Pre-construction Cost Estimating Workflow


Cost Estimating Workflow showing each phase of assembling a building estimate
Cost Estimating Workflow

Step 1 - Turning 2D PDF Plans into a 3D Model - There our several ways of achieving this and over the last several years we believe the best way is to convert the PDF plan back into a 2D dwg drawing using specialty software, this allows us to import the dwg into SketchUp Pro and rescale ready for tracing.


Step 2 - Create a Massing Model - a massing model is a basic shape model that depicts the building and design intent from the designer. This massing model allows us to undertake analysis of the constructability of the design intent by analysing the shape of the building such as height, width, length, connections.


Step 3 - Create a Construction Model - a construction model represents all of the structural connections and supports at a detailed level (similar to shop drawing standard of detail). We take the SketchUp massing model and import it to BricsCAD BIM, this allows us to create detailed elements includes wall framing, roof framing, concrete slab and foundations, structural steel. By creating these items in detail, several benefits are gained:

  • visual construction process

  • construction connections that work and don't clash with other elements

  • quantified property sets for each assembly

  • accurate take off data to integration into estimating software




Step 4 - Create a Earthworks Model - bulk earthworks can be a daunting task to derive accurate quantities from 2D contour plans. By creating a earthworks model this allows you to break the work up into phases and determine accurate volumes by the means of 3D. We covered this step in more detail in https://www.estimateassist.com.au/post/bulk-earthworks


Step 5 - Integrate all Data into the Detailed Estimate - each model can be exported as an IFC and imported directly into Cubit Estimating Pro + BIM software, This allows the estimating software to read the data directly from the model creating the most accurate quantity take off.


Should Residential Builders undertake the Pre-construction Cost Estimating Process? - in our opinion, this is a no brainer, YES! We are finding as Professional Construction Estimators the documentation that is currently been issued for Tenders (especially in the residential sector) is of poor quality, lacks coordination, missing information, not scaled correctly and is almost of a 'cut & paste' standard from other projects that don't relate. We believe this is due to the design budgets that are been set to the Designers and Engineers where it is not viable for them to spend the time to detail to a construction level which is why the consultants will not share their 3D models to the Builders for analysis and costing. This been said, it is so important that the Builder derives the scope of works, design intent, constructability and cost to ensure that the Builders livelihood is guaranteed by making their business successful and profit positive.


How can EstimateAssist help? - we are here to help your business achieve the best results possible through our estimating services and 5D processes in a fraction of the time that you would spend internally of your business. We can achieve this, as we do this type of work every day making us very efficient in what we do. We have over 37 years of construction experience in our team that we apply analysing constructability and cost impact capture to your job and making sure that your Tender submissions are as accurate as they can be be making your business profitable. You can send your jobs to us for an obligation free indicative quotation for us to complete the work on your behalf. https://www.estimateassist.com.au/sendplans


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