- Autodesk announced last week that cloud-based cost management capabilities have been added to its BIM 360 construction management platform.
- The Cost Management module allows users to visualize cost-related risks by monitoring and tracking budget impacts in real time, according to Autodesk. For example, users can log and apply change orders before submitting to the owner, view the history of cost items by supplier and confirm that changes are accounted for.
- The module is available as an add-on subscription to BIM 360 Build. Its open APIs allow for integrations with other cost applications and workflows, according to the company.
Delivering projects on time and on or under budget is particularly challenging because of the fragmented nature of the construction industry. Project management software like Autodesk's BIM 360, Procore and PlanGrid are aimed at breaking down silos that can either disrupt collaboration or lead to duplicate efforts.
BIM 360 includes roughly 55 integrations for U.S. users, for example, made possible by open APIs and the cloud. After integrating with model collaboration program InsiteVR earlier this month, Autodesk announced Wednesday that it added time and material tracking software Rhumbix to the BIM 360 mix. This and other platforms bring construction processes into a centralized platform so that contractors don't need to jump between products to access information tied to the same project.
One of the greatest setbacks to cost on a project are problems that are discovered at a late stage. Real-time budget dashboards like the Cost Management module can increase the chances that the project team detects a red flag, compared with the traditional spreadsheet accounting method. BIM can also be used to combat cost creep early on during the design phase.
Design-build proponents say that, when used with the delivery method, 3D modeling is a valuable tool to measure the impact that changes to design can have on schedule and cost, which add a 4th and 5th dimension to BIM, respectively. For example, Rosendin Electric's corporate director of Building Information Systems, Fred Meeske, told Construction Dive in March that BIM users can design a conduit system, for example, "while seeing in near real time the effects of different routes on the cost of the system — or better yet, the effects of other systems being designed that may negatively impact your budget, allowing changes to occur before actual system installation and the need for rework."