Using BIM to lower the lifetime cost of a building (1/3): The design phase


MagiCAD Group

White Paper

Building Information Modelling, BIM, is being used by a growing number of architects, engineers and contractors in order to make the design and construction of buildings better, faster and more cost efficient. In this series we will look into how an investment into BIM will help reduce costs and improve efficiency throughout a building’s lifecycle from the design phase to construction and finally to facility management.

The design phase

An investment into BIM will start to deliver cost savings to building owners from the very first moment when a building is conceived. Here are some of the ways in which BIM processes help lower the lifetime cost of a building already during the design phase.

Bid process

Bids submitted for a construction project may not always reveal very accurate information on the true cost of the project and the components involved, leaving plenty of room for individual interpretation. BIM practices allow building owners to require a quantity survey that includes pricing information on each project item. Accurate bids will help limit uncertainty, mistakes and waste in all subsequent stages of a project.

Product manufacturer analysis

When taken as a whole, the day-to-day running of a building will depend upon the installed MEP elements. Employing products with accurate manufacturer specifications in the design phase results in better projection of potential future issues. Problems can be corrected early and designs can be easily revised, with all stakeholders benefiting from open communication. Thus, an early investment in BIM-technology has a direct impact on the later costs of a building project.


Producing a quantity take-off of required building materials based on a detailed 3D BIM model provides a far more accurate interpretation compared to a 2D drawing. In addition, BIM allows for real-time online management and overview of material use, helping to reduce material waste throughout a project. Not only will an accurate material take-off and management result in direct cost-savings, it will also contribute to a greener and more sustainable construction project.

User experience

An accurate 3D BIM model of a building makes it easier to obtain important stakeholder feedback. Involving the user community early helps limit the risk of future alterations due to spatial and functional issues that may have been invisible to the designer, but are immediately felt by end-users. In short, better inclusion of end-users helps produce successful buildings.


Today’s technology enables building owners to demand ‘green’ buildings. In connection, energy usage analysis has emerged as one of the biggest benefits to using BIM. Modern software can help designers estimate future consumption. This, in turn helps architects to better understand how their work impacts a building’s energy use and facility managers can use the information for benchmarking a building’s energy system.

Read more in our new white paper: Using BIM to lower the lifetime cost of a building