Building Information Modelling Task Group is to “reduce capital cost and the carbon burden from the construction and operation of the built environment by 20%.” By using BIM, the task force states that they will “unlock new, more efficient ways of working at all stages of the project life-cycle”.

So what benefit will you receive from BIM and why should you care? Some of the key advantages of the BIM process and the surrounding technologies include:

  • 3D project visualisation which allows you to more thoroughly compare different design options which will assist you in making smarter decisions and ultimately saving money by avoiding costly design errors.
  • Digital project simulations allow designers to see how the project will perform not only during the construction phase but also once it is operational. Identifying key issues in the design phase can help to save money and build more sustainable developments.
  • Effective change management throughout the design process. When using BIM processes in the design of a Project, all of the information is held in a central location, therefore, when a change is made, it instantly flows through the entire design ensuring that the information being generated is of high quality.
  • High quality information and documentation for projects. This not only includes design information but also includes scheduling and cost data.

Benchmark Estimating Software and BIM

At Benchmark Estimating, we’re working toward a better understanding of BIM and how it affects our customers. We are also working on incorporating features into our estimating software that comply with or assist in BIM processes.

The introduction of Composite Items in Version 7.5 “closes the loop” on compliance with the structural requirements of estimating software for BIM.

The BIM process can be considered to have 3 levels that make up a project: Materials, Objects and Assemblies.  In Benchmark Estimating Software the BIM Materials are equivalent to Benchmark Resources, and BIM Objects coincide with Benchmark Items. BIM Assemblies are now covered by the new Benchmark Composite Items feature.

When a Composite Item is brought in as an assembly into a BIM model, one of the characteristics of the project is the geographical location of the project. Benchmark’s Regionalisation feature automatically detects the location, and varies the BIM Materials cost for every material to what it is in that region. This then immediately flows through to the Objects and Assemblies.

Additionally when a Composite Item is brought in as an assembly, such as when a standard room is brought into a building project, Benchmark Estimating Software can automatically adjust the value of the composite item in accordance with the ways in which the room fits into the project. It does this using our Variables system. For example, when the room is brought in the characteristics of the proroject may dictate a different ceiling height, and the variable for ceiling height can automatically update the assembly cost.

While this is just the beginning of Benchmark Estimating Software integration of BIM compliant processes, we’ll continue to grow and evolve as the knowledge of BIM does and help you and your business move towards being BIM ready.

If  you’d like to know more about BIM, Benchmark Estimating Software and how it is relevant to your business, please contact us on +61 2 4422 3444 or sales@benchmarkestimating.com