5D BIM: the 5 advantages of the fifth dimension of BIM

5D BIM is the dimension that adds cost estimating information to a BIM model. Find out how to get faster cost estimates and manage your project efficiently

BIM, Building Information Modelling, is a technology that allows designers and quantity surveyors to have precise and detailed information to estimate the costs of a project, while reducing the variability of cost estimating. Basically, 5D BIM is a BIM methodology dimension that explicitly corresponds to the cost estimating information relating to a building asset.

In a three-dimensional model, the economic variable is introduced to estimate the costs of a project, in order to control and estimate costs (by assigning parametric values, such as  unit prices, to several objects and elements). By using the information model of a building rather than just drawings, it is possible to generate quantity take-offs, calculations and measurements directly from the model.

5D BIM links costs and estimating processes directly to 3D models that are created by a designer. When including cost analysis in the BIM ecosystem, it is possible to speed up and optimize the entire planning phase of a building, also with regard to the financial aspects. This aligns with the possibility of quickly assessing the costs relating to different construction and planning solutions.

The information is always consistent with the design, and when a change is made to the project, for example resizing a window, all the relating documents and construction drawings, as well as all the inputs, calculations and measurements are updated automatically.

What is 5D BIM?

5D BIM is the cost estimation of the  information model components.

5D BIM modelling creates intelligent connections between the 3D digital model (which defines the geometry of the building) and the cost information for a construction.

The result is a 5-dimensional (5D) information model complete with the attributes needed to estimate the overall cost of the project.

In fact, when working with a BIM model, cost estimation can be obtained automatically as the prices of each work type or supply are associated directly to the parametric objects of the 3D geometric model. As well as being a more streamlined and faster process for the designer/cost manager, this method allows full control over the operations to be carried out and results less risky in terms of errors. The integration of BIM with 5D simulation models allows you to view the progress of activities, the related costs over time and whenever changes are made to the project.

For example, when changing the size of a window it automatically updates the quantity and consequently also the cost of that specific work type.

Using a 5D model provides methods for extracting and analyzing costs, as well as evaluating alternative scenarios, resulting more accurate and predictable estimates, quantities, materials, equipment, and labor.

The benefits of 5D BIM

To estimate the costs of works construction/maintenance/management, with a traditional method,  it is necessary to:

  • accurately identify the work to be carried out and the relevant items in the price list
  • calculate quantities
  • organise measurement data in a logical sequence
  • assess materials, rules and units of measurement.

The more accurate the assessments, the lower the risk of errors.

Differently, with a digitized process such as 5D BIM modelling, you can take advantage of certain automatisms that create an accurate correlation between the 3D model entities and their cost items.

The 5 benefits of 5D BIM modelling are:

  1. greater cost control – every single detail of the bill of quantities is directly tracked and monitored, ensuring accuracy of measurements and cost control for construction companies and the client
  2. fast quantity assessment – the preparation of an accurate model-based quantity survey means greater efficiency and optimised workflows within the BIM process design teams.
  3. fast calculation – calculating data using BIM significantly accelerates each procedure, optimizing staff working times
  4. quality of work – greater control and processing speed leads to improved productivity, which translates into cost savings for the contractor and design firms
  5. more accurate evaluations thanks to a greater accuracy and predictability in the analysis of project costs, changes in quantities and materials, equipment and labour – the integration of BIM with 5D BIM simulation models enables the development of more efficient and sustainable buildings. collaboration between all parts of the construction process in BIM mode allows everyone involved to keep track of project costs even when making changes to the project

The implementation of BIM in cost analysis across all stages of the construction process provides accurate and detailed information, allowing designers to make correct and informed decisions, thus reducing the need to revise design choices during construction.

Advantages of 5D BIM

4D and 5D BIM for perfect project planning

To fully manage a project, even from the point of view of time and cost planning, it is necessary to associate planning (4D BIM – time) and cost ( 5D BIM) information to the 3D model.

The 4D dimension indicates the management of project execution times through a work schedule associated with the model in order to reduce the possibility of interference and errors between the processes during the different phases of the project. 5D, on the other hand, indicates the management of the costs of the project.

The cost of a project is directly related to time planning, which is why the integration of 3D models with BIM 4D and BIM 5D information ensures more efficient and convenient management.

The other BIM dimensions

BIM dimensions” refer to aspects and information that come into play in the process of digitization of a construction project.

BIM is more than just the three-dimensional (3D) modelling for which it is known and can embrace other “dimensions” that serve to add useful information to the asset to be built or managed:

  • 6D – environmental, economic and social sustainability impact studies
  • 7D – facility management: planning and management of maintenance operations throughout the building’s lifecycle.

In addition to the 7 standard dimensions, there is an open debate on the three “new dimensions of BIM”:

  • 8D – safety during design and construction phases
  • 9D – lean construction
  • 10D – industrialisation of construction.
The 10 dimensions of BIM

The 10 dimensions of BIM

The main features of 5D BIM modelling software

Construction estimating software allow you to take advantages of 5D BIM modelling and to obtain an automatic project cost estimate using BIM software that associate cost information to the model.

Specifically, 5D BIM software allow you to:

  • link each model object to a relative item in the reference price list
  • automatically obtain the project cost estimate
  • update the estimate in real-time whenever modifying the model
  • print, export and re-process the cost estimate.

The ideal would be to have a single BIM software to manage all the dimensions of BIM, i.e. all the aspects that come into play in the design of a project.

You can experience the advantages of a 5D software for cost estimating of BIM models in IFC format by downloading the 30-day free trial version.