Archive for April, 2011

Measurement, is it necessary anymore?

I’ve followed a discussion on LinkedIn recently where a student posted a comment seeking help on advice for the measurement of centre lines for some taking off he was doing. It caused quite an interesting conversation to develop that, instead of giving the guy the actual answer he was looking for, a whole debate ensued about the merits or otherwise of measurement.

One part of the debate centred on a clients view that he did not see it necessary to pay for a BOQ to be produced anymore, accepting that someone had to do it, but not his Consultant QS. His view being it gave him little or no value, so why pay for it.

It ended up in a traditional ‘old school’ view that BOQ’s are very necessary against a more modern and pragmatic approach, to what is really important in the process of construction quantification.

So should we be bothering to measure out all sorts of quantities in great detail anymore?

Or should we be taking a different approach?

This kind of continues on from my blog of last week about BIM and bills of quantities being on the way out.

I don’t think we’ll ever get away from the need from having to have projects quantified, as at some point someone has got to put either a cost plan or a budget together and eventually someone will end up constructing the project and will need to understand the basic component parts of it.

After all somewhere along the line the costs have got to be controlled, and with the correct quantification of the project you stand a very good chance of at least achieving that!

It’s just to what level of detail will you be going?

And who will it be produced by?

Man or machine?

Let me know what you think in my poll.

BOQ’s are dead, long live BIM!

There seems to be quite a bit of chat around at the moment about BIM so I thought I’d have a read of one or two of the articles that I found and share some of them with you.

The first article that caught my attention was from the JCT of all people in their JCTNews April 2011 publication that came out with ‘building’ magazine recently. Then along with that I saw an article in the RICS Modus magazine (page 17) about BIM take up in the UK. Then I found on LinkedIn a discussion in the building industry group that provoked some interesting comments, this also has a link to the NBS with the report they published in March 2011.

So, what is BIM and why will boq’s be dead?

BIM is – Building Information Modelling –  and it’s not new, it’s been around for a while.

Why will boq’s be dead? Well actually they won’t it’s just the way they go about being produced will change.  You see BIM is all about integrating all aspects of the design and specification on a project. Yes it’s about CAD and 3D modelling of projects, but the interesting bit about it is that if we all collaborate and get our act together we will be able to save thousands of pounds off the cost of construction projects. The hard part is getting everyone to buy into it and see the benefits, and at the moment there are too many sceptics around. And also the cost is too prohibitive on smaller projects – at the moment.

The report I liked the best was produced by the NBS as it seemed to portray things warts and all, and gave some great statistics of the participants in their survey, like:

  • 43% had never heard of BIM
  • 64% don’t agree that BIM is all about the software
  • 81% agree that it brings better co-ordination of construction documents
  • 85% agree that in 5 years time they see themselves adopting it for at least some of their projects

Why aren’t we using it more now? I don’t know, but the comments at the end of ‘BIM – the long view from architectural and design practice’ by Robert Klaschka from Studio Klaschka may give you the reason why, (that’s in the NBS report by the way).

Either way it’s an exciting future and I think as quantity surveyors we should be embracing this new technology and endeavouring to make everyone’s life easier in the construction process, instead of ignoring it and thinking it will go away!

If you want to read the RICS defintion of BIM click here

You can also follow Studio Klaschka on twitter @studioklaschka

Double Dip Time?

Here we go then….the Construction Products Association is saying we are in for a rough ride again this year and next year too. They predict that this year output will fall by 0.8% and next year by 2%. This will make it the most miserable time for many of us if that’s true.

‘The Mail’ on line even predicts the same (but don’t they always) stating that construction output in the three months to end of February fell a massive 18.3%, fuelling fears that things are about to get even tougher as this is all before the government’s austerity measures kick in.

The IMF has also downgraded it’s 2011 growth forecast for the UK to 1.75% (it’s third downgrade this year)

Yet here is some contradictory evidence.

Take a look at this from the Train4TradeSkills News section. They quote from the Markit/CIPS UK Construction PMI Index ‘UK construction companies reported a strong end to the first quarter, with activity rising at a similar pace to the eight month high recorded in February’.

So what’s going on?

What do you think?

Is it all doom and gloom out there or are there chinks of light for you and your business?

I’d be really interested to hear your views on this. 

I know for us it’s one hell of a rollercoaster ride, one moment you are really busy and the next you are in the doldrums, but then that’s the joys of being in this game isn’t it?

And on a lighter note perhaps we should all go to Brazil and build Lego towers instead…


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About Me

I’m now the Managing Director of Mynott Associates Limited my own specialist measurement business. I’ve been in the industry all of my life since I left school. My first job was with Bovis Construction as a management trainee where I trained to become a quantity surveyor. I’ve worked for contractors all through my career, I am FRICS, FCIOB and MCIHT qualified and act as an RICS assessor. I’m also a keen Arsenal supporter having followed them from a young boy

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