The construction industry has benefited from many technological advancements in recent years. One of the most valuable tools now available to construction professionals is estimating software. This software allows estimators to forecast a more accurate picture of every project and it helps provide companies a streamlined approach to their projects, better enabling them to achieve their goals.
Since first appearing in the market, construction estimating software systems continue to become more intuitive, helping construction professionals choose task-specific programs and customised platforms to create estimates in a more efficient manner.
More businesses are recognising the value of construction estimating software and are choosing to use it over traditional forms of estimating such as spreadsheets or manual documentation. Let’s take a look at the most significant benefits of using construction estimating software.
1. Speed and Efficiency
The most significant benefit of using construction estimating software is the speed it delivers. There is no other software product available that will save your business as much time and money.
Using a construction estimating software will allow you to:
- Track your company’s projects
- Process your estimates more efficiently
- Put more quotes into the market
- Win more bids
- Free up time to that can be spent on other important aspects of your business
Because the software will save your company valuable time and money, the initial expense of purchasing a construction estimating software is well worth the cost in the long run.
The ability to accurately keep track of your actual labor costs, subcontractor expenses, equipment costs, and material costs is essential to your construction business. It’s also important to be able to track all your back orders, stored materials, and already installed materials. Estimating software enables this accuracy, allowing you to define your builds’ closest true cost.
It’s common for construction companies to assume they can estimate their projects more accurately themselves without software. Unfortunately, this is not the case, as you will never be able to outperform the high-processing capacity of a computer or build in variances as accurately and quickly.
You may be able to quickly put out a number that will win you a contract, but when it comes time to get to work on the project, your management team will be left scrambling to find out how they are going to meet the quote you estimated yourself.
3. Better Project Management
Another valuable benefit of using construction estimating software is improved project management. The software enables your entire team to align their operations more efficiently which can yield the following results:
- Communication is clearer and more cohesive
- Procurements and purchases become more cost-effective
- Tracking items becomes a seamless process
Studies have shown that most professional contractors prefer construction estimating software over other methods of cost estimating as it enables them to better optimise their workflow and time management, as well as better account for variances that often occur.
When you use construction estimating software, your business will be able to create estimates that use similar procedures every time you start a new project. This helps provide consistency across all project scopes as using the same procedures, estimation tools, and formulas every time can help you trust that your data is reliable.
There are also software options that keep a database of costs and prices that can be updated as needed, helping your cost estimator avoid build overruns. These features make it possible to cross-analyse past projects, establish a realistic construction time-frame, and put in place best practices.
Along with speed, accuracy, consistency, and better project management, construction estimating software helps improve the overall professionalism of your business. Today the construction industry continues to become more competitive. You don’t want your business to fall behind because you are using outdated processes and ineffective technology. Generating timely quotes and accurate reports can help clients feel more confident in your business.
Keeping track of all expenses related to equipment, material, labor, and the overall cost of your projects requires constant maintenance. Construction estimating software can help make this process more convenient as it provides the best possible estimate for each project and builds in variances so you can plan ahead.
You can save all relevant information from previous projects, removing many of the manual tasks needed to keep track of your expenses. The software also makes it easier to communicate and edit projects virtually, further increasing the ease in which your team can manage and execute projects.
Construction estimating software assists in measuring the delivery time of materials. It also allows contractors to schedule and manage their labor more effectively. This helps prevent wasted energy and resources as all the materials, labor, and equipment needed for a project are clearly outlined.
Construction Estimating Best Practices
While today’s software solutions make cost estimation much easier than it was in the past, the role of the cost estimator is just as important as ever. Your estimating software can streamline the estimation process, but there are still best practices that should be utilised by every experienced cost estimator. When followed, these practices can help ensure more accurate estimates. Here are some of the best practices for cost estimating that your business should consider:
Identifying Indirect Costs
Identifying indirect costs is essential to creating an accurate estimate for your project. Ideally, this will be performed by a professional estimator with plenty of prior experience.
The estimator will examine contractual terms to determine which of them may impact indirect expenses. Indirect costs can result from project work that cannot be traced to specific elements of the work breakdown structure. Accurately estimating the labor hours needed to complete project tasks directly affects the size of the workforce, necessary insurance, and the amount of wages to be paid, making it a critical component of your business practices.
Following Industry Standards
Your cost estimator should closely follow all industry norms and standards for measurement units. They must also regularly complete cost-related documents and follow cost-recording procedures in a manner that makes the work verifiable and easy to share with another cost estimator.
Tracking Field Costs
The cost estimator is also an important factor in tracking costs in the field. This allows for the comparison of actual costs against estimates. By comparing actual and planned expenses you are able to identify which areas of the estimate are accurate, which are not, and the reason for any differences. Cost estimators are also responsible for evaluating the impact of change orders so that contractors and clients can determine if they are reasonable.
The cost estimator may have to use specialised skills such as value engineering, which usually refers to increasing the function-to-cost ratio. Value engineering is often a separate task but it’s critical to formatting an estimate so you can swap out costs and assess the effect of the process. If you don’t attribute costs to construction division in a format that is easy to understand, determining the effect of value engineering will become much more difficult.
Evaluating Subcontractors’ Bids
The cost estimator will handle evaluating subcontractors’ bids, specifically taking into account their performance on previous projects. They will review construction drawings for precision and constructability and will assess how the client’s schedule requirements affect the performance of the project.
Cost estimating software is one of the most beneficial systems for professionals working in the construction industry today. It allows you to work more efficiently and significantly improves the accuracy of your project planning, saving you time and money to complete your projects on-time and under budget.
CostMiner offers the easiest way to manage and complete quantity takeoff and estimation online. Our software is easy to use and provides businesses a feature-rich platform at a very reasonable price. You can get started with CostMiner today with a 30-day free trial. Contact us to find out how we can save you time and money for your next project.