Check Out The Crucial Role BOMs Play in Construction

Oleg Shilovitsky
Oleg Shilovitsky
31 March, 2021 | 4 min for reading
Check Out The Crucial Role BOMs Play in Construction

Think of Construction as the new manufacturing. If you’ve been following my Beyond PLM blog, you’ve probably noticed a few articles about ACE and the reasons I think manufacturing technologies are coming to help AEC industries and various construction companies such as general contractors, sub-contractors, construction equipment companies, and much more.

In case you’ve missed these past articles you can check them out below:

Will AEC and Manufacturing Software Converge Together? 

AEC and Digital Thread for Construction Companies

AEC Value Chain and Digital Transformation

Construction Project Are Complex…And With Good Reason!

Construction projects include a wide array of organizations operating together on the same project (eg. apartment building, hospital, hotel, bridge, etc.), and good project management is an essential part of making engineers and everyone else involved in the project work efficiently and safely.When you’re talking big scale construction projects you usually come across 2 main problems that if not handled correctly can lead to a negative impact on the job site. 

  1. Communication
  2. Data Management

At OpenBOM we provide manufacturing companies of all sorts the ability to streamline these two issues. To get a more inside look on how we achieve this check out the following OpenBOM customer stories.

How Does BOM & The Construction Industry Work Together?

The more we worked with construction companies at OpenBOM, the more we heard the question…”How Can BOM help me facilitate the construction process?”, so I decided to share some of my notes on how Boms and the construction industry go hand in hand. 

Project Management and BOM 

To make project management in construction successful, it is important to have a list of all different materials and components that the project will require. This is where it starts to be very similar – the list components are a core element of BOM (both for construction and manufacturing).

It is important to break this list into the different phases of construction (especially for large projects). Defining a detailed list of all materials helps avoid many typical problems in construction projects. 

Think about insufficient quantities, out-of-stock situations, scheduling delays. The list of components must have all information including cost and delivery dates. Such data representation can be extremely helpful. 

Why Should You Structure A BOM? 

If BOM is a list of all materials and components, why it is important to have it structured? Your project combines all raw materials, sub-assemblies, assemblies, components and sub-components, parts. The list also includes the labor and the effort needed to perform the work. 

It is very important to have a structured BOM because it is super powerful when it comes to the re-use, calculations, and combination of components and units. 

The top-level is usually things that need to be built. The next level can contain main sections of the building, these are called sub-assemblies. 

The lower levels include components, sub-components, and materials. You build the BOM until you define everything you need to purchase. It is one of the most powerful structures you want to include when you get the ball rolling on your project. Usually, the company calls it a “Modular BOM”). 

Flattened (expanded) BOM

Once you get the structure down, you can make a BOM explosion to turn the structured BOM into a flat list. The process takes all components from all sub-levels and connects them together with the right quantity in the right place – it creates an Order (eg. Sales order). The most important element of this BOM explosion is to check all components, sub-components until the construction project contains all elements.  

Takeoffs and BOMs 

The term Takeoff in construction is used to define the process of analyzing drawings or engineering design and to extract the lists of all materials, types, quantities required to build a specific item. 

When you extract the list for mechanical design, you call it BOM (or part list). The same list in construction will be called material takeoff. It is a full list of everything you need (Part Numbers, Description, Quantities), but also some additional parameters weight, transportation conditions, and much more. The takeoff table (MTO) is usually the input into a BOM. But very often, the takeoff and BOM are the same things. 

Why do you need BOMs? 

In a nutshell, you need to create a BOM to create a single source of truth for your project. Otherwise, you end up late and overspending. 

Here are some typical processes in construction that can be improved using an efficient BOM solution: 

  • Cost estimation 
  • Streamline the purchasing process. 
  • Delivery schedule 
  • Material requirement and approval 
  • Single source of truth records 
  • Optimize resources and expenses. 


In the coming weeks, I will talk more about BOM in construction and specific tasks. For today, I just wanted to say that OpenBOM gives a robust and flexible data management architecture to perform BOM management for AEC projects.  Stay tuned for more information!

Best, Oleg

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