Langdon & Seah

Langdon & Seah shares their experience in adopting BIM tools for quantity surveying.

Langdon & Seah
1. Q: Could you share what your company’s journey in BIM implementation has been like?
A: We determined which resources we were going to invest, what type of infrastructure, what training was needed, what software to use, and planned our implementation in our office and region carefully. We also sent our staff to a BIM manager course, where some were selected to be sent overseas for further training.

Quantity Surveyors use the BIM model to extract basic area quantities and volumes. We often use BIM measurement tools to get these quantities, but the accuracy of these quantities greatly depends on the way the families are modelled. BIM is also a good 3D visualisation tool that allows provisions for temporary work that is not modelled but necessary for construction. Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) issues can also be addressed early, and preliminaries to cater for these possible cost drivers can also be budgeted.

2. Q: When did it begin and why did you decide to start?
A: As custodians of quantities and contracts, we started the process of BIM for the contractual issues and implications surrounding it. We had to start the use and knowledge of BIM because as Quantity Surveyors, we are at the forefront of the use of BIM for quantities (5th Dimension).

3. Q: What were some of the challenges you faced at first? How did your company overcome these challenges?
A: One of the challenges faced would be cost. It was a good thing that BCA lent a hand in defraying some of the cost. The second thing was the assumed automation. Because we researched on BIM well and understood the contractual implications earlier, we could handle the situation with confidence.

4. Q: How has implementing BIM changed the way things are being done in your company?
A: We had to have specialised training on BIM and we had to have a team set up to handle BIM projects and contractual advice. We worked with our other offices, especially ARCADIS UK and US to give us information of best practices on BIM and set up a Community of Practices in our firm that is linked to the ARCADIS BIM network.

5. Q: What advice would you have for companies who want to go down this path?
A:  Here are five tips we would like to share:

  1. Understand that BIM is not a ready-to-use system.
  2. Know which software to use and understand the use and processes of each software and do an in-depth evaluation.
  3. Equip yourself with the processes of BIM and understand what needs to be done. It is the same steps when the industry moved from draftsmen to 2D CAD in the early years.
  4. Study the BIM maturity of your office and find the gaps. Bridge these gaps with knowledge, training, software, hardware, and the like.
  5. When it comes to new technology, it helps to have an open mind.

6. Q: What are the future plans for BIM in your company?
A: We plan to strengthen our contracts advisory on BIM contracts and clauses as well as understand the productivity enhancement portion of BIM.

7. Q: What trends do you envisage for the construction industry in the next few years in terms of BIM usage for quantity surveying?
A: Modeling, time, asset management, and sustainability, respectively, can be considered uncharted areas for the QS profession. Given time and maturity of the profession, I am sure using BIM for QS will become more prevalent.

Source: Build Smart Feb 2015 Issue 26