I was going to title this blog "your ass-embly is grass", but thought better of it. Also I saw the new Harry Potter movie (don't judge...you saw it too) and all i can say is that A.) Apparently there's no more quidditch at Hogwarts (much to my chagrin) and B.) Dumbledore's blue lightning bolts strangely resembled a Jedi knights... just a thought.
Moving on...Revit now has the capability to work with a number of cost estimating platforms that you might or might not be aware of. The first is, US Cost which titles its software Success Estimator and runs through an ODBC database called Success Design Exchange. The two programs in this blog base their cost estimation off of Assembly Codes inherent in an elements properties. I found that this the easiest way to compile multiple elements with their own inherent information into an assembly that contains all of the indivdual component information linked to that assembly. For instance, let's start with a typical 3-5/8" stud wall. 5/8" gyp bd with a level 4 finish would be a RS Means assembly of 092910.30 2050. The 3-5/8" metal stud @ 16" o.c. would be RSMeans 092216.13 1640. The uniformat assembly code then contains the Means data for both of these assemblies into an assembly number, (incidentally C1010190) Needless to say this is what both estimating programs break back down for you in the estimate.
Our company originally looked at getting US Cost in house however we ran into some major snags in regards to actually creating General Contractor type estimates. The format to be quite honest is geared more towards architecture firms who are interested in creating cost estimates in early schematics and design development rather than full on quantity, labor rates, unit costs, bid day alternates, etc.. To that end, I'm not bashing the software and I'm sure the product can be worked around to be effective for that type of application. It just wasn't what we were looking for. If you want more info their website is:
The second bit of software, is Innovaya. And I think they're really starting to see where the whole movement is headed and definitely getting closer. Innovaya works directly with Timberline cost estimation software to perform more detailed cost estimate takeoffs. They are geared more towards the General Contractor or the architect/engineering/design firm who wants a bit more input into the estimates and the ability to show some of the scheduling and 3D phased items. The program also allows the user who doesn't have the Timberline software to export to excel at any time. The great part about this software is the following:
-Ties in with primavera scheduling software (including Sure-trak)
-They have their own timberline template established that specifies the paths for additional assembly codes to their file instead of spending a month trying to get all of that down
-Has real time scheduling and animation capabilities on-screen to show owners and project managers the different levels of completion once the components of the model have been phased in.
I gotta say we have been most impressed with this software and it's ability to work with everyone in the process, from architect/designer, through project scheduling। We get the demo next week and I'll be sure to let everyone know if it has the bells and whistles it says.
the last bit of software is MC2 and in regards to estimating really had the most capabilities as far as breaking the estimate down and estimation flexibility. However, from a BIM point of view they aren't there yet. They apparently are contracted with Innovaya to start work into a comprehensive product that ties into MC2 instead of Timberline, but this product is still in development for release potentially early fall.
Lastly, I have started the somewhat exhaustive process of developing a standards library of many of the basic uniformat assembly of walls, ceilings, floors, doors, etc... If anyone knows of a comprehensive library that is shared I would love to know about it। In the meantime I will be creating quite a comprehensive standard of uniformat assemblies that I can hopefully provide here in a couple of months। If any of you want to start messing with creating and editing the classifications i recommend saving out a copy of the text file located here and playing with it.
C:\Program Files\Revit Architecture 2008\Program\UniformatClassifications.txt