Causeway’s Ian Badhams reviews the uses of automated measurement software in the construction industry, with particular reference to companies operating in the Middle East.

Of the many technology solutions available for the construction industry, one in particular – automated measurement software - stands out as being common to contractors, developers and consultants alike. A good example of this is Causeway’s CAD Measure & BIM Measure software, which helps users view, take-off, quantify and compare revisions in 2D & 3D CAD drawings, PDF Documents and BIMs, to ultimately provide schedules, costs and estimates with the generated information.

Supporting production of Bills of Quantities

For cost consultants such as KEO International Consultants, the main value of BIM Measure is to help produce measurements through the design process for Cost Plan estimates and to produce Bills of Quantities (BoQs) for tenders. With offices in Kuwait and the UAE, KEO are just one example of many cost consultant customers worldwide.

As Mark Grogan, Contracts and Quantity Surveying Manager at KEO, explained: “By introducing BIM Measure into our business, we quickly realised massive savings in time, compared to measuring manually from hardcopy drawings. We are saving in the region of 40% of time in the measurement process”.

From the contractor’s view point there are two different disciplines which tend to use CAD Measure to support their business processes.

De-Risking the Tendering Process

The first of these is exemplified by ALEC (part of Abu Dhabi’s Al Jaber Group), which uses CAD Measure to support the tendering process for Middle East contracts. As they receive BoQs, specifications and drawings from consultants and clients, CAD Measure is used to check and verify those quantities provided before submitting bids.

"In contracts where quantities are the contractor’s responsibility, the program provided by Causeway has proven to be invaluable in helping reduce risks in our bids,” notes Denzil Greer, Chief Estimator with ALEC.

Driving Commercial Management

At Dubai-based Habtoor Leighton Group, the software is used predominately for post-contract work, measuring and valuing post-contract variations. CAD Measure supports this by providing a means of measuring and visualising the variations, so they can be understood and, more importantly, substantiated by the QS team to the client.

We have now moved away from non-specific measurement tools to something that is absolutely fit for purpose. This has the added benefit of allowing us to reallocate QS resources from measurement activities to revenue creation / cost management activities – both ‘key margin drivers’ for the business,” said Garry Presdee, Group Commercial Manager with HLG Group.

An Integrated Approach

Although both CAD Measure and BIM Measure can be deployed as standalone programs, they also form part of an overall business solution with integration directly into other software applications. These include Causeway Estimating 2014 software for contractors and Causeway CATO cost & programme management software for consultants, where dimensions and quantities are fed directly into these applications.

Liberating information from BIMs, Causeway is now bringing 3D models into the measurement process and can already provide customers with the necessary tools for working with intelligent models as part of a Building Information Modelling (BIM) process. Developed with major construction consultants, Causeway BIM Measure liberates the information from BIMs, so it can be used interactively and effectively throughout the cost management and control life cycle – without the need for specialist CAD skills.

With Dubai Municipality’s recent mandating the use of BIM in supporting key projects this is an exciting step forward into the world of BIM. Early indications are that further time savings in the production of measurements will be achieved over and above those realised with measurement from CAD drawings.

BIMMeasure enables consultants, cost managers, estimators and QS teams to:

  • Save time in the measurement process.
  • Measure from 2D or 3D drawings.
  • Read most file formats, including IFC, DWG, DWF, image files and PDF.
  • Output to Excel, pre-defined Excel templates or other Causeway programs.
  • Take off measurements from 3D Models using BIMMeasure.
  • Dynamically capture costs quickly and reliably.
  • Integrate the measurement data to other Causeway software applications.
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