Products & Solutions
August 11, 2023

5 Reasons to Invest in 5D

There was a time when 3D was the cutting edge. Whether it was seeing a movie in 3D or applying it to the workplace, the added dimension had a fantastic effect. Today, BIM has zoomed past the third dimension, making the software even more functional for the AEC (architect, engineer, construction) world. 5D BIM is useful for budgeting which is particularly important these days with rising prices making it challenging to maintain costs.


Let’s take a step back and define 5D BIM. As a reminder, 4D BIM brought schedule data, such as project duration and timeline, into the equation. The fifth dimension adds budget and costs to the model and helps with estimating. By generating cost estimates in the early phases and throughout the project, stakeholders have a clear sense of how project elements (and changes) impact the cost of a project. Earned value (the value of the work that has been completed versus what was planned or budgeted) can also be incorporated and helps planners recognize if they are staying on budget.


The information gained from 5D BIM is particularly applicable to owners and general contractors. These two users focus on budget integrity. As an owner, you're acutely aware of costs and make sure you have the financing to pay the ultimate tab. Regular insight into the budget can help ensure the final price tag is in line with expectations. As a general contractor, you want to get paid and maintain your reputation. Going over budget and presenting customers with a price beyond expectations will impact your reputation and bottom line. Keeping a close check on the budget and communicating with owners will lead to a better working relationship and final product.


Data is ready and available

Adding steps to the process, no matter how helpful, can be a difficult ask, especially since many firms are short-handed. However, BIM is already in widespread use. A buildingSMART survey found that nearly half of the respondents use BIM on 76% to 100% of their projects, and 23% use it on all of their projects. The software is more likely to be used on larger and more complex projects, which often go over budget.


However, a separate survey found that 41% of building companies use a limited form of BIM, meaning they're not using the software to its capacity. This is a waste but typical as companies generate significantly more data than they use. BIM standards are evolving, and contractors are producing highly sophisticated fabrication models with sufficient detail for tracking 5D. With the data available and BIM already being used on many projects, users can gain more insights and guidance into budgets.


The challenge for companies is to organize the work breakdown structure in the early stages of the project to align data standards across models and SOVs. A commitment to use the data at the beginning of the project ensures it becomes another responsibility and won't slip through the cracks.


When firms partner with Avvir and use their Progress 5D software which tracks project and scope costs against their Schedule of Values, the team can assist with mapping potentially 1000’s of SOV line items to their corresponding BIM elements. This allows the WBS and the BIM to speak the same language. When the elements are mapped to their correct unit rate, Avvir can quantify progress within the context of cost utilizing its automated progress tracking algorithm. This gives teams insights into the budget and informs their decision-making.


Benefits of 5D BIM

The benefits of 5D BIM and Avvir's Progress 5D are wide-ranging. The more complex the project, the more impact they have.


Faster review of payment applications

For example, a large complex project can involve hundreds of subs. Reviewing payment applications is time-consuming, as they can be hundreds of pages long, including supporting documentation. In theory, owners review the resources to ensure that every line item is being billed accurately. After all, ensuring subs get paid the right amount and regularly is essential for maintaining the budget. It also impacts scheduling and goodwill. No one wants to experience excessively long wait times for payment.


Yet, finding the time to review payment attachments is a huge undertaking. The process either gets pushed to the side or is completed with little review. With 5D analysis, owners can spend less time on site determining the percent complete (to certify work is complete and payment is due). Instead, they can utilize BIM and reality capture to determine the earned value of what has been installed to date. The work can be done whenever and wherever allowing owners to manage their time more effectively.


More transparency in the estimating and payments process

Whether you’re an owner answering to your partners or a bank/financial institution, you must be transparent about how the money was spent. If you’re the general contractor, you must be able to provide financial information for owners.


Deploying 5D BIM in the early stages of the project enables faster and more accurate model-based take-offs for the development of project budgets and estimates. There’s a clear understanding of the budget and monies spent throughout the process. With estimating and the payment process in sync, it's easy to understand how and why fees were paid. With 5D, project teams can have a transparent conversation about the progress on their job site and ultimately remove friction and delays in the payments process.


Better financial forecasting

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” George Santayana.


BIM serves as a repository for data, which is handy throughout the project and after its completion. Similarly, 5D allows teams to use historical data to help them throughout the project. By monitoring the percentage completed regularly, teams can project costs and manage their cash flow. They can review previous segments to help inform them about costs in later segments. Again, use the data to learn and make wiser decisions.


The data can be reviewed after the project when one makes a budget for future similar projects. Instead of getting caught up in overly optimistic (or pessimistic) projections, owners can review past projects for insights. This is also helpful for general contractors as they prepare bids. Anything that can help with the bid process, which is often a rush job, is useful. By giving a more reasonable bid, they can maintain their margins.


Enhanced collaboration and communication

Keeping everyone on the same page on large complex construction projects is challenging. If people are not on the same page, mistakes are more likely to happen, leading to more mistakes, rework, and confusion. Mistakes and uncertainty add to the bottom line and slow down the work process.


Using BIM, along with Avvir, can serve as a single source of truth and a central data repository. Complex data is available in a visual and easily digestible format. Including data that is relevant to costs/budgets is a no-brainer. The relevant players will have easy access to crucial information. It can drive decision-making and encourage wise choices so the budget meets expectations.



BIM 5D helps management keep projects in line with their budget. Avvir Progress 5D can uncover cash flow and budget risks by tracking installed value against subcontractors reported earned value for each line item in your SOV or WBS. It also improves visibility into the financial health of your project by accurately tracking work-in-place with reality capture from the field. When combined with other project data, like subcontractor scope, your BIM, and project schedule, 5D gives you objective confidence when validating work completed, which simplifies and streamlines subcontractor Payment Applications. You can be confident in work completed and billed by visualizing progress in BIM with reality capture data.


Learn more about Progress 5D and how a team used it to gain financial visibility --- here.

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