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How automating BoQ creation can save time and reduce error (Cundall Codes Issue 6)

Mechanical Engineer By Gavin Kavanagh, Principal Engineer – 28 February 2023

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Gavin Kavanagh

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This issue: From manual to digital: How automating BoQ creation can save time and reduce error

A key client for our Dublin office is responsible for both designing and constructing large infrastructure projects.

When they engage consultants for these projects, it is a requirement to provide a bill of quantities (BoQ) for all mechanical and electrical services. A BOQ is a document that lists the items, quantities, and prices of all the materials and labour required for a particular construction project. This BoQ allows a quantity surveyor to plan the project's costs, manage those costs during construction, and ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. It also assists to manage costs associated with design changes undertaken during the construction stage.

The problem

Due to the scale and complexity of a recent project, a vast number of services meaning manually generating a BoQ represented a gargantuan effort. In addition to this, the risk of human error due to large volumes of manual data entry is unacceptably high and inefficient taking away valuable time that could have been spent on other tasks that add real value to projects.

An example of the quantities on the project;

Table example of data input

Table containing data for: Mechanical	QTY Air Terminals	493 Duct Accessories	227 Duct Fittings	921 Equipment	182 Pipe Fittings	1795 Pipework Length	4.4km  Electrical	QTY Cable Tray Fittings	1711 Data Devices	122 Electrical Devices	2174 Fire Alarm	921 Lighting	211 Cable Tray Length	7.2km

The solution:

At Cundall we have created a workflow where relevant parameters needed for a BoQ are assigned to each model family with Revit, such as materials, dimensions, costs. We then extract data from the design model in an agreed format and automatically generate a bill of quantities, reducing the need for manual data entry. The total time required for this process has reduced significantly.

Other benefits include:

- The BoQ is updated as the model is updated, ensuring consistency

- Further breakdown of quantities by room/level can be easily calculated

- BoQ can be updated to include for further analysis such as embodied carbon.

This is just one example of how digital tools can remove the need for endless data entry, freeing up engineering time for adding true value to projects.

If you're interested in discussing how digital engineering can help your projects, please contact