Insights and Advice for Enabling More Efficient and Sustainable Construction

RIB CostX Consultant Series – Utilising Functions In Measurement

24 June, 2021
5 mins read

For our latest blog post, Asia Sales Manager and RIB CostX Consultant Andy Ang has demonstrated the value of functions for multiple RIB CostX processes, including Dimension Groups and BIM Model Mapping.

Many quantity surveyors and estimators who work with RIB CostX utilise Excel® for several calculation processes. However, not everyone knows that many of these calculations can be applied within RIB CostX by way of supported standard functions.

There is a long list of functions that are applicable within RIB CostX Workbooks, including logical and statistical formulae that can slash estimating time when used correctly. My colleague Milan recently produced a guide to 30 useful functions supported by RIB CostX, which can be found at this link.

A full list of Standard Functions can be found in the RIB CostX Help file and are arranged in tables such as below.

To navigate to this Help section, simply click the Help button in the top-right corner of your RIB CostX interface, before navigating to the Functions topic within ‘Using The Program’.

These functions cover everything from simple logical functions that Excel® users will be familiar with, such as AND, IF, NOT, OR, as well as statistical functions such as MIN and MAX, and even handy lookup functions (HLOOKUP and VLOOKUP).

Besides all of these functions that are applicable for Workbooks, there are also functions embedded within RIB CostX to assist with managing Dimension Groups. The estimating possibilities are significant for those willing to take the time to learn more about functions.

In the following sections, I will explain how the XNUMBER function can be utilised to assist with both 2D and BIM workflows.

Using XNUMBER in Dimension Groups

The below screenshot demonstrates the measurement of Pile Caps. We know that we are calculating the number of Pile Caps based on the layout plan, but additional quantities may be required for our estimating.

The drawings show the sizes of the Pile Caps are 800mm x 1,800mm x 900mm (Width x Length x Height), so we can create a Dimension Group called PC 1 – 800x1800x900.

Next, we can click on the ‘Measured Dimensions’ tab and click the Ellipsis button to open the Dimension Group Expression Editor.

We are looking to create a function which reads the Dimension Group name, so next step is to click on the ‘Functions’ tab and select ‘XNUMBER’, then double-click. The purpose of this function is to read the number from selected text.

With reference to our Dimension Group Name (PC 1 – 800x1800x900), we know the length is the third number. Therefore, after clicking the ‘Dimension Group Fields’ tab and double-clicking on {Dimension Group Name}, we insert ‘3’ after the comma to indicate that it’s the third number that we would like to read. At the end of the expression, we divide 1000 to convert the units from mm to m, before clicking the ‘Close’ button.

In order to complete the rest of the measurement, we can ‘copy and paste’, then amend the number as required. As for Area, Wall Area, Volume and Weight, we can click the ellipsis and select from Dimension Fields.

Once we click ‘Update’, we can check the takeoff number or calculated quantity for each of the Pile Caps.

By utilising these functions, users can copy the Dimension Group and make simple amendments, and all other related information will update accordingly. This is extremely useful for time-consuming Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MEP) items.

Utilising Functions in BIM Model Mapping

When it comes to BIM measurement, sometimes the information that is provided is not categorised according to user requirements, such as in the Beam Properties example below. There are dimensions for Length and Volume, but Width and Height are not categorised under dimensions.

By utilising functions, we can read the number within Type Name and map it to Width or Height.

Simply click the ellipsis button as shown, then click the ‘Functions’ tab and double-click XNUMBER. Afterward, it’s possible to choose the properties to select ‘Type Name’.

By following similar operation steps as described earlier, all other information can be extracted from the BIM Object using functions.

Using functions and calculating formulae is unavoidable for QS and estimators. Within RIB CostX, users can deploy functions intelligently to streamline both 2D and BIM workflows. Creating Dimension Group templates or BIM Model Mapping is a useful tactic for improving efficiency in this regard.

If you have any further questions about supported RIB CostX functions, feel free to contact your local RIB team today!