Managing the cost and budget of doing BIM


In his initiated e-journal (Baranowski, 2015) raised the question of the difference between cost and budget and between a BIM project and a project done in the traditional silo method?

It is important to know that understanding project costs and cash flow are the necessity of any project. We have to understand how project management deals with cost management and then compare it to the way it is handled in BIM.

Project management uses Traditional methods including the use of multiple spreadsheets, detailed budgeting breakdowns, and usually some methodology of determining a percentage value of installed work. One important process to handle that is Earned Value Management (EVM) for measuring the performance of project work against planned activities and identify variance, opportunities to improve the project budget. This process uses very sophisticated formulas like Cost Variance, Cost Performance Index, Estimate To Complete and Estimate At Completion. 

These processes need varied experience such as experience in using advanced Excel that consume allot of time.

With regard to BIM. Cost estimating is known as 5D, and it is one of the essential BIM components. 5D can be a valuable source of information to reach better estimates, reduce assumptions, and create a better dialogue early in a project. Ideally, BIM 5D is used either to link model elements to unit cost or assembly processes to produce an estimate. The BIM trend of collaboration and real-time input is continuing into cost controls and is creating a shift in input as data, and the ability to report from the field begins to replace input from the office.

Besides this, estimates based on BIM arrived at in the incipiency in relation to a project gain relevance for construction as well, as scope budgets are defined. As construction continues, there are instances where cost data is able to be related by validating correct billing percentages with custom scope schemes built into tools like Navisworks. Estimating platforms such as Vico and laser scanning are an alternate option for validating the cost of the executed work rather than conducting its on-site visual verification.


  1. Hardin, B. and McCool, D. (2015) BIM and Construction Management Proven Tools, Methods, and Workflws. 2nd edition edn. Wiley.
  2. Phillips, J. (2013) CAMP/PMP project management certification All-In-One exam guide, Third edition. Third Edition edn. United States: Osborne/McGraw-Hill.
  3. Roseke, B. (2015) Use Earned Value Management to Move Projects Forward. Available at: http://www.projectengineer.net/use-earned-value-management-to-move-projects-forward/  (Accessed: 9 May 2016).

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