By Benjamin Brits

One of the major headaches of the contracting industry – the bill of quantity (BoQ) condundrum now has a real solution.

With some of the past published articles in mind, including one of the RACA Journal contractors corner columns addressing the challenges around BoQs, a solution has been derived by mastery of Revit MEP – the building information modelling software.

ODA Design & Drafting, as the leading pioneer of this solution, was formed in May 1997 and is based in Centurion, South Africa. Dusan Stefanov, the company’s founder and managing director, is a registered Professional Engineer with the Engineering Council of South Africa, a Green Building SA accredited professional, and SAIRAC member.

Dusan and his team have spent a significant amount of time customising this software with relevance to the South African HVACR sectors to a great degree of accuracy. This has also been tested at several chilled water and VRV/VRF projects that the company has designed and implemented their Revit solutions at.

“In a way, the Covid pandemic afforded us the opportunity to spend a lot of time developing this solution – nearly a year period in fact – rather than just sitting around ”, Dusan says jokingly. “Our development in this aspect can now provide a bill of quantity in a list form, based on various system types and on every element of the design including pipe/duct sizes and lengths, valves, supports, clamps, and so on. This is actually a vital step for this industry as its roll out can create a work environment and relationships where disagreements are pretty much eliminated. We have been able to achieve such good results by our own trial and error.”

As part of this Revit MEP/BoQ solution, attributes can be applied to each component landing on site and installed. This process will also create red flags for high quantity items that could go missing on site, even given that sometimes certain work needs to be fixed or redone too.

Dusan adds, “this function is also‑ very useful between suppliers delivering directly to site and the contractor. By assigning a claim number on deliveries or part-deliveries, it is easy to identify duplicate orders – such as piping for example. So, as a contractor on site, if you have already received your 20 lengths of piping and it is marked off on the Revit model as ‘delivered’ – when another load of the same 20 lengths is requested by site personel, you know there is a problem. The same applies for other HVAC systems components like dampers, flexies, bends, refrigerant piping, insulation, and so on.”

This solution is also highly beneficial to sites in remote locations where getting stock items delivered to site again is difficult, or very costly. With the guarantee of an extremely accurate item-count done by software, the risk of under or over supply is by far reduced, thus ensuring a more accurate project costing and claiming process too.

As par of this solution, a costing can also be added to each item, thus providing a comprehensive BoQ and accurate pricing estimate – all of which saves a lot of time throughout the supply chain and for site management. For example, ducting square or spiral sections can be costed per square meter or per weight, depending on the client’s preference. 

As part of this process Dusan also notes that many objects and families related to HVACR have been developed by taking base information from local suppliers and applying ODA’s specialist knowledge. Stefanov himself is a 35-year industry roleplayer who has also worked on three different continents around the globe.

“The reason this solution has not existed until now is for a number of reasons. Not only is it expensive for the setup costs and equipment required to do this type of modelling and reporting but also because people don’t have the time to invest in such work that is required in customising a product. We have taken that step and now have the advantage of the rewards for what has been put in, and as a full design solution this can be applied to any project designed within the software”, Dusan concludes.

Note: Revit is an Intelligent 3D model-based design set of tools that supports a modelling workflow, where deliverables such as drawings and schedules come directly from a single, unified model. Changes are automatically reflected in all views and BoQ schedules of the model, and adjacent/connected elements automatically update to maintain established relationships. The Revit software is a powerful product that can create 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional designs, snippets, and even facility walkthroughs.

For demonstration of the power of the BoQ derived from Revit MEP model, ODA Design & Drafting will be available to address any queries and provide more information on this cutting edge solution.