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A fifth dimension is introduced when the concept of cost over time is added to the 4D model. 5D allows you to explore what the budget/estimated cost of a project might be at any given point in time during the project. 5D in Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a concept that refers to the linking of 3D BIM with time and cost related information. While 4D BIM integrates time or schedule related information into the 3D BIM model, 5D BIM adds the cost dimension. In simple word, 5D – this is 4D plus "cost". Integration of design with estimating, scheduling and costing, including generation of Bills of Quantities, and derivation of productivity rates and labour costs.

Traditional and BIM - Similarities and Differences for Cost Estimating : One convention employed by estimators in the traditional process is in identifying the expected accuracy range of an estimate based on the level of project definition. In the traditional process, the project plans and specifications were the primary means by which this was determined, and as such, there was a direct correlation between the project's level of definition and the expected accuracy of an estimate. It is reasonable to expect a similar convention exists in BIM, and that as a BIM contains more project definition, it also impacts the potential accuracy of an estimate. The difference in BIM, though, is in how a designer creates the objects for project 'plans,' and specifications now have an impact on the estimate.

How 5D BIM Benefits Construction Companies : 5D BIM incorporates the cost estimation ability to the BIM model in such a way that any change in the design gets reflected in the budget immediately. In other words, the 5D model enables architects, contractors, and engineers to work on a live model, which ensures that cost calculations are changed automatically whenever any change is brought to the structure and design of the project. Owners and decision makers of a construction company can use 5D BIM to their advantage by:

  • Building a database of cost and pricing, crew composition, sub KPIs, and labor productivity rates.
  • Getting cost-loaded schedules, detailed analysis of project risks, and accurate cash flow forecasts.
  • Seeing how a change in the project's design would influence the budget and scheduling of the project.
  • Taking more informed decisions by comparing multiple cost estimates with the project's target cost.
  • Seeing which areas of the building are adding to the total costs and how.
  • Provide the project teams with resource-loaded schedules, accurate cash flow forecasts, detailed project risk analyses, and even resource forecasts for major subcontractors –
  • Offer clients the chance to explore several different scenarios, i.e. illustrating how a change in design impacts both the programme and budget. Cost estimates can be linked to the BIM model so that a change in the design would be immediately reflected in the budget and programme. As part of Integrated Project Delivery, it is possible to work on a "live model", meaning that a change in the geometry of the facility (3D model) will change the calculations for the programme and cost.
With easy access to detailed information about costs and schedules, 5D BIM takes the efficiency of a construction team to the next level. With the effective use of 5D in BIM, owners, contractors, engineers, and all other members associated with the project can work collaboratively to achieve timely delivery, cost efficiency, and quality. While the application of 5D BIM is still in its infancy, experts believe that 5D in BIM is all set to bring a paradigm shift in the construction process by improving functionality and providing tools to estimate costs more accurately throughout the lifecycle of a project.