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Unlock the Power of
3D Estimating

Originally aired on 09/20/2022

62 Minute Watch Time

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Transcript

Lance Stephenson:

Well, good morning, good afternoon, and good evening to anybody who is joining us. Welcome to another webinar offered from AEC International. My name is Lance Stephenson, and I’m the director of product integration for the Technical Board of the AEC. These webinars, it’s our way of providing educational opportunities for people as well as promote cost engineering techniques and fundamentals for our membership and other project personnel. So in today’s session we’re going to be talking about where we can focus the power of 3D estimating, which is offered to us by InEight. They’re an organization within the project delivery world that provides solutions for users in delivering their projects.

Today we have AJ Waters, who is the vice president of Industry Solutions, as well as Dale Dutton, who is a project delivery consultant. In regards to housekeeping of our session today, we’re going to ask that people provide any of their questions in the question tab. Please try not to put these in the chat tab, but put them in the Q and A tab. That would be greatly appreciated, as well as if others can give us a thumbs up or identify which of the questions resonate with them the most. This will allow us to cue the questions and put them in priority based on the number of likes they get, those kind of things. The presentation will be offered to others as well through I believe it’s going to be distributed through an email, and so if people want to see the presentation, they will be able to at that particular time.

And then also AJ Waters as well as Dale Dutton will have contact information I believe at the end of the presentation. So with that said, let us begin our presentation. Welcome, Dale and AJ. Appreciate you being here.

 

Dale Dutton:

Thank you, Lance. Appreciate that. Hello and welcome to our webinar, Unlock the Power of 3D Estimating. My name is Dale Dutton as mentioned, and I’ll just give a quick intro of myself. The first 30 years of my career was with a construction engineering firm. In that time span, I wore many different hats, and some of those included using and managing design software, and then extending those design models into construction. That is really where my passion lies, is transforming design models into construction and owner models. I joined InEight a little over seven years ago, where I get to live out my passion by working with clients on how models can be effective in project management and project execution. So with me today is not Samantha Rookey, but AJ Waters. AJ?

 

AJ Waters:

Hello, everyone. If you were expecting Samantha, I apologize. A little baby boy had other plans for her today, and so I’m pinch hitting for Samantha. My name is AJ Waters Vice President of Industry Solutions here today, and I do have a background in estimating. I spent a little over a decade estimating for a large general contractor. I did commercial work, power work, infrastructure work, and then also spent time working for a company that deals in large capital projects, data center construction. So that’s kind of my history, and technology in this space has always been something that I enjoyed, so the transition to InEight was pretty easy, but in talking about today’s webinar, I have a lot of history with different takeoff solutions including but not limited to 1D then maybe 2D, and then now we’re at three.

So here we go. A little bit about InEight, first and foremost, if you haven’t heard of us, or this is the first time you’re understanding what InEight does, InEight is a project management integrated project controls platform, if you will, for the capital projects’ industry. We have offices around the globe and customers in over 60 countries. And as you can see, there’s some of the stats on how many users and such, but really we’re going to focus in on a specific area of the platform, however, it is a full on integrated solution.

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, this slide shows InEight’s products and the business processes that are supported by those products, and as AJ mentioned, we provide an integrated project controls platform. And so today our topic will really center around the virtual design and construction along with the project cost management categories. So if we take a look at 3D models are prevalent on most projects today, but there is a gap in the utilization of them for pre-construction and during construction activities. So as projects become more complex and the need for reduced timeframes to get the estimate out the door, technology and processes need to change. So the five learning objectives that we will cover today are learn how 3D models can be useful in reducing the time to utilize project quantities into an estimate, quickly validate quantities to avoid major mistakes, easily update quantities in your estimate, learn by two real life examples of why companies have chosen to use 3D models, and then showcase how technology can help to solve the problem.

 

AJ Waters:

So I find it funny that I get to handle this slide, because it says, “In a galaxy far, far away,” and talks about the evolution of takeoff, but I’ve lived through this entire evolution of takeoff, so I’m kind of feeling a little bit of the pain of growing through this when a younger person may have written this slide, but if we go back in time a little bit, some of you may know, some of your may not. It’s called a blueprint for a reason. Way back when, there was a piece of paper that was Mylar and blue ink, and that’s how we put together these drawings. And in order to take something from this drafting machine and turn it into some sort of takeoff, a lot of you are probably wondering, “What does he mean one dimensional takeoff or 1D takeoff?” Well, what I meant by that was we didn’t color anything. We didn’t have 2D. We didn’t draw shapes or anything. We hand calced it all, right?

That’s actually one of my early takeoff sheets from way back when, and you didn’t color. You didn’t do a lot of anything on a screen. It was all hand calced, and you were totaling on the right and trying to come up with your quantities, and in doing all that work, maybe you were lucky enough to have a box of colored pencils to keep track of where you were on the drawing, so you’d maybe color over your drawing, and then highlight on your list there what was that color. As we progressed, we got this fancy little thing called a digitizer. I remember the first time I got a digitizer. I actually hated it, because I lost track of where I was on the drawing. I didn’t have a way to write it down anymore.

And so I kind of went back to the old way in color coding, but the digitizer was kind of the first step. If you were really lucky, some estimating softwares would let you plug the digitizers quantity right into the system, and so it was a place where we could start to utilize a little bit more intelligent. The math, you wouldn’t have to do the calcs in your head, which was becoming cumbersome the more complex projects got. What we don’t have a picture for in here was kind of the third phase of this that I recall, which is the 2D takeoff solutions on a computer. One of the things that I was handed early on, I was still the youngest guy in the department at the time, so I got handed the first license to On Center’s On-Screen Takeoff that we ever had, and got told, “Hey, you learn this and then teach everybody else how to use it.”

And so that was kind of the last phase, right? The last evolution of the takeoff software was to be able to draw on a PDF to scale it up and to have all the calculations happen, and you could do multiple measurements at once when you did a concrete area. It also knew the perimeter, or you could give it a thickness for volume and such. And so that evolution got us basically one step closer, but there were still some hiccups or some places where manual entry into the estimating system, or just the sheer fact that you’re coloring up these two dimensional drawings gave you issue. So that’s kind of the way that things progressed over time when it came to quantities. Dale, from your side of the house, how did things progress over time with the model?

 

Dale Dutton:

So if we take a look at design, as time evolved, the board design really transformed into computer aid design. So that would be CAD drawings, right? And then the 3D design models really started back in the nineties, and then those design drawings were developed or extracted from those 3D models, but these were not 3D models with intelligence at this time. So there was additional CAD work needed to annotate all those drawings to create the construction drawings. The digitizer pen was still utilized to capture those drawings even off of the computer aided drawings, and then it’s my guess in the early to mid nineties, Excel started to become the norm for quantities and estimating. So if the contractor did not have a specific estimating software, they would use Excel. The process was still the same though. The estimator would utilize CAD drawings to acquire those quantities, capture them into Excel, and then let Excel to do the calculations and the summations.

 

AJ Waters:

So that’s kind of our look back into quantities into how we got to what we know as drawings, but where are we today with our drawings?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah. In the mid to late nineties, CAD systems were being developed to create intelligent models, meaning when a designer placed a model object in the 3D environment, the database connected to those. The CAD system received the design information, information like length, width, size, weight, volume, area, and so on, right? So a lot of that time was saved in creating the design, the drawings, and minimizing that annotation, since much of that data actually come from the model. So automated plan drawings, and sections, and isometrics, they were easily extracted from the 3D model from that time. Engineers were able to actually get data from the model environments also instead of using Excel to get those lists that they needed.

Then for the past 10 years, some construction companies have been utilizing that data dump from the 3D models into Excel to gather those quantities. Now, I think it’s fair to say that all models will not provide all quantities needed for an estimate, meaning that everything in an estimate is not even represented inside that model. We need to remember that the main purpose for 3D models is to create construction drawings. So in addition to the plan drawings, there are miscellaneous detailed drawings that provide that gap information not shown on plan drawings. So some of this gap information is just simply not in the model. Engineers and architects will develop 3D models today with intelligence, but only to the extent that meets their needs in developing construction drawings. Now, there is an exception that the engineering firms within large construction companies will develop more data as needed for construction.

 

AJ Waters:

So that’s a really important point that Dale makes here. Number one, not all companies are created equal when it comes to what kind of data they have access to. Not all owners are created equal when it comes to what data they require, and then at the end of the day, each one of us is going to have different points or stages throughout the preconstruction process where we have access to more or less information. So when we talk about that, especially when it comes to both CAD and 3D model intelligence, let’s take a look at how kind of the difference between the 2D and the 3D availability can vary for our takeoffs. So first and foremost, your traditional takeoff when it comes to a 2D drawing.

So if we’re talking about a concrete slab like the floor of a building, right? Typically, you calculate the volume of the concrete based on the dimensional data, and you have either cut sections or call outs that are going to give you your thickness, right? Rebar, sometimes you have the understanding of what, again, the cut section is for the rebar, especially on the footings. A lot of times though you’re going to use some sort of pounds per cubic yard or pounds per variable number when it comes to estimating your rebar. As for the form work, depending on, again, what kind of slab it is, you may use a perimeter number. You may do an area. If it’s a thicker slab, it’ll be by a squared area. And then there’s waterproofing that also could be linear based on a perimeter or a square footage. So each one of these little pieces of the slab and the concrete takeoff has its own varying amounts of calculations that we have to do when we’re looking at it two dimensionally.

 

Dale Dutton:

So if we take a look at that from a 3D takeoff, if we take a look at the concrete first, simply we’re going to use the volume data within the model on that object to push that summed quantity into an estimating software or into Excel. This would certainly help save time over typing the information in to the estimating software, and then if we take a look at form work, again, we would use that dimensional data, the length, the width, the thickness to do some of those calculations. Now, an estimator would possibly need to define the form work calculations for all of the different sizes of foundations, but in an automated calculation within the model, you would apply that same criteria to all foundations, which makes us a little bit faster method in gathering those quantities.

And then if we take a look at waterproofing, very similar to the form work. We’re utilizing that area of the sides and the top to determine what the quantities are for the waterproofing. And then if we take a look at rebar, now, most likely there will not be any rebar modeled for a pre-construction estimate, but not at least from the architectural or the engineering CAD model. So these quantities may not be available at the model at this time. The rebar will be modeled in a fabrication model. So depending on when the estimate is generated, whether the quantities came from the drawings, and then possibly utilize that model as a validation of what was estimated.

 

AJ Waters:

So here’s a quick little story, and Dale is going to kind of build this slide out along with me. So I’m going to help him kind of where to do the clicks on this one, because this happens to be a mistake that is real, and before Dale and Samantha weren’t really allowed to share where this mistake came from. So you all know, it’s actually my whoops way back when. So way back when we were doing a hotel estimate, and we were using at the time On Center’s On-Screen Takeoff, so we had 2D takeoff. We were taking off the concrete for each one of the floors. So we had floor 1, 2, 3, and 4, and you’re seeing it on at listed here as drawings. Well, that’s for a specific reason. The first drawing, the second drawing, the third drawing, and the fourth drawing, we did our takeoff, however, there was a note on the first drawing.

This drawing is for level one and two. In other words, they duplicated it, and actually we pulled this off a different set of plans. In the real world, it was floor seven and eight of a nine story building, and so there was no second structural drawing four floor eight. We skipped it. We went right over the top of it. And funny enough, we had it in the DD estimate. When we got the CDs, we missed it. So we didn’t double check our quantities. There were a lot of things that went wrong, but when it comes to a typical slab in a building, a lot of you will go, “Well, that’s not too bad, concrete on metal deck. It’s not all that thick. Weld with wire mesh. Hopefully it wasn’t that big.”

Well, in fact, this particular building was the slabs were post-tension concrete floors. So they were much thicker than your traditional slab on deck. Also, we had the false work from the false work sub. We had the post-tensioning from the PT sub. So really all we missed was the concrete material and the production, the labor to place the concrete. That’s what we were doing ourselves. And we did not catch it until they were halfway up the building, and we were killing our productions. We were really, really ahead of the curve, but our costs were way out of whack, and we couldn’t quite understand why, and we went back and we found that we missed this particular floor. Luckily, we had some contingency on the project. It was more than enough to cover for that particular whoops, but it wasn’t exactly the way our project manager wanted to spend contingency on that job.

 

Lance Stephenson:

AJ, it’s funny you say this. Just to add to this, because usually what happens when you win a bid, everybody, “Congratulations.” Everybody is celebrating, “Yes, we won, we won.” And then the next question is, “Okay, what did we miss?” Right?

 

AJ Waters:

Yep.

 

Lance Stephenson:

The celebration goes to, “Oh, crap. What did we miss?” And that’s exactly what happens ina lot of things. My boss always told me, “If you ever want to win the bid, just pull out a couple of the drawings and throw them in the garbage.” Right?

 

AJ Waters:

Yes.

 

Lance Stephenson:

And so there’s definitely ways to look at this, but I appreciate you owning up to this, because it’s happened to all of us.

 

AJ Waters:

Yeah, it was a learning experience. It was the first bid that I ran myself, where I wasn’t just one of the estimators on the job. And so it was definitely something to learn from, however, the reason we’re here today is to unlock the power of estimating this in three dimensions. So Dale, what could have we solved for had we had the model?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, the first thing you’ll see here is that there is level 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. So we know immediately that we have all the levels accounted for. Inside the model you can easily see what have I estimated, what have I not estimated, so you can visually go back and look at, Lance, to your question, “What have we missed in the bid,” right? So you can take a look at that. So you’ll notice here that the total takeoff quantities were 48,108 cubic yards, and then if we take a look at the difference of what was estimated compared to the 43,899. So the model is a visual aspect for you, allows you to utilize that data to help you identify what have I done, what have I not done, and where do we need to go?

 

AJ Waters:

So that’s an example of something that’s relatively easy, right? Structural drawings, they’re all called out. You see the foundations. You see the slab. You get cut sheets, all those different things. What about something that you have to do takeoff for that’s not drawn, like studs, right? So a lot of times when it comes to doing takeoff for studs, if you’re doing drywall takeoff, first of all you’ve got to measure the walls, right? And a lot of times that’s done in inches because of the scale of the drawing. So you measure your studs, then you realize the studs are spaced at 16, or 12, or whatever the stud spacing is on center, which is why you like to keep the calculation in inches, so that you can divide by stud number and get to your total count of studs for that particular wall section.

This is a little bit trickier, right? Because it’s not something that’s as detailed in the drawings often. Again, you may get an odd cut section, but typically you’re just getting notes that call out studs 16 inches on center or 12 inches on center, but it’s also not modeled either, right, Dale? So what can you do to speed this up with a model if it’s still not there?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, that’s exactly right. Studs are not modeled in the 3D model. There’s just no value for the designer to take the time to model all those studs, but they still need to be estimated, right? So to save time in taking off multiple walls at once, that would be the benefit of this compared to your plan takeoff drawings. So how would I do that? So within the model we could use what we call data transformation operations, so DTOs in short. We can create repeatable processes, calculations, and add custom data to those model objects. So we can create a DTO to look at all the walls and then calculate the number of studs that would be needed for each one of those walls. And by doing that, again, we’re doing all walls at the same time and not onesie-twosie-threesie-four as we go through that.

Then once we’ve got those calculations, we can simply push that summation of the wall studs into the estimate. Now, the real question comes is, well, how do you handle revisions? Because there’s always model revisions as you go through a project, even in the estimate side. How much time, I would ask. How much time do you spend going back through all those drawings to pick up those revisions, or how much time do you spend going back through that excel for those revisions if you used Excel or even a model dump into Excel? Inside InEight model, simply we would just run rerun those DTOs to find all those new model objects or extended objects, if you will, that need that new calculation ran on those. And the DTOs can be repeatable, repeatable process, and transferred from different projects.

 

AJ Waters:

All right, so I mentioned in the early introduction that I spent a lot of time estimating vertical building, so I’m a little biased, but there’s other things that need to be estimated out there, and things tend to get more complex when you get into heavy industrial or mechanical type systems, including but not limited to piping systems. So gathering piping quantities, especially when you’re trying to do it from the drawings is tricky. A lot of times you’ll get multiple measurement types like linear foot or linear meter material locations. You’ll get specific bill of materials from the piping sub. You’ll get ISOs, but a lot of your drawings are just going to be lines. They don’t tell you much. Where are your fittings? Where are your valves? And so you’ve got a lot of ancillary calculations that need to be done that you’re doing, again, on the side either in Excel or in some third party solution all the way down to your pipe supports. And again, that the question becomes much like the studs, is this modeled? Is it not modeled? How do we this if we have a pipe run in a model?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, we can look at that simply utilizing that metadata within the model for those quantifications. And not only that, you can also use other metadata that you’re not going to receive from the design. Some things like construction work areas or construction phases, maybe you want to break up your model in different ways to actually estimate off of it opposed to just all lump ones into one category. So whether this data is pushed to Excel or directly into an estimating software, it needs to be cleaned up. So summing up those quantities from a model is a lot faster than going through plan drawings and/or a thousand isometrics to get those quantities. So if we take a look at I mentioned about cleaning up that data, so why would I need to clean up that data? There’s a lot of inconsistencies in the data, especially when it’s coming from different CAD systems like AutoCAD, or Revit, or Bentley, or SmartPlant.

There’s just different nomenclatures that those CAD systems use. Not only that, the designer at times may use all caps, or just one cap, or all small ladders, which really creates that inconsistency in the data itself, right? So I just kind of call that cleaning up that data. And then there may be some data in there like your length and your weight that you want to quantify, but the data is really in a text format, because it has those inches, or it’s got the feet marks, or it’s got pounds written there. So that makes it a really a text instead of a number. So I want to transform that into a number, so I can quantify it. And then I mentioned nomenclature a little bit. Again, depending on what system it’s coming from, it may not match the nomenclature that you really want to use inside your construction project or the owner.

And then parsing data. So in the piping systems there’s generally the system abbreviations in there that will help you. So when I get that model, and if I want to be able to select on a specific system, I really can’t do that. So I can parse that data out to break out all of those systems, and then I can click through those systems, and it will highlight in the model of being able to break that out, right? And then the last one I’ll touch on is concatenate data. There are times that you want to concatenate some parts of streams of data together to create your unique ID, and so we’re able to do that again with the DTOs of cleaning that information up.

 

AJ Waters:

So Dale, I’m not going to lie, I got into engineering because I preferred numbers over the English language. It was too difficult for me. So things like nomenclature can concatenate, parse out. Those are a lot of big words for a guy like me. What do you do to make this not so complicated?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, I agree this may feel a little overwhelming, but if we take a look at the engineers or the estimators that are actually doing this in Excel, they’re already doing the same thing in Excel. So they get the model dump of that data. They get it in Excel, and then they need to clean that data up and run some macros and those type of things to clean that data up to be useful in estimating. Now, this certainly would be a foreign concept to estimators that are using plan drawings and detail drawings to get those quantities, but again, I go back to that question, once I clean up that data, what happens when there’s a model revision? How easy is that to move forward with that, or do I have to start over? Right? So inside InEight model, we would just simply rerun those data transformation operations to generate that new usable data.

Now, the process is little more difficult with plan drawings. You’ll go through those. You’ll find those clouded areas, and you identify what you need to do with those new revisions, but then again, it’s not that easy with when you get that model dump into Excel or just Excel created off of those drawings. It’s a little bit harder to manage what those revisions are. So if we take a look at how that process may work, what you’re looking at here on the left hand side, we’re looking at InEight Model, and then on the right hand side we’re looking InEight Estimate, and those two systems are connected together where I can go inside the Estimate, identify and select on cost items that I want to estimate from the model. Then I would push those cost items over into the DTO area that we’ve already talked about, the data transformation area, and we would see that that same structure that shows up in the DTOs is that same structure that came from the estimate.

So it’s easy to match up one-to-one when we’re doing that. Then when we get those inside the DTO panel, we would select on each one of those cost items, and then hit a test button which will identify, highlight, select all of those model objects that are associated to that cost item. So here, we can validate did we grab all the model information that we need? Did we get too much, did we not get enough? And so I can go through and synthesize my selector criteria information to make sure that I’ve gotten all the right components to make up those quantities that I need to. Once I’ve done that, I can run all of those DTOs, which will quantify what those quantities are from the model, and then I would go over to the estimate, hit my sync button, and then a dialogue pops up that shows me what my model quantities are compared to my estimate quantities, so I can take a look to see what the differences are, and then identify which ones I want to push over into the estimate.

So I would simply click those, hit accept, and those quantities would show up inside the estimate. Now that I’ve made that link, there’s a couple toggles that I can say frame in the model and select those. So as I go through the estimate, I can select on each cost item, and you’ll see the model interact with you showing you which model objects were used for those quantities. So go to the next slide. There we go.

 

AJ Waters:

So now that we’ve kind of talked about a few concepts, let’s talk about a couple of success stories that we’ve seen with this, And Dale took my vertical build success stories, so I’ll tell the power one. So the issue was in the power industry, we were working with a customer, and they had a similar issue to my issue. They had estimated a two on one power plant. The owner liked the bid, but decided they wanted to go three on one, and so the contractor tried to make some tweaks to the original estimate, moving some quantities around, doubling certain pieces, copying, pasting systems over, and ended up missing an entire system. Obviously, the client really liked that bid, and they lost some money there, right? So the mandate was made. Every estimate from now on will start with a 3D model.

Obviously, there’s immediate blow back, including from estimators like myself, just like when I was voluntold to learn how to use On Center or to use the digitizer. This is harder. It’s going to take more time. How are we going to get things done in our deadline? And so that was the immediate concern that these people saw, however, on the back end through the analysis, we realized, or they realized with our help, that they’re gathering quantities faster now. They can double check it easier.

You saw Dale kind of clicking through the model in the video and the highlights, so you can see if a floor is missing. It’s not lit up. And they were able to do more time doing the real estimating, crews, production factors, labor rates, equipment swap outs, et cetera, versus spending all of their time coloring a piece of paper to try to get to their final quantity count.

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, and I’ll take AJ’s vertical example. We’re looking at a manufacturing for vertical industry example, and the issue that they had was spending too much time on an estimate. So they had a mandate to reduce estimating time by 50%. It’s a huge ask, but they really needed to reduce that time to be more effective and win more projects. So the old process that they had was estimators would determine the buckets to group items in, but then engineering would come through and request different buckets. So they just had way too many opinions, and the buckets wouldn’t align from engineering to the estimating side. So the mandate for them was start using all models for each estimate, and the reason they did that, they would create a standardized bucket approach based off model criteria. That way that eliminated too many opinions of how you want to actually bucket those items.

So the new process, they made two significant changes in the way they estimated. One of them was to utilize model data for quantities. The success that they had was that they cut their estimate time by 70%. So a quote from this customer was our estimating time went from days to hours, so very successful in their venture. So now we have time for a poll and question that will show up on your computers, and while we’re waiting for you guys to go through and answer that, we will take some questions and see if we got some answers for those.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Well, yeah. Thank you for this, guys, so far. It’s interesting to see how the modeling can come into play, and how we can hopefully stop missing information and things like this. A couple questions come into play. One is from our experience, 3D models are as good as how many corners we cut to develop them. You guys had mentioned earlier as well that in some circumstances there’s not certain details that are going to be put inside the model, those kind of things. So this company or this organization uses Revit, and I used it numerous times to get quantities. We’re seeing artifacts and scope not in the final drawings or items mislabeled to complete the drawings. How does the software mitigate this? How do you create that gap control from not having a complete system per se in the model? That’s question one.

The other one is can quantities be developed per assemblies? So you’re looking at assemblies could be they consider it, say for instance, the total foundation where you got the rebar, the form work, concrete fitting… Sorry, the concrete finishing and all that kind of stuff, right? I’m used to seeing assemblies when I do a lot of estimating, especially in the process industry where we talk about a specific pump, right? Where that talks about the mechanical, the piping, the foundation, everything that’s needed to install that piece of equipment. So how does it handle that, those part two particular items?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, taking that first question, if I understood the question correctly, was the question that there was more model objects in the model than was on the plan drawings? Is that what the question was?

 

Lance Stephenson:

No, it’s about the gaps that the model will not be able to provide, just in case you want to finalize the estimate, because we know models to some degree will be incomplete, right? There’s going to be…

 

Dale Dutton:

Right. Yeah, [inaudible 00:38:55].

 

Lance Stephenson:

So that’s what they want to know. It’s how do you fill that gap?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, so going back to some of the examples we gave, one of those was, hey, I’ve got studs. Studs are not in the model, but how do I know if I’ve taken those off or not? So in your estimate, you would still have those cost items listed out in the estimate, and then you would know whether you got quantities from the model or not as you push those quantities over. So you can either go inside the estimate and tag the ones that you’re going to get model data from, and then you can easily filter. These are the ones that I’m going to get model quantities, and these are the ones that are not going to get model quantities, so you can easily see that.

You can use the same model objects for different quantities. For example, that wall example is that I need to know how much sheetrock I have. Well, I can use that wall for sheetrock, but then I can also use that wall for my studs, or I can use that wall for whatever I’m going to do, right? So you can use those model objects over and over. And then remind me of the second question.

 

Lance Stephenson:

So the second one is just-

 

AJ Waters:

I can take the second one for you, Dale.

 

Dale Dutton:

Kay.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Yeah, quantities by assemblies and things like this, right?

 

Dale Dutton:

Oh, yes, assemblies. Yep.

 

AJ Waters:

Yes. Yep. Yeah, one of the great things about feeding the model quantities into InEight Estimate is then you have all the capabilities of InEight Estimate at your fingertips, which includes assembly based takeoff. And so you could have that pump as an example in just go out and count how many times that pump shows up, and as you get that quantity into the assembly in Estimate, all of the child items that are associated like the foundation, any piping, instrumentation, et cetera, that have factors or calcs based off of that particular pump, they calculate themselves. Yep.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Yeah. So basically it’s about labeling and attributes around specific elements within the estimate. I’m going to ask one further question, and then this possibly can help out with any type of advanced work packaging, those type of approaches as well, because it allows us to bag and tag specific bulk items for installation as well as potentially even doing spooling and things like this, right? I can assume that it pushes out that type of response, right?

 

Dale Dutton:

Absolutely. And then just expand on that. That shows the power of the model, that it starts with pre-construction, and then it can be utilized for during construction activities. Yeah.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Yeah. Okay. Thank you. Fantastic.

 

Dale Dutton:

So are we ready to look at some of those poll questions and responses?

 

AJ Waters:

All right, so looks like we have primarily industrial and infrastructure, a little bit of building, so that’s good to see all you building folks. Do you use models for quantity? It’s almost a 50/50 split. I’m actually a little surprised by that, but also encouraged. That’s pretty cool to see that it’s that close to 50/50

 

Lance Stephenson:

AJ, it would be nice to know of that split if it’s in building industrial infrastructure. That would [inaudible 00:42:27].

 

AJ Waters:

That actually would be kind of cool to maybe take another look at that later and dive deeper.

 

Dale Dutton:

That would be.

 

AJ Waters:

Well, I guess the 50/50 was do you have a model? So that’s do you have a model 50/50? If you have it, are you using it for takeoff? It’s more, “Yes,” than it is, “No.” So if you have an accessible model, you are using it. That’s great to see. And then what are your pain points if you’re after that? Inconsistent, not enough data, not useful data, those are all big ones. Gosh, it’s almost split across the board on everything is right around 15% to 34%. So the not useful data is the bottom one. So Dale, in your experience, what do you do when there’s inconsistent data? You talked about this with the data cleanup a little bit. How do you handle that one?

 

Dale Dutton:

Right. Yeah, exactly. So you can certainly use those DTOs to normalize that data, and then, again, if you’re really working with one, or two, or three engineering firms, you can have a set of DTOs per engineering firm, right? Because generally they’re going to create that same inconsistency each time, so you can have different DTOs, so you don’t have to recreate those every time for every one of those projects, so that would certainly help out a lot.

 

AJ Waters:

Great.

 

Lance Stephenson:

It’s an interesting poll. That’s for sure.

 

AJ Waters:

Yep.

 

Dale Dutton:

All right. Any other questions out there?

 

AJ Waters:

Yeah, there’s-

 

Lance Stephenson:

Let me… There’s some really good questions in here. First of all, let’s talk about the software itself. Can this pair with other softwares? Does it take in? So for instance, can you use Revit or using other type of modeling applications? InEight receives that. Does it have any trouble with any other software systems, and then also what does it push to? Can it push to other estimating software? So we’re kind of seeing if there’s a book end approach that allows people to maybe connect to the system,

 

Dale Dutton:

Right. Yeah. And so I’ll certainly mention that this is not a design tool, right? InEight Model is a collaborator of those design authoring tools. So we certainly have a plugin for Revit. We have a plugin for Navisworks. We have a plugin for AutoCAD, and we have a plugin for .IFC type files, so we can bring those all together inside there. And then currently today, we’re only pushing to InEight Estimate. We don’t have a plugin for any other type of estimating system, but we can certainly push all of that data down to Excel as well, and then be able to use that to go into other systems.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Okay. No, I appreciate that. What about validation? What’s the validation then? If you guys have this, you guys probably have a fair amount of estimating data that you can start doing some comparables against and validating to see whether or not production rates are the same based on location, things like this. I can assume that you’re estimating models that come into play also has a benchmark, and historical data collection comes back in to allow you to do validation, but also allows you to fine tune your estimating process as well.

 

AJ Waters:

Yeah, that’s exactly right. Going back to kind of having all the power of the estimating system at your fingertips, benchmarking is a key piece of our estimating solutions. So you’ll get that analysis of both productions and/or cost per unit based on where you tend to focus. A lot of the self perform folks will tend to focus in on the productions, because they’re somewhat inflation proof, whereas others will focus in on the cost per unit to try to understand how it aligns in certain industries, so you can do either one of those and have a historical analysis, but that’s against your own database. So we’re very specific with that. We keep your data your data. We don’t publicize that to any other customers. So when you’re doing that historical analysis, it’s up against your own benchmarks. We can tie into some industry benchmark products that are out there, that have databases that they might sell. We can plug into those for you if you need, but for the most part, it’s going to be based off your own experience.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Does this allow people to put actuals back in, so they can validate what was estimated versus what the actual costs are, so they can fine tune their unit rate and production rates, those kind of things?

 

AJ Waters:

Yeah, for sure. So now you’re getting into you mentioned the AWP, the actual cost. When you talk about the integrated InEight platform, you can see where building things out here in pre-construction can be very beneficial long term in the execution of the project. And so, yes, we most definitely can round trip those actuals. Even if you don’t use our project control solution, we can import in those actuals for use in future benchmarks, as long as you as a company kind of know what your matching criteria is, whether it’s by description, or a cost code, or an account code, whatever your unique identifier is that tells you what things are across projects, then we match those up.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Yeah. No, that’s interesting. In regards to the estimating process, we recognize that AEC has a lot of products around estimating classification, whether it’s infrastructure, buildings, power systems, or process plans, things like that, and of course they have within that they have class five to class one estimates. Does the system help you align with an estimate classification? So you’re going from parametric estimating almost to detailed takeoffs pricing, because this, we’re seeing a lot about the takeoffs details and things like this. What about front end preconstruction as you’re talking about when you’re programming conceptual in the commercial space, but in industrial it’s going to be FEL1, FEL2, FEL3 kind of thing? So how does the system help compliment the type of classification systems that are out there?

 

AJ Waters:

Yeah, and maybe I’ll answer it from the estimating side, Dale. Maybe you could answer it as the model progresses as well, but one thing that the estimating system does allow you to do is exactly to your point. You can build out through the different classes the additional level of detail and essentially accordion out your structure. It could start with a dozen items in that first, and they’re all broad brushed quantities, or you mentioned parametric estimating. You could say, “You know what? I’m going to build a process plant. I know that it’s this big by this wide, has this many pumps and this many systems, and I’m going to be spitting out this kind of quantity,” and it gives you your first glance, your napkin sketch, if you will, of your estimate. And then as you progress along, you’re comparing that, right? So quantity growth is obviously something you’re going to be tracking, but also just changes to scope, and you have the ability to align each phase of the estimate back to the last one to see where those deltas are, and what kind of changes have happened.

Going back to that hotel example, one of the things that happened to us, we were in the early preconception. We just had a couple of cut sheets and a few floor plans, and we gave them a number, and then the first set of design deliverables came back with balconies, and we’d never seen balconies, and why are we adding balconies? And so our new number was much higher, and the client is like, “Well why is your number so… Why were you so off the first time?” And it was really easy to point to. You added balconies right here. So it allows you to piece through and kind of save off those options. Yeah, when it comes to the model, how do you handle those revisions?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, so let’s say early on in the project you’re getting a 30%, or even in the estimating phase, you may not get that whole model at one time, right? So you’re going to take those quantities, and you’re going to push that into the estimate, and then you’re going to get a revised model. Again, I mentioned those DTOs. You’d rerun those, you’d resynk that, and you’ll see a difference between the first time that you estimated with the model to the second time, and then those differences will be tracked inside Estimate. So as you just continue to get model revisions, you can do a model, convert a comparison as well from that last model, and see visually what those differences are, but then you’re just going to push up the latest quantities from that model to the estimate.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Yeah. No, I appreciate that. That’s actually I presented a paper on asset management and project life cycles, and one thing I talked about is when you’re doing estimates is a reconciliation process between each of the classifications. And so the nice thing about what I’m hearing is that it complements that approach, because I think at the end of the day, whenever we go through the stages or the estimate classification index, we can see what those comparisons are, and we could see where the growth is. Like you said, AJ, around adding balconies. I was working in the Cayman Islands. We had the owner wanted to add two floors. Now, that’s a huge change, right?

Now, they allowed for it structurally and mechanically, but they didn’t allow it because of the window glazing, because it was hurricanes, and so of course the spec changed. So those kind of things come into play that allows you to do that comparison, which is great, and that’s what we always need to ask ourselves is what has changed in our estimate to show this growth and things like this? Because at the end of the day, who do they always point to? It’s always the estimator, like, AJ, your first mistake, right there [inaudible 00:53:01].

 

AJ Waters:

Yep.

 

Lance Stephenson:

I stopped estimating 20 years ago because I kept getting it wrong, so I went into project management. So anyways, no, those are some of the things we have to look at. So I appreciate how the technology allows you to go circle back. It allows you to do the comparison, so you can become better, right? So you can get things, but I like also how it catches things for you too, because time is of the essence. They want you to do an estimate 50% shorter while either you put more bodies on it, or you use something to help expedite that, and the system allows you to do that, excuse me, which is great, so thank you.

One thing we talked about, we’re talking about a lot of the physical scope, we’re talking about piping, we’re talking about structural concrete, things like this. People were asking about the I in E scope, the instrumentation in electrical scope, right? It’s always the anomaly whenever you’re doing things when it comes to a project, right? Okay, people mostly try to avoid that. They got it all figured out. We’re not going to deal. What’s your inputs and outputs? That’s all you need to calculate, right? But that’s not necessarily the case. So how does your system kind of manage the instrumentation and electrical side of the works?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah. And in most designs you’re going to get the cable tray but you’re not going to get the conduit, right? That’s just not modeled like the studs. They’re not modeled in there, but I’ve seen construction companies that will come back through and actually model their conduit, so they can get those quantities up front, so they know what they need to go purchase and have a better idea of what they’re going to install. So that generally won’t come from the designer. That’d be on the contractor to get those modeled.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Same thing probably then when dealing in small bore piping and things like this, because depends on the type of process you’re dealing with. I was dealing with a [inaudible 00:54:51] burner in Western Canada, and our small bore two inch piping and blow was actually 65% of the project, because it needed a water cooling jacket and things like this. And so of course your estimate, you’re trying to figure out how to estimate all those quantities. Now, this was back 30 years ago when we built it. We actually had a model back then, but it was a physical model, and we did all our takeoffs on the model itself, if you can believe that. The model itself cost $2 million to make, but it was just very similar to what we’re seen today, right? So it’s kind of neat to see how we transfer that, but I’m assuming the same thing happens with small bore and piping systems, that those are some of the things we got to do our gap analysis, make sure that [inaudible 00:55:36].

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah. And I would say today most engineering firms in the power world, in the oil and gas, they’re actually modeling that small bore pipe, because they can get that spooled up at the fabricator and shipped out to the site. Now, your underground is still drawn, but probably not spooled up. Maybe some contractors are spooling the underground, but today, I would say all the small bore is being developed in the model.

 

Lance Stephenson:

I see that with process systems, but I don’t see it too much with utilities.

 

Dale Dutton:

Agreed.

 

Lance Stephenson:

When you’re dealing with [inaudible 00:56:08] and things like that, but at least they’re trying, right? They’re trying to put in effort, because that could be a missed scope, and depends on the type of whether it’s a power system versus a gas pump. They’re completely different in regards to how they use small bore versus large bore, right? Things like that. It’s really interesting.

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, it’s interesting.

 

Lance Stephenson:

No, go ahead.

 

Dale Dutton:

It’s interesting you brought up small board, because late nineties, early 2000s, that was not being done in the model, and basically the contractor would hire designers to go out to the field and actually design 2D the small bore, but then I think we finally got smarter that, hey, it’s still faster if I’m designing all the pipe in 3D that I can do it in-house and not have to pay for that person to be out in the field, and for the food and hotel, and whatever that is, all those expenses to put them out at the site.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Yeah, most definitely. You’re dealing with a lot more alloys when it comes to small bore, especially on pulp and paper clients, when you’re dealing with a lot of stainless steel, right?

 

Dale Dutton:

Right. Yep.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Any type of alloys like that, and you run into… And a lot of that is small bore, so there’s a heavy… It’s triple the cost to some degree, right? So it’s interesting how you’re able to handle that. One person, they come from Mexico where it’s not common to use a model, a 3D model, so how can we introduce the software into an organization that does 2D approach?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, [inaudible 00:57:36].

 

AJ Waters:

Yeah, good questions.

 

Dale Dutton:

Okay, go ahead, AJ.

 

AJ Waters:

Oh, go ahead, Dale. It’s good to say [inaudible 00:57:42] estimating.

 

Lance Stephenson:

If one of you guys don’t go, I’m going to go, okay?

 

AJ Waters:

Yeah, the estimating system is not reliant on the 3D model. In fact, it has 2D integrations as well. So we integrate with 2D takeoff solutions just like we do with 3D, so that you don’t have to manually hand punch those in. At the end of the day, you could just manually punch calcs in or quantities in if that’s what you had to do, because you didn’t even have 2D. So the estimating solution can run completely independent. The nice thing about the InEight system, if you were to look back at the intro slide at a later time or go to our website, you’ll notice that it is modular, and you can kind of pull these pieces out and use them independently as needed.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Sorry, I was on mute. No, I appreciate that. One other question here is around the system itself. It’s like any system, right? People are going to ask about access rights, privileges, and things like this. Can subcontractors use it when you’re on projects? You tie back into maybe an owner organization, who might want to see some of the quantities, things like this. I believe it comes down to the relationships, and how it’s set up, and I can only assume, and I’ll let you guys answer this, that there are authority and access rights, and you have a breakdown of who can see what and do what, right?

 

Dale Dutton:

Yeah, I was waiting for AJ to go, but, yes, we do have rights of who can get in there, and who can’t. Not only that, who has access to specific things. Do have read only rights, or do you have admin rights, or just standard rights, those type of things. Yeah.

 

Lance Stephenson:

I’m just curious to see if there’s more. One person asked if this model can incorporate change orders. We can assume that when you’re doing that comparison in regards to… The change orders is an output from an anomaly or a variance from the original scope to a current scope. So I can assume that it helps support the change order process, correct? The application?

 

AJ Waters:

Yeah, for sure. When you continue this process down through execution, right? As you build the model, you’ll start to uncover maybe some of those change orders, or you’ll get the request for additional scope, like you were mentioning more floors. So those changes will come through as you continue through to execution, and again, can support that process with either updated estimates, updated work packs, updated schedules, or all of the above.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Okay. No, I appreciate that. I’m just looking. Sorry, I’m looking at other questions, and it seems like there’s one here. “How does 3D model lineup with the estimate classes?” We talked about that one, so that’s pretty good. A lot of people were inquiring about that one. Talk about change. It looks like we’ve actually gone through a lot of the questions. If not, some of them were duplicated. Yeah, I think that’s it. I think we’re done. It’s actually at the top of the hour. It’s past the top of the hour, so on behalf of the ACE, I want to thank both you, Dale and AJ, for what you’ve been able to provide for us.

It’s very, very neat to see how we’re moving towards this, and we’re starting to look at asset management, and 5D, and 6D is coming out there, 7D, and everybody has a got a D behind some number or things like this. And so it’s quite interesting to see how we’re bringing it together. For the people that are still on, you can see Dale’s information. AJ, we don’t seem to have yours, so we’ll contact Samantha if need be, and then they can contact you.

 

AJ Waters:

Very similar, AJ.Waters, yeah.

 

Lance Stephenson:

There you go.

 

AJ Waters:

Same idea.

 

Lance Stephenson:

Yeah, and so here’s some information. I want to thank everybody for participating, especially you, AJ and Dale. Thank you so much for your contributions in helping us move forward with this. If anybody has any questions, please reach out to you, and this will be provided to the people who joined in on the conference call for the webinar. So with that I’d like to say goodbye to everyone and have a great rest of the day. Thank you, everyone.

 

AJ Waters:

Thank you all.

 

Dale Dutton:

Thank you. Bye.

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