Likelihood to Recommend
[It is] well suited to large scale complex construction projects with many participants. Aconex requires patience and training and, although it's good, it could be better. Short duration, small projects probably aren't a good fit.
Again, CostWorks is very good at developing models of standard industry facilities/buildings, and it does this very accurately and efficiently. It is not a software that I would use to develop a very detailed line-item cost estimate that would possibly need several revisions to it over the course of the estimate deliverable cycle. And it would not be one I would use where the estimate needs to be broken down into phases or areas of construction. It just doesn't have these capabilities, and maybe it shouldn't. However, it is an excellent resource for running along side other estimating softwares in that its database of line-items is one of immense depth and as I stated before, I use it all the time in conjunction with my other client-specified softwares so that I can find line-items that those softwares just do not contain.
- File Sharing - unlimited storage, version control and access control on a neutral host - Aconex is significantly superior to ftp, SharePoint or a contractor hosted platform in that once onboarded, each user organization has equal privileges and can in turn onboard any number of members within the respective organizations.
- Process and Workflow Management - while imperfect, Aconex offers the opportunity to customize process control and enforcement. Our team used these processes for RFI preparation and response, submittal tracking and other custom requirements.
- Neutrality - while mentioned, the neutral host places all project participants on a equal basis. Typically, non-neutral platforms favor in-house participants to the detriment of the project. Until shared, files are 100% private to the respective organizations.
- Mobile interface - good (not perfect) access to unlimited project file information from a mobile device.
- Audit trail - no more "I didn't get that document". File sharing and file opening is tracked by user. Transmittals are a matter of record and there's no 'delete' function.
- CostWorks is very good at generating quick and valid estimates for standardized facilities such as office buildings, schools, etc. It allows you to validate other cost estimates at the UniFormat level when doing an estimate validation.
- CostWorks' database of detailed line-items is a very resourceful asset when it comes to finding a very specific line-item. Sometimes, when using Success or MII, I will have CostWorks open on the other screen so I can find an item that the other softwares just don't have and build it into the other software from the CostWorks entry.
- CostWorks does a very good job of generating reports that are both well-developed and have enough detail at the summary level to be able to sit with a client or a project manager and have them follow along and understand without being overwhelmed with detail and numbers.
- Interface needs work; graphically inelegant, somewhat non-intuitive.
- Process controls could be better 'templated' for industry standards.
- Dashboard/to do for project managers - it's still too hard to see who is slowing the project down.
- When I export a CostWorks project into Excel, it only hardcodes the entries and does not utilize the calculating functions of Excel. If I have to make adjustments, based on the client's request, I have to go into each hard-coded cell and build the formula that calculates that raw number.
- Also when exporting to Excel, the report has to immediately be reformatted for column-width and vertical spacing that should already be part of the export script.
- When building a SF model in CostWorks, sometimes there is a need to use a square footage that is outside the boundaries of CostWorks. There should be some override function that will allow you to continue without having to continually override the maximum or minimum SF entries.
I am currently using file sharing such as Egnyte and ShareFile which are useful but don't have much of a transmittal or inmail functionality so I can't really speak to other products in the same league as Aconex. I don't typically like proprietary contractor solutions due to their non-neutrality and embedded agendas, which often are not consistent with the owner's interests.
CostWorks is a unique software for estimating as compared to the other softwares I have listed above. PACES is mostly used for federal modeling and really cannot be compared to Costworks. It has its own developed modeling database and has its own quirkiness and issues.MII has been developed for the USACE and utilized a user-developed folder structure and RS Means Database. I use CostWorks along side this software to find line-items that are not in the MII RS Means Database.Success has been developed for NAVFAC and again, utilizes a user-developed folder structure and RS Means Database. When I use this software, I ALWAYS have CostWorks open on the other screen as Success' RS Means database is extremely lacking when it comes to the number of detail line-items.Timberline is by SAGE and I use it mostly for DOS and FAA work. Of the 3 RS Means Database softwares, this one has the most detailed database for reference, however, there are times when I do have to look up an item that Timberline does not have and the first software I open is CostWorks.
Return on Investment
- Reductions in print costs alone (subcontractor bid process) paid completely for the use of the product. Further benefits to all project participants included process streamlining and 100% access to all project documentation (Drawings, Specifications, Contracts, Notices of Change, Change Orders etc.) from any online source including mobile devices. Benefits probably accounted for 150% of product cost.
- Intangible benefits included reduced exposure to claims as a result of good (and agreed process tracking).
- I don't really see any "negative" impacts on my business or my ROI by purchasing CostWorks. It's a valuable tool that we use, however, some of my colleagues do not use it or use it very infrequently.
- I find it well worth the cost even though we don't develop complete estimates in CostWorks due to client dictated softwares.
- It has provided very quickly-built estimating models that let our team and project managers know that the RFP or the task that they are contemplating bidding on or starting to work on is actually feasible to construction given the budget and directive.
Premium Consulting/Integration Services—
Entry-level set up fee?