Around Australia, take-up of BIM from architects and designers has been strong in recent years. Alas, this is not the case for quantity surveyors.
According to Peter Clack, director of construction cost consulting firm RBB and former president of the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS), QS professionals have been largely absent from the BIM space. In an upcoming presentation at the BILT conference in Brisbane later this month, Clack will explore why this is and what is being done.
Clack says the absence of QS in BIM can be attributed to both being excluded by designers and the profession itself failing to embrace the technology.
Speaking of the profession itself, Clack says apprehension surrounding the technology has been driven by misconceptions about it being radical and complex. In fact, he said BIM is simply another tool through which quantity surveyors can perform their job.
Many designers, meanwhile, failed to appreciate how QSs can be best used in the BIM process.
“It’s a combination of two factors,” Clack said, asked about the absence of QS from BIM.
“The design team has excluded the QSs. But the QSs haven’t shown any enthusiasm to adopt BIM either.”
According to Clack, the role of the quantity surveyor within BIM is similar as it always has been. Whilst the software enables architects and engineers to generate bills of quantities, quantity surveyors are still needed to analyse and identify gaps in the data and allow for these in cost plan. They are also needed to apply appropriate price levels to items within the bill of quantities.
BIM, he said, was a tool for QS as well as for designers.
Clack’s comments come as efforts to promote BIM within QS are ramping up. Having established a subcommittee for BIM last year, the AIQS is working with the New Zealand Institute of Quantity Surveyors to develop a best practice guide which will help to inform quantity surveyors about what they need to know and what they need to tell designers about what they need in order to extract quantities from the model at any stage.
Set to be released later this year, it is hoped that the guide will promote consistency in what surveyors request from architects and in turn will encourage clients and architects to engage with QSs during early stages of preparation of the model.
Clack says the QS function is no more or less critical because of BIM.
“If we get LOD 100 or 200 drawings, the quantities which you would extract from the 3D measurement from those drawings will still of gaps in them and will not be complete,” he says. “The documentation is not complete because you are still at the design concept or schematic stage.”
“All you are doing with BIM is using a 3D tool to come up with quantities. An architect can press a button but they won’t pick up the gaps. An engineer can press a button but they won’t pick up the gaps.”
“The job of the quantity surveyor and our major still set is in identifying and allowing for those gaps in our cost plans so that the cost plan represents the true cost of the project which is shown on the drawing.”