The construction industry is a field with steep competition that demands attention to detail. Every single PVC pipe, piece of sheet metal, and light bulb needs to be accounted for. To win a contract, project managers need to know every cost that will make up the bid they offer investors. Once they begin work on a project, it’s in everyone’s best interest to have an estimate that’s as accurate as possible. Otherwise, project managers run the risk of leaving owners and subcontractors with unmet expectations, or increased costs.
To help save time and make the most accurate bids, engineering and construction managers use takeoff and estimating software. These software solutions allow professionals to use digital designs to analyze which materials they need and how much their total costs will be.
Takeoff and estimating software are valuable tools, and it’s important to take time fully understand what this vertical-specific software can do – and what users are saying about the different solutions they use.
What is Construction Estimating Software?
Construction estimating software is a collection of programs that enables construction professionals to estimate the total cost of a project. This includes every cost from the beginning stages to the final project launch. Construction estimating software uses spreadsheets, digital blueprints, digital project drawings and more to help estimate the full cost of a project.
Construction estimating software is important because competitive, yet accurate, bids are what help project managers win bids while also meeting expectations in the construction industry and maintaining their firm’s reputation.
Construction estimating is not only used during the bidding process – it can be used during the project as well to update any changes in the project plan or expected cost.
Features of Construction Estimating Software
Construction estimating software allows engineers and project managers to keep their blueprints, drawings, spreadsheets, and other tools in one organized place.
This type of software typically features an intuitive interface, a database for all estimates, a standardized estimating process, a search tool, document storage, at-a-glance estimation summaries, and digital takeoff capabilities. This software also offers reporting features to generate professional reports that produce estimations in formats that can be easily used in projects.
What is Takeoff Software?
Takeoff software is typically used in conjunction with construction estimating software. Often, takeoff software is a part of construction estimating software, however, some vendors also offer it as a stand alone solution.
‘Taking off’ in the construction industry refers to the process of creating the list of materials a project will need and assigning the cost of each material. All the materials are placed on a list — the materials takeoff list (MTOL). The cost of all the material is added up to produce a bill of materials that is then used to create bid estimates.
Takeoff software allows project managers and engineers to create MTOLs and the total estimated cost of materials and adjust this cost throughout the project as needed. This helps make the cost projections more accurate, even if plans shift slightly mid-project. Take off software supports many different types of documents — TIFF, DWF Adobe, PDF, JPEG and design documents.
Why is Construction Takeoff and Estimating Software Important?
Construction takeoff and estimating software are essential pieces of tech for construction firms to invest in. Not only do they save time and money, but they help reduce the stress caused by manually organizing and keeping track of multiple lists, drawings, and blueprints. These software solutions increases the accuracy of cost breakdowns and estimations — enabling engineering and construction companies to improve their bids and reputation.
The reporting features can help teams keep on track and on budget. These are important tools to incorporate into a project manager’s set of software tools to help them speed up their bidding process, improve their accuracy, and ultimately win more projects.
Construction takeoff and estimating software solutions are only one part of the larger set of construction software available for firms to utilize to help streamline their processes, but they are a very important piece. Here is a snapshot of a few of the many construction takeoff and estimating solutions that are listed on TrustRadius, and what reviewers have to say about them.
4 Popular Construction Takeoff and Estimating products on TrustRadius
WinEst is a database-driven estimating software. This solution features takeoff capabilities, estimating, audit trails, and reporting. Additional features include an enterprise data manager, an on-screen interface for takeoffs, ability to export to Primavera or MS Project for scheduling, what-if scenarios, filtering by code structure, labor rate tables and equipment rate tables.
Users like this solution’s reporting capabilities, flexibility when building estimates, and the ability to create your own estimating database using Excel.
“WinEst allows for uniformity and clarity. [It has] the ability to manage your views, reports, assignments etc. [and] allows for bid teams to put together a highly detailed estimate quickly and efficiently.”
~ Aaron Graves | Estimator | Power Construction
This solution has two-week free trial. For pricing information, contact WinEst directly.
Bluebeam Revu is a larger construction software solution that includes takeoff and estimating capabilities. It provides companies with features such as PDF measurement tools, markups list, a tool chest for custom markups, visual search, legends, quantity link between multiple PDFs to Excel worksheets for automatic bids, profiles of preferred toolbars, and dynamic fill of complex drawing regions. This solution is designed for professionals working with concrete, electrical, HVAC, interior finishes, and plumbing.
Reviewers say that this solution is great for takeoffs, is easy-to-use, and has a great mobile capabilities for those who prefer to use their iPad. Many note how creating different types of documents is simple. Whether you are using Word, PDF, Excel, JPEG or others, the file capabilities are a strong point for many users.
“Bluebeam Revu is most suitable for those who deal with take-off related works such as construction projects where quantities are taken from drawings for estimation. Users can also create bookmarks and PDF files using Bluebeam.”
~ M.A. Adil Ansari | Quantity Surveyor | Al habbai Contracting llc
Revu offers a thirty-day free trial. More pricing information can be given from Revu directly.
HCSS offers a wide range of software solutions for the construction industry, including an estimating and bidding solution called HeavyBid. HeavyBid features quick imports for DOT websites, estimate building tools, quote population and analysis, copying from past estimates, customer calculation routines, access to production history while estimating and more. This software puts a special focus on earthwork, underground, highway, pipeline, mining, plants, and other heavy construction.
Reviewers say that HeavyBid is an extensive solution, and can be used to estimate costs for tiny and large projects alike. Some users highlight how its ability to access past data positively impacts current bidding processes. HeavyBid works well with the other solutions HCSS offers.
“HeavyBid is used by our engineering/bidding department. All major bids use this HeavyBid and we find it to be an extraordinary program. Allows us to compile a lot of historic data to be used in current bids.”
~ J. Mickey Merguerian | Project Controls Coordinator | Underpinning and Foundation Skanska
HeavyBid Basic starts at $6,900 per license, for companies with less than $10 million in revenue. The cost rises based on the amount of revenue a construction company brings in. Contact HeavyBid for more information.
On-Screen Takeoff is a takeoff and estimating solution. It offers users features like auto-count objects, annotations and callouts, intelligent paste logic, multi condition takeoff, overlay for comparisons, style sheets and templates. On-Screen Takeoff is used by general contractors, and professionals specializing in concrete, doors & hardware, walls & ceilings, paint & coatings, landscaping, flooring, masonry & stone, roofing, firestopping, and mechanical, electrical, & plumbing (MEP).
Reviewers say that this software helps them save time and keep all costs organized. They also say that On-Screen Takeoff is very user-friendly and easy to learn.
“Mostly everyone who is involved in the day-to-day process of putting together bids & creating RFIs uses it. It is very beneficial for conceptual estimating as well. The software does a phenomenal job of keeping everything organized from the space you are analyzing and different trades of work—keeping the quantities in an itemized printable list making it easy for anyone to comprehend.”
~ Verified User | Employee | Construction Company
On-Screen Takeoff offers a two-week free trial. To learn more about pricing, contact On-Screen Takeoff directly.
Construction takeoff and estimating software helps contractors and specialists save time and make more accurate estimations for their project costs.
To learn more about construction takeoff and estimating software and other construction software solutions, read more on TrustRadius. One of the best ways to learn about which software solutions will fit your business best is to read user reviews. User reviews provide honest, unbiased opinions about the tools you may use for your next project.