Leveraging Revit models to assist with quantity takeoff [QTO] for project estimating
Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) is a REIT, headquartered in Columbia, Maryland, that owns, manages, leases, develops, and selectively acquires office and data center properties. A few years ago, COPT made the investment to transition to Revit and BIM workflows. CADD Microsystems worked with COPT to execute this transition, integrating the unique way the COPT design team would leverage Revit as an owner. COPT had implemented Revit software and BIM workflows in production and wanted to begin leveraging their Revit models to assist with quantity takeoff [QTO] for project estimating. They also wanted to find a way to handle different tenant suites on the same floor within a building, to allow them to isolate and share specific information with tenants.
COPT's construction team uses Excel for their estimating, and the design team wanted to find a way to give the estimating group the information they required without having to measure and count off the drawings. They requested a one-click ‘magic button’ that took all the schedules in Revit and put them in an Excel document in the correct format. There were specific formatting requirements for the design team and the estimator's information in Excel. They also wanted to find a way to get the additional data they needed while minimizing the amount of added work and change to workflow. The CADD consulting team began by completing discovery and determining what information the team needed and their formatting requirements. Having previously worked with COPT on their BIM workflows in Revit, the consulting team knew data needed to be added to the Revit files to provide all the information the estimators needed.
The CADD team began by building all the schedules needed in Revit, updating content so the needed data would be automatically generated and/or calculated. They then determined the best workflow and created several sample projects to test and gather feedback from the COPT design team. During this testing period, the CADD consultant built their requested ‘magic button’ in Dynamo. This one-click button would ask the designer where they want their file to be placed and automatically generate the file with all the required data for the estimators. This Excel file merged schedules into an Excel worksheet, included color formatting, and was very user-friendly. While testing out the Dynamo script, the COPT team raised a need to split the changes for the estimators, requiring only a portion of the model to be included. This presented an opportunity to adjust the current workflow and include a suite parameter in the model, allowing every element to be assigned to a suite.
Prior to exporting, the design team could filter the schedules to show specific suites so that they could create separate files for each specific customer suite. This solution also resolved another identified challenge - being able to share drawings with tenants without showing details of other tenants. COPT was able to now isolate a specific suite, without revealing any other tenant information. To ensure adoption of the Dynamo QTO export and the adjusted workflows, the CADD consultant added an additional section in their Revit workflow manual outlining the QTO process, the schedules created, and how to find and launch the ‘magic button.’ This reviewed how to start a new project in Revit, and how to apply the changes to existing projects and buildings. In addition to updating the workflow manual, the CADD consultant reviewed the workflow in one-on-one training sessions with the COPT team to ensure the team understood the workflow and allowed for additional feedback and adjustments.
QTO will drastically reduce the amount of time estimators spend gathering necessary data by pulling data that already exists in Revit and adding it to Excel in a user-friendly format. With the change allowing for suites to be isolated in drawings, estimators will now have the exact information they need for a specific suite while not adding any additional time to the designer’s workflow. This also creates a better client experience by creating an easy-to-understand, clean, and simple view of their suite. It also prevents any possible security issues where tenants could see into other suites. While working with COPT, the CADD consulting team was able to find resolutions to two challenges with one solution. The implementation of Dynamo QTO export will provide the design team with an efficient way to share required information with the estimator team in a detailed and user-friendly Excel file.
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