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Time-Saving Tips for CostX®: Comparing CostX® to Revit Schedules

Each month we will be asking Exactal Product Specialists about time-saving tips and features within CostX® that allow users to work as efficiently as possible. For this blog post we spoke to Clarence Mak, who works from Exactal’s Singapore office as a Sales Manager and Product Specialist.

BIM technology is being rapidly adopted worldwide, and more and more quantity surveyors are now working with BIM during tender and post contract stages. One of the most important advantages of the method is that it allows surveyors to visualise complex designs in 3D. From here, the QS can use their experience to make design queries and assumptions, making it a much easier process to point out potential issues and improvements.

When it comes to producing a final tender estimate with BIM, there are a variety of programs that are commonly used. One such example is Revit schedules, which allow the QS to export custom BIM data into an Excel format. It is a useful feature, but one that can cause a difficult working process for those who aren’t experienced with the program.

Challenges of Using BIM Revit Schedules

While accurate quantity schedules can be exported from Revit in Excel format, there are a number of issues that may present. Firstly, the schedules produced for a complex BIM file may contain thousands of rows for all objects in the model, and there is potential for human error when inserting formulae. With no standardised or stored calculation methods available, surveyors must be very careful when inputting data.

As for viewing BIM files, Revit schedules do not allow for visualisation of objects not presented in the schedule. The shape and location of objects is not visible, meaning surveyors cannot check the spatial relationship of objects to identify design errors. Manual measurement of object dimensions is also not possible.

Quantity surveyors are often issued a revised schedule of a new design. While calculation rules created for an old BIM design can be reused in the new BIM model through CostX® QTO methods such as Model Maps, repeating the same process in a Revit schedule is a much more complex task. When working from two large lists of objects, it can be difficult to spot changes in design.

It is also worth mentioning that only one surveyor can work on an Excel schedule at any one time, meaning that multiple files may be generated and referred to for a single project. A key benefit of BIM is improved collaborative potential, so quantity surveyors working with Revit schedules are missing out in this regard. Advanced BIM software such as CostX® allows multiple users to collaborate on a single BIM file.

There is no doubt that Revit schedules are a relatively simple tool for managing BIM data. However, there are more efficient options available to quantity surveyors in 2019, and I believe CostX® is a truly worthwhile investment for those looking to take the next step with BIM.

Contact Your Local Exactal Team

To learn more about the BIM potential of our advanced takeoff software, feel free to contact your nearest Exactal office today. Exactal operates from nine offices worldwide, so clients under maintenance can always rely upon timely assistance and product support as they get started with our software solutions.