You may have heard about schedules. You’ve most likely seen them used in plans, but have you ever stopped to consider just how useful they can be? From quantity take-offs to quality control, schedules are an incredibly useful tool that shouldn’t be overlooked. So what exactly is a schedule for BIM and how does it impact BIM outcomes?Schedules_Fail to Plan

A schedule is a different, tabular way to look at information from your model. You can set-up your schedules with a seemingly endless amount of information, all of which is straight from the model. This means that the information you’ll see in your schedules is accurate and up to date. As you may have learned in other blog posts, having such reliable information is one main reason why the industry moved to 3D models in Revit and why BIM blossomed into the movement it is today.

As structural engineers we use schedules in a lot of ways, from basic foundation to beam and column, we try to create schedules for a lot of elements. Even before Revit schedules were a great way to convey information concisely. Now with Revit our schedules are tied directly to the elements that make up the model, which then make up the drawings, so there is an inherent coordination. We can also use schedules beyond what is shown on the drawings. Schedules allow us to do very quick quantity take offs (QTOs) on our models so we can quickly and easily verify the amount of concrete we’re specifying, tonnages of steel, or very quickly see how many different sizes of joists are on one level. The possibilities are nearly endless. This process is also used by contractors, other subs, cost consultants and quantity surveyors. Estimating cost is perhaps one of the most common ways the information in a schedule is used. This relatively new way to verify their quantity information is much faster, and more reliable, than the previous version of this process where someone would sit with paper plans, a red pen or highlighter and a counter.  We’re not suggesting that anyone completely relinquish manual checks on estimation, but this is a great way to verify and make sure your estimations are correct.

Beyond QTOs, schedules can also be used for quality control checks. The same information can be used to make sure certain properties meet company standards. For example, you can create a schedule of all your view names or view templates.

The data in a schedule can also be exported to Excel. While a very handy tool, you must be careful that your data isn’t manipulated too much as to be different from what is represented in the model.

So what’s the lesson? Schedules are awesome. They’re incredibly useful when needing to view a lot of information in a tabular format. This is a very basic explanation of schedules and doesn’t touch on key schedules or how to modify a schedule.

For more information on schedules, including how-to tips, please check out the following links: