By Jared Kisten & Hennie Botha – September 2022
Building information modelling (BIM) has been around for almost 26 years, but what does it truly entail for the
construction industry and what is BIM capable of? Most construction professionals have heard of BIM but have not
incorporated it. This blog provides an overview of the expectations of BIM and the influence it will have on Quantity
WHAT IS BIM?
BIM is a shared knowledge resource for information about a facility forming a reliable basis for decisions during its life
cycle, from earliest conception to completion. BIM is an integrated process that allows professionals to explore a
project’s key physical and functional characteristics digitally before it is built (Aw Nien Wei, 2017).
Quantity Surveying services offered by BIM
In pre-construction, BIM can be used as a visualization tool, drawing generation tool and is also able to produce cost
With the information gathered within the building information model it can be used to produce accurate bills of
quantities. It should be noted that BIM can easily be used to provide costs faster. BIM can also be used to provide
more informed and accurate costing advice to the clients. Inevitably, because the pre-construction time shortens and
a better design can be produced earlier, it will likely have less variations than comparable methods.
BIM can be used for construction planning, clash detection and better waste management. To utilise BIM within
construction planning, it requires linking of the construction programme to the 3D objects in a design so that
construction progress can be estimated and shown where it should be at every stage of the process.
Categories BIM capabilities
- 5D life cycle costing analysis
- BoQ preparation with 3D views
- Project conceptualisation, design planning
- Simulation, cost control, value engineering, estimating, tendering
- Drawing interpretation, data extraction
- IFC view for BoQ
- Quantity take-off, cost estimating
- Estimating, tendering
- Post construction cost management
- Design changes identification
- Virtual models, estimating
- Communication, access to information
The basic scope of services that can be expected from a quantity surveyor is clearly identified in the PROCSA agreement
which outlines the different services to be carried out by the quantity surveyor.
The expectation of BIM making Quantity Surveyors redundant
According to Olatunji (2014), software has the risk of making professionals redundant. The introduction of computers
and sophisticated software into our working environment has resulted in an increase in productivity. Computers can
perform the following functions: production of drawings, making structural analysis, conducting cost and time
calculations and store and manage construction information (Olatunji, 2014).
Services a Quantity Surveyor can offer that online programs can’t
According to Werner (2022) the quantity surveying professional is best placed to provide cost management services for projects from inception, as they offer:
• Experience with similar projects and contracts.
• The level of design and identification of deficiencies in documentation.
• All risks associated with the project, i.e., latent conditions, constructability, procurement, and escalation.
• A consistent approach to work breakdown structure and associated cost breakdown structure and format of
• Validation through benchmarking of design, pricing, and production metrics.
• Qualifications, assumptions, and exclusions to provide a complete budgetary approach and align pricing during
the project’s development and reconciliation with contractors.
Risks associated with the use of software in lieu of Quantity Surveyors
Olatunji (2014) found the following risks which impacts relative to application of QS software on project delivery:
Virus attack is a general and common phenomenon in the computer world. Viruses are written programs that are
harmful to the computer system. When these attacks occur, the system may stop working resulting in the loss of vital
information which may cause delays on projects (Olatunji, 2014).
Incorrect Capturing of Data
Software used for estimating, tender analysis, etc. rely on the manual capturing of data (Olatunji, 2014). This creates
the risk of capturing data inaccurately and producing an incorrect estimate, tender analysis, or any other Quantity
Surveying document (Olatunji, 2014).
There are health challenges which are related to computer usage. These include, monitor glare causing headaches, a
burning sensation in your eyes, temporarily blurred vision. Long sitting at workplace can cause spinal problem
Software introduced laziness in professionals. The exercise of multiplication, summation, subtraction, and other
paperwork have been eliminated with the use of software that does the work faster and more accurately (Olatunji,
Table 1: Categorical services that the QS can utilise BIM for (N A A Ismail, 2016)
According to a paper investigating the penetration of BIM technology amongst the construction players in Malaysia,
most respondents were aware but had not used BIM in their practice (Ismail, Adnan, & Bakhary, 2019). It showed the
high BIM awareness with average knowledge amongst the respondents but employing the technology in their practice
at present was still unsatisfactory. Thus, it can be interpreted that the implementation status of BIM amongst the
Quantity Surveyors in Malaysia is still low.
Another paper studies the application of BIM to project cost management in the development of China’s technologies
(Ha, 2021). The BIM technology has been widely applied to all stages of project cost management. This increasingly
mature technology is favorable to facilitate project cost management and vice versa (Ismail, Adnan, & Bakhary, 2019).
Therefore, Asian countries such as Malaysia and China have proven that BIM is not making the services of Quantity
Surveyors redundant but adds value to the services offered by Quantity Surveyors by offering a more effective and
efficient practice for construction projects.
Among the advantages of the BIM applications are cost and time saving; reduced human resource; quality and
performance improvement; clash detection; improved accuracy; increased profitability; enhanced collaboration and
communication; better presentation and documentation process; improved planning and design; better visualization;
and improved information (Ismail, Adnan, & Bakhary, 2019).