Construction management and estimating involve a lot of complex tasks. When it comes to construction management, contractors do everything they can to ensure fast and accurate delivery of results and data to their clients.
Thanks to construction estimating solutions, construction professionals can create accurate construction estimates that will allow companies to see the overall picture more clearly. However, construction estimating software also allows you to have a better view of future spending, including how to avoid costly mistakes, and can save you a notable amount of time and money on construction projects.
If you haven't been in the market for a while, there are a lot of estimating options to explore. We've written this guide to help you make sense of the market so you can choose the best construction estimating software for your business.
Here's what we'll cover:
What is construction estimating software?
Construction estimating software is a software solution that helps estimators, contractors, and other construction professionals calculate total material, labor, subcontractor, and equipment cost estimates as well as produce professional proposals for clients from these estimates. Construction estimating software tools assist users in automating data entry, pulling updated prices of materials and equipment, and identifying labor and overhead costs.
On top of that, beyond job cost estimation, construction estimating software can also provide features such as payment tracking, reporting, and schedule building.
Construction estimating software are available as a standalone product or may come as a bundled software within an overall construction management software suite.
A view of reports in STACK Software (Source)
Common features of construction estimating software
Shortlisting construction estimating tools is easier when you know what the most common features are and what they do for your business.
Let’s look at some of the common features of construction estimating systems:
||Create an accurate and professional bid proposal based on costs of labor and materials.
||Store and access trade specific databases of materials and labor costs for pricing details and estimating.
||Calculate total itemized costs, including initial costs and any changes.
||Display a graphical view of a build assembly to visualize which portion of the project you're estimating.
||Store all of your past projects with related materials and labor cost estimates in a database.
||Model how your bid will change if assumptions (e.g., project completion date) change.
||Accelerate the estimating process by providing a set of commonly required parts and labor for standard jobs, such as a bathroom remodel.
||Create cost breakdown reports using charts and graphs to improve the analysis of project costs.
What type of buyer are you?
Before you start evaluating construction estimating software options, you'll want to know which buyer category you belong to.
- Project managers: A construction project manager is the type of a buyer who is concerned with project management functions such as job cost estimation, construction project scheduling, cost control, and document management. Consequently, they prefer to use the construction estimating software program offered as a part of their construction project management software.
- General contractor: General contractor is the type of the buyer who is concerned with management of every detail of project estimation and the preconstruction process. These buyers prefer to use construction estimation software that is integrated with capabilities such as cost estimating, bid day analysis, digital takeoffs, bid management, reporting, and more.
Benefits of construction estimating software
Let’s look into some benefits of construction estimating software:
- Improved job cost estimation: By using construction estimating software, construction project managers can estimate the money, labor, and time required to complete the job. It will save time that would otherwise have been spent on preparing job estimates manually, thereby reducing labor costs.
- Better accuracy: Construction estimating software can help you accurately keep track of your labor costs, subcontractor expenses, equipment costs, and material costs. It also helps in tracking all your back orders and stored materials which leads to a higher rate of accuracy, allowing you to define your builds’ closest true cost.
- Consistent estimates: Construction estimating software helps you to create project estimates with similar procedures every time you start a new job. By using similar procedures and estimation tools, you can trust the data which will provide consistency across all project scopes.
- Better project management: The construction estimating software helps construction firms to manage their project better by aligning the duties and operations of the entire team. In addition, the solution also helps construction professionals to optimize their time management and workflow.
- Improved efficiency: Deploying construction estimating software can save you time and money by performing tasks such as tracking your company’s projects, processing your estimates more efficiently, and putting more quotes into the market.
Considerations while purchasing construction estimating software:
- Check training options: When investing in a construction estimating software, training employees to help them understand the system is vital. While some construction estimating software vendors offer pre-packaged training options, such as videos and manuals, others provide training for a limited time, resulting in more expenditure. Look for a vendor who helps you master the software you’re considering by offering options such as training sessions, live Q&As, videos, feature-specific walkthroughs, all coupled with check-ins at regular intervals to confirm your progress in the learning process.
- Integration requirements: Look for the construction estimating software that is capable of playing well with other tools that you are already using, such as accounting, project management, and inventory management. It will not only save you time by preventing you from having to re-enter the same data into different systems but also ensures data consistency throughout the project lifecycle.
Market trend to understand
Below is a market trend that is playing out in the construction estimating application market:
- Consolidation and integration of construction solutions: There are a lot of solutions that are used in a construction process and users of construction estimating solutions, such as project managers, general contractors, or any other construction professionals, are turning away from a technology stack made up of stand-alone products toward a comprehensive ecosystem of construction solutions. Whether such an ecosystem is an end-to-end platform or connected through a series of seamless integrations and APIs, users want effective tools that make it easy to store, analyze, and share project information and data between various apps.
Note: The application mentioned in this article is an example to show a feature in context and is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation. It has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.