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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Vico Office R5 brings integrated BIM workflow to construction management

August 11th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Marcel Broekmaat, market manager, Project Controls at Trimble Buildings, talked about Trimble’s Vico Office R5 that offers integrated BIM workflow for construction management.


Vico Office is the first purpose-built construction management software designed as a tightly-integrated, BIM-neutral platform to which multiple types of Building Information Models can be published, synthesized, and augmented with cost and schedule information.  Vico Office is used by many top general contractor and construction management firms around the world. In the latest update, Vico Office R5 streamlines project data workflow throughout the design-build-operate lifecycle, improving communication and collaboration between general contractors, architects and owners to enable accurate and rapid assessment of schedule and cost impact of changes, before and during construction.

Among the new capabilities are enhanced 2D- and 2D/3D-hybrid takeoff capabilities,  running modes visualization, cost add-on and markup capabilities, new web services, and expanded IFC import capabilities improve predictability, reduce risk, better manage cost, and optimize schedules on large, complex building projects. BIM is expected to increase by 50 percent in construction work on average over the next two years. It is becoming increasingly important to the project delivery process.

AECCafe Voice: What capability allows the collaboration with the new Vico Office? 

Marcel Broekmaat: Collaboration in a Local Area Network is supported in Vico Office. The program delivers live updates with changes that are made by other team members: if estimator A changes a unit rate on her screen, the change is immediately presented on the screen of estimator B. Work in multiple locations is supported through a project “packing” functionality, that allows for transfer of database content.  Additionally, the new Vico Office Web Services module enables direct access to the Vico Project Server from remote locations.

AECCafe Voice: Can users collaborate across locations as well as inter-office?

Marcel Broekmaat: To support interaction with 2D and 3D design information within the same project, the Vico Office system is designed to support intra-office collaboration, with users working on the same network. However, users can choose to “pack” all project data and transmit it to collaborators for work in other locations.

AECCafe Voice: What do you think is the most important new feature of this release?

Marcel Broekmaat: The ability to perform 2D Quantity Takeoff in a model-based environment is a game changer. Even though the benefit is clearly recognized, it is not always easy to make the transition from a “2D drawing based process” – with manual quantity takeoff – to a model-based workflow. Estimators have to be aware of labels/names that have been assigned to model elements to ensure the right quantities are placed in the right cost bucket. Also, models are not always complete or even available.

To make the transition easier, Vico Office now offers a way to combine “old & new” — use 3D model element quantities where you have them, but use drawings for those parts that are not included in a 3D model. The hybrid approach makes it possible to create a 100% complete quantity takeoff, in one single takeoff sheet and using the 2D or 3D information that is available, while still taking advantage of the powerful 3D visualization. Now customers who are adopting BIM can complement/complete model-based information with 2D quantity takeoff to create one single source for all their cost calculations

AECCafe Voice: Can you describe the difference between “model-based” and “cost-model” based estimating?

Marcel Broekmaat: The term “cost model” is used by estimators to describe a concept-stage cost calculation that is based on assumptions and averages. Trimble’s Modelogix software helps calculate averages for cost models by mining historical project information (completed estimates and actual cost from our project management software Prolog).

Model-based estimating is defined as an estimating process that uses model-based (BIM) quantities as the input for estimates. The model-based quantities are multiplied with cost unit rates, which result in an estimated cost for elements in the Building Information Model.

AECCafe Voice: Can Vico Office be used on mobile devices, tablets, etc?

Marcel Broekmaat: Vico Office cannot currently be used on mobile devices; it’s a desktop application.

AECCafe Voice: In reference to this phrase: “Augmenting 3D modeling, 4D (scheduling) and 5D (costing) tools with clash detection capability enable management and analysis early in the design process, rather than in the field during construction.”  — While this capability is “enabled” in the design process, how do the constructors take that design integration of those pieces downstream into construction?

Marcel Broekmaat: The integration of 3D coordination with 5D cost planning and 4D scheduling allows for early feedback on cost and time implications of design issues and changes. Being able to determine cost and time impact early on, while going through design iterations, supports the design process in a way that results in a final set of plans that is more constructable, and has a higher probability of being completed on time and within budget.

NEW FEATURES & IMPACTS (provided by Trimble):

·         2D Quantity Takeoff: The jobs and inputs of estimators are changing. The introduction of Takeoff Pad, with on-screen takeoff, now allows users to extract quantities in any way that they desire.  Vico’s 2D Quantity Takeoff enables the creation of linear, area and count based quantities inside the Vico Office environment from 2D PDF drawings. Users can also perform takeoff in a 2D/3D hybrid environment. 

·         Running Modes / Enhanced Visualization: Running modes have been introduced as a way to better interact with the model and as a visual presentation supplement. Companies adopt model-based estimating to facilitate improved communication of cost/budget status to the owner. Prior cost-model integration only highlighted the elements associated with a cost item, which is not always easy to see. Running mode solves this problem by offering multiple viewing modes, facilitating improved communication back to the Owner.

·         Add-ons & Markups: Cost additions vary from company to company and flexibility is required. Advanced add-ons and markup have been included to add flexibility for GC/CMs who require multiple markups and additions to the base estimate in order to get to a gross total for submission

·         New IFC Properties:  Vico R5’s optimized IFC engine provides 6 ways to group models using the industry-standard IFC classification.  

·         Vico Office Web Services provides access to the Vico Project Server to read from and write to the Vico Project Server to extract data, or to connect to other applications. Allows for integration of third party applications (e.g., ERP, Procurement) with Vico Project Server.

·         Location Breakdown Structure (LBS) Usability improvements: Vico Office R5 provides the ability to carve out spaces (e.g.,1st floor, 2nd floor), split floors, colorize zones and utilize ID prefixes for automating and visualizing location-based quantity generation

·         Additional publisher support for leading BIM and CAD packages. 

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Categories: 2D, 3D, AutoCAD, Autodesk, Bentley Systems, engineering, Tekla, Trimble, Vico

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