Company Spotlight: Bill Prep and Surveying

Credit: Bill Prep and Surveying
Credit: Bill Prep and Surveying

Company Spotlight does exactly what it says on the proverbial tin. Learn all about the history, BIM journey and latest Building Information Modelling developments of some of the industry’s most-recognised names. In this instalment, we take a look at the interesting part of a BIM workflow that Bill Prep and Surveying occupy. The firm discuss how they got into implementing BIM and what software they feel is best to get the job done.

Bill Prep and Surveying specialise in the preparation of pricing documents for the construction industry. Their main services include the production of bills of quantities, builders’ quants and cost plans. More recently, the firm have started using BIM measurement and modelling software to produce quantities.

The team of quantity surveyors – and more recently 3D software engineers – have the specialist knowledge and expertise spanning the commercial building, civil infrastructure, education, healthcare, public buildings, residential and transport market sectors.

Bill Prep’s BIM journey started in late 2013 when Vince Hughes, Managing Director, recognised a gap in the market for producing quantities from the models that are used in BIM projects. The initial obstacle faced was that the existing software systems in-place were not able to work with the model data that was being provided in tender packages, so Vince began the search for a solution to complement the existing toolset.

In January 2014, Bill Prep invested in VICO Office; this software produced by Trimble is specifically geared towards 3D, 4D and 5D BIM measurements, costing and programming. The corporation are now official partners of Rapid 5D, who are the UK’s sole distributers and support and training providers for Trimble.

“With the government target of all public spending projects to be carried out in BIM by 2016, we started our search for specialist measurement software and quickly came to the conclusion that VICO Office was the best solution for us”, said Hughes regarding the purchase.

Through this software, the team are able to bring in BIM models from almost any format. The software will automatically group all identical BIM components and generate a significant amount of quantity data for use in generating cost plans and bills of quantities.

This process reduces the measurement time and increases the accuracy of quantities. It also allows manipulation and adjustment of component data without affecting the original model, and now, Bill Prep measure all projects where possible through 3D modelling. Vince elaborated on this: “We have been fortunate enough to receive 3D models on a large number of our projects since the start of the year and have supplemented our existing team with 3D design technicians so we can render 2D tenders into 3D models and ensure we get the best out of our software.”

The Surveyors’ first BIM project was worked on back in January 2014; Harris Academy, Greenwich. On behalf of BAM Construction, the project was a success and since then, the company have worked on upwards of 20 BIM projects. More recently, they were tasked with preparing bills for Abbey Area, Camden, on behalf of Bouygues UK.

BIM – Bill Prep’s View

Unfortunately the quality of any models provided at tender stage has a significant impact on the ability to efficiently use quantity data generated to produce bills of quantities. Generally some or all of the following issues occur:-

• A lot of models provided are for visual purposes only and lack a lot of the substance required for quantification and measurement.
• Where models have been provided they tend to be single disciplinary models rather than a collaborative model.
• Even the better models lack a lot of the construction detailing which generally is provided via 2D drawings.
• Site works and drainage models are not being provided or at least the company haven’t been provided with any to date.

The Solution

To overcome the various issues occurring with models provided at tender stage, Bill now produce their own models for all projects we secure for the preparation of bills of quantities and cost plans. They do this regardless of the project being a BIM project or traditional 2D project. The advantage of using their own models is these are created for measurement purposes and will include a lot of the detail not provided in models provided by the design team at tender stage. Within in similar timescales to preparing bills from 2D designs, they are able to produce their own models, extract quantities and produce their own bills.

In regards to the future, the firm are also looking to create visual packages – project specific videos providing 360 degree virtual tours of a project. The main aim for Bill Prep and Surveying going forward is to continue rendering 2D design into 3D models, ensuring increased accuracy and efficiency for quantification.

For more information on all the work that Bill Prep and Surveying do, click here to visit their official website. Moreover, follow them on Twitter @BillPrep.

Join us on Thursday, February 5th, 2015 for the next instalment of Company Spotlight.