First things first it completely depends on the size of your company. A multinational company will have entirely different needs and budget than your small residential builder. Licenses for complex solutions can cost thousands of dollars per year per user but there are some really great, simple to use & affordable solutions also.
Another major factor to consider is, who will be using the software? Will it be a professional estimator who has completed a degree in estimating or a will it be a builder or sub-contractor looking to price a job after doing a days work?
Why would you need takeoff/estimating software?
“I spend too much time measuring plans and calculating labour and materials costs”
“I make mistakes when estimating labor & materials costs and quantities”
“I’m not great at creating professional looking quotes”
“My plans, quotes and material estimates are all over the place, and I need to store it in one place”
Estimating (large companies vs small)
In Australia 97% of construction companies are classed as small or medium (19 or less people). Up until recently there was no real software available for these smaller builders and subcontractors. The process of estimating/quoting manually from plans is time consuming and inefficient.
On the other hand estimating for large construction companies is entirely different. Companies like Lend Lease, Brookfield Multiplex and John Holland will have completely separate divisions for their estimating, and will strive to make the process as efficient as possible.
Let’s have a look at the various options out there, and see what is the best for you.
Blue Beam: https://www.bluebeam.com/au/
Cost: $525 – $900 per seat, per year (not including annual maintenance fee)
With a number of different user profiles that are tailored to show the tools and functions that someone in that role will be likely to use the most, Blue Beam is a very intelligent and user friendly software. It’s features are diverse meaning you can use it as an estimating takeoff tool, an estimating database, document control system and cloud document storage.
Whilst Blue Beam isn’t as suitable for small projects, it’s a great software for large projects.
Why you should download Blue Beam:
It’s intuitive and is packed with many useful features, such as the auto-compare feature, which allows users to compare multiple revisions of drawings to easily see the changes.
It can be a bit overwhelming to use at first due to the sheer amount of tools and menus. Bluebeam does offer many tutorials and how-to’ss, however it does take a while to get a grasp of the software.
Cost: $2495 – $3495 for standard or pro, +$1000 per year maintenance
Buildsoft is an Australian based estimating and takeoff software. It allows users to make measurements on construction drawings on-screen, to generate quantities instantly. It’s compatible with DWFx, CAD, PDF, JPEG and PNG files, and has integration with BIM.
Another major benefit of buildsoft is the ability to import data from suppliers, which can be saved to automatically connect to your estimate.
Negatives: It is expensive. Especially if you opt for the Pro version, which includes bill of quantities, custom report and BIM reader.
Why you should download Cubit by Buildsoft:
It’s a great software with a lot of valuable features, it’s pricing makes it suitable for large construction companies and professional estimators.