How to Review a Construction Estimating Software Program for Scope Estimating

by Perry on August 30, 2010

Since you have heard in the Scope Estimating with a Scope System Quantity video that there is no need for a separation between labor & material.  Since everything (L&M) typically is bought out in this technique, the only thing that is really needed is a Scope system of quantity. Like SF of a Slab on Grade, SQ of a Roofing system,  LF of Curb & Gutter, or  quantity of 2×4 lights.

You are expecting a lump sum quote or a scope system unit price from a SubContractor, Vendor or Manufacturer.  So the theory here is that you are only taking off the quantity of the  Scope system that helps you qualify the prices from the SubContractor, Vendor or Manufacturer.  That process helps you evaluate why at price is high, low, complete, and/or competitive.

There are two schools of thought.  One being that: a) do you need an construction estimating software program or  b) just a manual spreadsheet since the concept is fairly simple.  That choice is ultimately yours, but an issue you really need to consider most importantly is accuracy of the math.  That has been the number one problem with manual spreadsheets (computerized or not) ; not really the problem with the manual computerized spreadsheet, but really the human operator of the computerized spreadsheet. Since computerized manual spreadsheets are so customizable, they are really easy to destroy the formulas, macros, etc., without even knowing that you have corrupted its’ math calculations.  Who needs that!!!!!  With a mainstream construction estimating software program, you want to do what you know best, “ESTIMATING” and not have to sweat the math computations.   However, even with mainstream construction estimating software programs, still the old adage applies: “garbage in = garbage out”.

It is also extremely important to note that NOT all construction estimating software programs are the same.  There are major differences you will need to consider. Here are some features that you will need for Scope Estimating with a Scope System Quantity.

Needed Features (minimum) for :

  • Must be able to create your OWN data
  • Must be able to create your own estimating code numbers like specification (spec) book sections (divisions/subdivisions)
  • Must be able to create your own cost item numbers or letters
  • Must be able to create your own user definable formulas
  • Must be able to create your own cost items
  • Must be able to create user definable work:  systems, or kittings, packages or assemblies
  • Must be able to over-ride any original cost item formula in a work system, and have the ability to apply a more logical user definable formula for the cost item in the logical work system for that cost item (CRITICAL)
  • Must be able to perform very fast takeoff of items to equate to 4-6 estimators production
  • Must be able to interface with electronic digitizers for paper plans or electronic plan measuring programs
  • Must be able to automatically total the estimate
  • Must be able to manipulate unit cost or lump sum cost AND description of an estimate item on the fly without having to touch the master item in the database.
  • Must be able to add a miscellaneous item on the fly for any estimate without having to create it in the master database list.
  • Must be able to add user definable markups
  • Must be able to create independent estimates EASILY
  • Must be able to view estimates in a user-definable format
  • Must be able to print estimates in a user definable format
  • Must be able to sort estimates in a user definable format
  • Must be able to export data to a variety of output formats
  • Must be able to add user definable columns that may or may not be part of a calculation
  • Must be able to view cost as well as selling price on-screen as well as in print

If you need any help with the evaluation of any construction estimating software program or would like to discuss this subject further, please review our services page.  Or if you would like to see a free demonstration of what you need to expect from a construction estimating software program for SCOPE Estimating with a Scope System Quantity, please CLICK HERE. Also, please visit some of the other construction estimating software processes in AskTheEstimator.com since each construction estimating process EXPANDS on the discussion and review of what features are needed for that process.

ALSO: Read an in depth Review of Takeoff Software for Estimating Construction at:  Review Takeoff Software

FREE Estimating Takeoff Software VIDEO

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