Pipeline FAQ

What is Pipeline?
What are the benefits of Pipeline?
What if I am not ready to switch to a BIM drafting tool?
What if I do not want to put all my items into a BIM?
How can Pipeline help me if I still work with hand take-offs?
How will Pipeline handle my Lump Sum items?
Can I use my existing option structure?
How will Pipeline handle my custom options?
Can I still have Global Options?
Do I need to have an option ID for each iteration of option-upon-option combinations?
How do I clear a house BOM?
After upgrading my Pipeline I have missing buttons.
Do I have to use VisionRez?
Do I have to use WMS?
Can I continue to work in Sage Estimating and only use Pipeline for a portion of my items?
Can I bring my Sage Estimating assemblies over to Pipeline?

What is Pipeline?

BIM Pipeline is a web-based, rules driven, materials management system which utilizes Building Information Modeling (BIM) data to directly drive detailed take offs. With Pipeline, builders now have a solution which efficiently and accurately bridges the historical gap between design and estimation, while allowing each group to focus on their core competencies. Pipeline enables builders to leverage BIM data to create full master plan estimates with delta BOM reports for options, create lot specific as-built reports, directly cut purchase orders, and even capture customer specific changes to track client customizations. Pipeline performs all of these functions regardless of the source of the BIM data.

Pipeline can receive and refine BIM data from multiple BIM applications such as AutoCAD Architecture, Revit, Vertex BD, and VisionRez. This flexibility allows the builder to progress through transformation at their own pace, without uprooting all their systems at once. It also provides flexibility into the future because builders know they are not chained to any specific BIM authoring tool.

Pipeline allows multiple contributors along the supply chain to upload BIM direct data to support their link in the supply chain.


What are the benefits of Pipeline?

  • The utilization of a BIM architectural model and material data to create accurate, up-to-date material take-offs
  • A powerful estimation rules engine that can translate general raw quantities into detail material take-offs
  • The ability to simplify your option list by providing a cleaner way to handle option interactions
  • A more robust set of tools to allow multiple levels of subassemblies to manage detail takeoffs….no longer limited to Group_Assembly/Assembly/Assembly_Detail structure.
  • A scalable solution in which logic is defined once and is then replicated across your entire product portfolio and each instance in the future.
  • A secure and consistent solution: estimation logic is defined and standardized, not just “in someone’s head.”
  • The efficient management of Delta BOM reports at both structural and finish levels.

What if I am not ready to switch to a BIM drafting tool?

Pipeline has an integration interface that allows BIM data from various BIM authoring tools to be imported and utilized.

However, Pipeline offers much more. Pipeline is a standalone materials management system. The system has all of the tools necessary to allow for the generation of detail take-offs with or without a feed from a BIM authoring tool. This gives builders the flexibility to slowly integrate BIM data into their estimation process or to utilize the power of the estimation rules within Pipeline to simplify hand take-offs.


What if I do not want to put all my items into a BIM?

Pipeline has an integration interface that allows BIM data from various BIM authoring tools to be imported and utilized.

However, Pipeline offers much more. Pipeline is a standalone materials management system. The system has all of the tools necessary to allow for the generation of detail take-offs with or without a feed from a BIM authoring tool. This gives builders the flexibility to slowly integrate BIM data into their estimation process.


How can Pipeline help me if I still work with hand take-offs?

Pipeline is a standalone material management system. The system has all of the tools necessary to allow for the generation of detail take-offs. For those using hand take-offs, Pipeline can be used to generate detailed take-offs from basic hand calculations using estimation rules.

Example:

Hand take-off ⇒ 40 LF of Exterior Siding Wall

Builder Specific Estimation Rules Applied :

120 LF 2×6 for Plates
32 EA 9′ Pre-cut 2×6 Studs
12 SH 7/16″ OSB Wall Sheathing
4 SQ Vinyl Siding

How will Pipeline handle my Lump Sum items?

Lump sum costing is not a problem for Pipeline. When you assign a product style as bid or lump sum, Pipeline maps it to WMS appropriately. Pipeline takes the hassle out of the creation and maintenance of lump sum items by maximizing the power of object connections.

Pipeline to WMS

  • Create one roof truss bid cost item
  • Connect it to the base, bonus room, and sunroom options
  • Connect these options to the houses that support it

Pipeline will create the individual WMS Bid Cost items during the synchronization process


Can I use my existing option structure?

Yes, but you may not want to. Pipeline will give you the flexibility to focus your option logic on how you want to sell your options. You will no longer have to maintain options that represent complex interactions just to make sure all of the parts and pieces are captured on the final POs. The Pipeline Option Structure allows you to sell in a way that makes the most sense for your market while at the same time ensuring that all of the necessary parts and pieces necessary to build a specific job are accounted for in the POs.


How will Pipeline handle my custom options?

Pipeline can receive your custom options from your sales management software. Simultaneously, the drafter will apply the custom changes to the BIM architectural model, and then the materials collected from that model are sent to Pipeline. Pipeline generates the bill of materials and ensures that the job estimate, and therefore your POs, contain accurate material data based on what will actually be built in the field.


Can I still have Global Options?

Absolutely. Pipeline has the capability to distinguish between global options and house specific options and send them over to WMS accordingly.


Do I need to have an option ID for each iteration of option-upon-option combinations?

A common predicament which many production builders face is: how to manage the exponential number of options.  Although Pipeline can support a flat database structure, additional tools are available to simplify the process.

One tool is “conditional options,” which automatically propagate based upon how they are defined.

For example, a kitchen has a hardwood flooring upgrade, but the kitchen is also affected by optional kitchen layouts, optional kitchen islands, optional bumps, optional stretches, optional bays, etc., all of which affect the square footage of kitchen flooring.

In typical systems, if there were 5 hardwood options, and 6 options which adjust square footage, 5×6=30 combinations would be required.

Pipeline understands the relationship between square footage and optional floor covering, and it allows the choice of which option square footage should be associated with, the single hardwood option.

The builder can then utilize the “worst-case scenario” when performing a cost forecast, knowing that purchase orders will be accurate at the job start level.

When profitability analysis is performed on the hardwood option as shown below, profitability is greater for Buyer A who purchases the standard kitchen with the hardwood option, but less for Buyer B who purchases the bumped kitchen with the hardwood option.

House Level:

Option Condition Deduct Add
HW_Level_2 Base -500 SF Vinyl +500 SF Hardwood
HW_Level_2 Ext_Kitchen -200 SF Vinyl +200 SF Hardwood

Buyer A Job Level:

Option Condition Deduct Add
HW_Level_2 -500 SF Vinyl +500 SF Hardwood

Buyer B Job Level:

Option Condition Deduct Add
HW_Level_2 -700 SF Vinyl +700 SF Hardwood

Profitability analysis:

If the sales price for “HW_Level_2” is set based upon the worst-case scenario, then profit is aligned for Buyer B and greater for Buyer A.


How do I clear a house BOM?

To expeditiously clear all products off of a House BOM, see step 13 in the Generate a House BOM documentation.

Step 12 in the same document describes an alternative method to accomplish the same outcome.


After upgrading my Pipeline I have missing buttons.

Some upgrades have new features that require you to reset your browser cache.  To do this hold down Ctrl on your keyboard and type F5. For more detailed instructions, see:  Reset Browser Cache.


Do I have to use VisionRez?

Pipeline can be configured to work with a variety of BIM authoring tools through the use of a standard xml exchange format. VisionRez, Vertex BD, and Revit have all been tested and are capable of producing this exchange format. Pipeline can accept data from any other BIM authoring tool that is capable of generating the exchange format. In fact, any data source, including Excel could be programmed to generate this exchange format and therefore feed material quantity data into Pipeline.


Do I have to use WMS?

Pipeline is capable of integrating directly into WMS through a web-services connection, but it is not a requirement. Detail take-offs from Pipeline can be exported to excel for easy transfer to vendors and other interested parties.


Can I continue to work in Sage Estimating and only use Pipeline for a portion of my items?

The integration requires that either Pipeline or Sage Estimating are used, but not both. The workflow utilizing Sage Estimating can continue to be used while Pipeline is being populated and the estimation rules are being defined. Once you are happy with the material lists being generated in Pipeline, you can flip the switch from Sage Estimating to Pipeline.


Can I bring my Sage Estimating assemblies over to Pipeline?

If you are using a BIM as a source of material quantities, you will have no need to bring over the Assemblies from Timberline. The quantities for each option will be derived from the BIM architectural model, providing a more accurate and up-to-date snapshot of the materials needed.