Connect Your Estimator’s Knowledge with 5D Cost Estimating Software

Magnus Therkildsen

Construction is a tough business, and to stay ahead you must stay on top of ways to keep your costs down and your workflow efficient. As a general contractor or construction manager, you know that good understanding and planning is vital to your success, and you are meticulous in building your estimates, analyzing all the angles and drafting project plans before you ever break ground. Even with all that planning, time and cost overruns are still a major risk to most construction projects.  Many factors are at work, but most of them can be boiled down to: 

  • Poor insight and communication
  • Poor cost overview and planning 
  • Poor risk analysis or
  • Poor management

 Connecting Design to the Preconstruction Estimate

To reduce your risks and bring your project in on time and on budget, you need to connect all the moving parts as you move from 3D designs to an estimate and finally to construction itself. The preconstruction phase, when planned right, can help to minimize costs. Alternatively, a wrong decision in the project estimates and planning can snowball into big costs and bigger delays down the road.

That’s why many of us use an estimating and 2D/3D takeoff software such as the Sigma Estimates solution. This process connects the design quantities and information directly to the construction cost, materials and activities – ensuring fast and flawless updates and live simulation of scenarios and understanding of what is related to what – design, cost, plans, etc.

As the estimator works through analyzing all the design information, pulling in past experience, gathering information from internal and external stakeholders, and basically understanding how the project will be built in order to provide the detailed estimate, valuable information is created. This information should be utilized by the construction manager for further planning, purchasing, cost management and field execution, or to explore design alternatives.


Connecting the Preconstruction 5D Estimate to On-Site Construction

Now for the fun part. Let’s assume you have completed your estimate and it is time to relay this information to the construction manager in the field. This is where construction managers traditionally struggle as they are basically handed the design documentation and only a portion of the knowledge gained during the pre-construction estimating process. As such, the construction manager is essentially left to recreate the wheel resulting an inefficient redundancy that makes no sense and increases the costs and time of projects.

The missing piece: 5D Estimating 

Alternatively, Sigma’s 5D Estimating software enables’ the construction manager to easily access all that organized work and data with just a click – construction quantities, materials, equipment, tasks, and so on. Gone is the need to recreate the wheel. A construction manager can even click on any structure in the 3D model (such as a specific wall) and bring up exactly what tasks and materials are needed to build it and their costs and see the expected duration. Something that is also extremely useful in communication with the construction crews for instructions and relevant feedback.

To make things even smoother, the system ties design, pre-construction and field execution together at an early stage when estimates are made. All the players can see the estimates in advance. Sigma’s 5D cost estimating software may be integrated with Autodesk’s BIM 360 to make the entire process seamless. For example, you can upload a model into BIM 360 use Sigma to gain insight in the project cost and planning properties. Plus, you’ll be able to access historical data with one click from past projects or by RSMeans data from Gordian.  Simulate and adopt to the actual project situation. When you are finished, you can slice and dice the information in various ways depending on your needs. You can even click on any part of the digital model to bring up the estimates for that section of the project – invaluable on the job site.

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Using Sigma 5D Estimating Software 

  • Provide one common platform to define how the project is to be build, for all stakeholders, thereby eliminating redundancies, misunderstandings and saving time
  • Build a live 5D model, budget and cost estimate directly from a 3D model in BIM 360 or Revit with just a few clicks.
  • Slice and dice data in the full 3D to 5D model to create transparency and utilize the information for construction and design optioneering
  • Build historical cost databases and take advantage of recognized data providers like RSMeans data.
  • Automatically validate the data and create documentation to minimize errors and misunderstandings.
  • Begin construction quickly and provide the field with information they need for cost management, planning, purchasing, quality control and project close-out.
  • Enable faster and more accurate estimating and project understanding of all phases of your projects in one solution.

Learn more about 5D Estimating Software

To learn about how to use Sigma’s 5D cost estimating platform with Autodesk’s BIM 360, REVIT and other key tools, visit us at

You will find out how to 

  • Extract quantities from a 3D model in BIM 360 to connect with a 5D model, budget, or cost estimate
  • Slice and dice data from your 3D/5D connected model to use for planning
  • Build your own historical data or use RSMeans data with a click
  • Much, much more!

Learn to build a 5D model, budget or cost estimate in a few clicks!


About Sigma Estimates

Along with its other services, Sigma Estimates provides 5D cost estimating software for the AEC industry to mitigate estimating errors and save time. Sigma Estimates is an Autodesk integration partner who has worked with BIM and VDC for over 15 years. We have identified how to make 5D work across all construction phases from conceptualization to project closeout. The platform provided by Sigma enables users to embrace the next level of 5D VDC workflows. It’s easy to use and has a familiar interface, saves time for users at all stages, enables effective participation and drives BIM efficiency. Our clients who are implementing Sigma 5D estimating software are realizing success from their first projects. Web site 

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