There’s More to Construction Estimating Software Than Just Estimating
May 20, 2021
Are you underestimating construction estimating software? Far from being a simple point solution for creating estimates, it’s also capable of consolidating and streamlining other related pre-build activities so that they can all be accessed under one “roof.” This can make an enormous difference during the bid process when efficiency is a must and time is at a premium. Here’s what today’s best versions of this amazing software can do now.
Maintain a repository of historical data
Rather than continuing to store past project data in hard copy files or computer documents and spreadsheets, you can create your own centralized database to draw from for takeoffs, reports and bids. You have so much rich data you’ve accumulated over the course of your past builds: blueprints, labor rates, materials costs, vendor information and contingency plan estimates. Why not make it work for you going forward? All those details can become searchable, which can be a huge time saver when you need to find or replace information about a particular component or use it in automatic calculations. Plus, instead of having static data tucked away never to be seen again, it becomes actionable in real time. Not only do you shave time off preparing estimates and reports, but you wind up with more accurate bids based on real world numbers.
Assembling the takeoff has typically been a long-drawn-out process. But depending on the construction estimating software you choose you may be able to pull these component details directly from your project’s digitized blueprints. Or, absent digital blueprints, you can draw from your own existing databases of materials, equipment and vendor details, or from your software program’s industry database reflecting current going rates. Either way, you can reclaim substantial time back in your schedule that normally would’ve been spent rekeying copious amounts of takeoff information into the estimate, and perhaps bouncing back and forth from one program to another. Plus, automatic calculations eliminate the risk of nonfunctioning spreadsheet formulas and manual errors — errors that, if left undetected in the initial estimating phase, would become magnified and compromise the accuracy and integrity of the data from that point onward. How impactful could producing streamlined takeoffs be for your more sizable, complex projects that require such fine-tuned accuracy?
You can take advantage of templates, whether standard or customized, to help you automatically assemble the data you need to share in an easy-to-follow format. No need to reinvent the wheel writing up individual reports from scratch for each project. You can choose to break down the details into charts or graphs, making it easy for team members and stakeholders to understand at a glance. So everyone’s time is better spent making critical data-driven decisions than trying to decipher the story behind the numbers. Those decisions are even better informed when reports draw on current third-party resources or, better yet, your up-to-the-minute information from your own databases.
Manage risk and “what-ifs”
Estimates aren’t just about what it takes to build a project according to the owner’s project requirements. It’s also about forecasting estimates for what-if scenarios, especially when long-term projects can be at the mercy of so many unknowns that can occur during construction, whether it’s fire, supply chain disruption or Mother Nature’s wrath. Construction estimating software doubles as a risk-management tool, allowing you to forecast for likely, and not so likely, events or situations that can impact the schedule or budget numbers in your estimate. Those forecasts serve as a basis on which to create turnkey contingency plans that are ready to launch if and when a risk scenario does happen.
Configure markup and tax calculations
Last but certainly not least, you want to ensure your costs are covered while earning a fair profit. It can be a fine line to ride, wanting to ensure markups are enough to cover your costs and leave you a respectable profit, but without being too low that you risk leaving money on the table and even operate at a loss. Instead of doing manual calculations or relying on separate programs, an accounting-like feature in some construction estimating software solutions allows you to configure specific percentages and calculate everything for you. That way, you can strike a fair balance between profitability and competitiveness.
Each of these capabilities may be part of the overall platform or offered as optional modules. Either way, your construction estimating software could quickly become your favorite tool in your technology toolkit — without having to invest in multiple point solutions that may or may not integrate well with each other.
A robust software solution can set the tone for the rest of your project going forward, as well as when preparing future bids. Software like InEight Estimate offer a comprehensive approach to the estimating phase of your projects. Experience how Estimate works by scheduling a demo.