Construction estimating software is used to estimate costs for a construction project – a job that has traditionally been done manually using calculators and spreadsheets.
Doing estimates with software offers greater accuracy, fewer errors, greater convenience and therefore greater speed, so you can make sure you deliver your project on time. It also helps to control costs and to keep the project within scope.
Traditional tools such as paper, calculators and measuring tapes are replaced by digital cameras and apps on tablets, streamlining the process with greater speed and accuracy. Human error is all but eliminated from the process and collaboration and data sharing become possible.
Other benefits include the building of reference databases for costs, libraries for data reuse, easier reporting and overall standardisation of the estimation process.
Whether for bids on tenders or for internal use, preparing cost estimates is a fundamental fact of life for construction professionals. Estimates were traditionally done on paper, then on spreadsheets, but as jobs get bigger and estimates more complex, the risk of human error and the amount of time required also increase accordingly.
Construction estimating software offers a solution to these problems, simultaneously simplifying the process, speeding it up and increasing its accuracy. Digital tools replace traditional methods, meaning input of data is quicker, more accurate and instantly shareable.
The software will include an estimation worksheet, similar to a spreadsheet, which will automatically take care of calculations and a number of other functions. The package will have built-in cost-databases, which could either be from your own accumulated data or from a commercial source. Some systems have a built-in ordering system that allows you to order materials by clicking through directly from your estimation software.
It will also have a variety of customisable functions, depending on your specific needs – these could include job cost estimation, phase analysis, inspection cost estimates and report generating.
Architects, construction managers, engineers and other stakeholders all have input in the use of estimating software in different sectors of the building industry – for example, there are different versions available for commercial, residential and industrial development.
But construction estimating software is mainly used by quantity surveyors. They will take the building plans from architects and engineers and then using all the information on various aspects of the job, designs, dimensions, timelines, etc, they use the software to estimate the numbers, amounts and types of the various materials required to build it.
That allows them to work out how much it will cost to complete the project, plan a budget, and then it is easily to keep track and to strike off the prices as building work progresses.
Use of construction estimating software has become widespread across the industry because of the many benefits it brings to a project. As with all use of construction software, the increased speed and efficiency is foremost among the benefits – you can be sure you’ll deliver your project on time.
It also offers greater accuracy – for example, it makes it easier for you to pinpoint all your labour, material and equipment costs, while factoring in things like materials in stock or other expenses that may be arise, meaning you can calculate the true cost of a project, no matter how complex it might be.
Furthermore, by using construction estimating software, you will be able to build up your own data base of prices and costs from jobs you’ve completed, allowing you to use the data from these to increase the accuracy of your estimates and avoid costly overruns. Estimating jobs that can be compared to ones you’ve done before becomes very streamlined. You can also formalise your own processes to avoid mistakes or inefficiencies.
The software should also integrate with other software solutions as part of your overall eco-system. This allows for easy sharing of data, a more streamlined workflow and avoids work being duplicated.