As the industry drives toward increasingly digital processes to maximize efficiency, it is no longer just a matter of getting the job done, it’s about staying competitive. In a recent report, KPMG cited the jarring statistic that only 31% of all construction projects come within 10% of the predicted budget. That stat alone tells us that in order to do better, better tools are needed to help our teams improve how they control construction cost and manage change. It’s not just for the benefit of individual firms, but for the industry as a whole.
This is why we launched BIM 360 Cost Management earlier this year, and since the launch we have responded to feedback from our partners, continuing to refine and enhance the system to help you better manage all cost-related construction activities. We wanted to give you better control over your financial workflow so you can focus on the process of building.
Below are four notable enhancements designed specifically to help automate and simplify the change process, making it easier for you to manage with clarity and precision.
Previously, users needed to have a good understanding of the change process to move items through the system and understand why specific actions might not be available at different points in the process. We wanted to help take some of the guesswork out of the process and make it more intuitive, streamlining the flow and making it easier for teams to manage and adopt.
Now, as users move cost items through the change process, BIM 360 provides selectable workflow-based actions that offer options for the next steps to take. These actions are designed to help advance you through the system while also automatically updating statuses accordingly.
For example, in the following video, on the top of the details flyout panel, you see the workflow-based actions appear as we move an 'open' Request for Change Order (RCO) through the process to generate an Owner Change Order (OCO). The option to create an OCO only appears once the RCO is submitted and accepted. By adding this level of automation, the process is easier to understand and manage.
Flexible Generation of Supplier Change Orders (SCO)
Although users could always generate Supplier Change Orders (SCOs) it wasn't clear why the option would sometimes not be available. Now, with the addition of workflow-based actions, the opportunity to generate an SCO is only made available once the item has transitioned to a specific status making the process clear and eliminating any confusion.
Users will only be prompted to generate SCOs from a Potential Change Order (PCO) with a budget and cost status of Open, a Proposed Request for Quote (RFQ), an Accepted Request for Change Order (RCO), or an Approved Owner Change Order (OCO).
Generating a SCO from a Submitted Request for Change Order (RCO).
When generating an SCO, users can easily create a single SCO by selecting the checkbox next to the cost item within a parent. Or they can create a SCO from selected cost items within one or more parents.
Customized Tab Naming
Hello, flexibility! Project Admins now have access to customize the default subtab names (Cost Items, PCO, RFQ, RCO, OCO, SCO) within the Change Order tab. This level of customization allows teams to avoid confusion and enhance their workflows by incorporating the terminology they already use into their system.
Fundamental Forecasting Functionality
As the first step to incorporating forecasting functionality into Cost Management, we have added new columns in the Budget & Contracts tab, which allows users to make forecast adjustments, view forecast final costs, and forecast variances.
To help demonstrate how you might use this feature, let us look at a real-life example. You have an approved budget of $5,590,416.37 for your internal site management staff; you can see this in the Projected Cost column within the Budget tab. Every month when you get your actual costs in, you can input the amount in the new Actual Cost column. If you don’t make any adjustments that month in the Forecast Cost to Complete column and the Forecast Final Cost column, you will see the same total as the Projected Cost column.
Now if you need to add two more staff to the project, this will clearly increase the final cost beyond what was initially approved. This is where the Forecast Adjustments column comes into play. Click to open the edit forecast adjustments window and add a line item for each staff member. Once the adjustment is complete, the Forecast Adjustments Column will display the total adjustment amount, and the Forecast Cost to Complete and Forecast Final Cost columns will reflect the change. You can also easily view the variance in the Forecast Variance column. Teams now have fundamental forecasting functionality at their disposal.
Additional usability improvements:
- Formatted Budget Export: The Budget view can now be exported as a formatted csv file to show change order references underneath each budget item.
- Attach xCO to to existing xCO: Flexibility to make last minute additions to existing change orders. For example, adding a new Potential Change Order (PCO) to an existing Request for Change Order (RCO) or Owner Change Order (OCO).
- Relative Codes: Users can now collate multiple PCOs into a single RCO and multiple RCOs into a single OCO etc. So while we have a system code for each cost item, we generate a code relative to each part of the change process. Likewise, with an RFQ and SCO they can be set as sequential per supplier or project.
- Budget Transfer History: Budget transfer history shows a complete audit trail of transfers which can be exported to csv.
These powerful enhancements are designed to help you navigate through the change process and make it easier for all users to manage and adopt.