Sep 05

10 Construction Estimating Software Used in Australia and other English Speaking Countries

10 Construction Estimating Software Used in Australia and other English Speaking Countries

One of the decisions you have to make prior to purchasing construction estimating software is whether to choose software designed for the international market or local industry. There are many good estimating programs for the US, Canada, UK and other English-speaking markets that you can adapt for your needs, but there are benefits in choosing a program designed for the Australian construction industry.

One of the benefits of using Australian estimating programs is that you can integrate with local building rates (Labor, Materials) produced by local organizations such as quantity surveyors, property developers, banks, bureau of statistics and municipalities. Your projects, estimates and Bills of Quantities will be kept current with construction data from Cordell, AIG, ACIF and ACA. In other words, when you are managing a construction project, your rates, BOQ items and specifications should be based on a local builder’s database. Estimates are not like a monetary currency that can be exchanged with foreign currencies. Adapting foreign construction rates to a local project will give an inaccurate picture of project costs.

If you are looking for construction estimating software in Australia, there is a lot to choose from. Here are 10 programs that you can try:

Constructor

Constructor is a complete program for estimating, producing bills of quantities and construction management. It has an integrated accounting and payroll system. With this software, you can schedule a project, track project costs, manage your clients and import digital drawings. A quantity surveyor will be happy with this software because it has all the features that you would need such as digital takeoff to produce detailed estimates and BOQs.

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DataBuild

DataBuild has modules for cost estimating, accounting and payroll management. With an integrated accounting system, you will not need a separate system to manage your business accounts. The software is specifically designed for a building business. Job costing is one of the assignments that a contractor will need to take care of. You can handle job costing with this construction management software. The makers of the software have made a guarantee to provide solid backup and support in the form of webinars, phone, email and online guides.

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Estimating Services Software

ESS is essentially a digital takeoff software that allows you to generate measurements from digital drawings. It supports JPG, PNG, PDF, TIF and other digital formats. One interesting thing about this software is that you can generate takeoffs from satellite pictures such as Google Earth. It also works with NearMaps. Just import aerial photos and scans into the program to get results. Who can benefit from this software? From the look of things, if you are an Estimating or Takeoff Technician, you will love this software. There are lots of video tutorials on the site to guide you. To use this software, you have to purchase an annual subscription (AU$259.00 per year), but you can watch free demos on the site’s YouTube channel.

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EasyPricePro

EasyPricePro is made for building contractors and tradesmen. One of the major tasks that is critical to the success of a building firm is winning tenders and clients through competitive project pricing. There are many builders who don’t know how to price a project, and often these are builders who don’t have a quantity surveyor in their employ. You can either hire a quantity surveyor or invest in software like EasyPricePro to produce professional reports, estimates and bid proposals. The makers of this software promise to reduce your time spent in preparing estimates by as much as 80%. Now that’s a big increase in productivity and efficiency. To access the types of estimating programs offered by this company, visit their website.

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BeamsBuild

BeamsBuild or just “Beams” is one of the top estimating and construction management software. The program was developed to work with digital drawings in various formats such as PDF, CAD, JPG, PNG and other files from computer-aided designs. Modern estimators have moved away from traditional paper-based measurements to digital quantification. With BeamsBuild, you can import digital plans into the software and generate a takeoff at the click of a button. The program performs several functions other than estimating. You can create quotes, schedule construction activities, track jobs, manage variations and purchase orders. To complete your project management, there is an integrated accounting system that allows you to process valuation payments, receipts, invoices, contractor claims and payroll. You can produce financial reports for budgeting and cash flow assessments.

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CostX

CostX by Exactal is a professional construction estimating software that allows a user to automatically generate quantities from digital drawings. Just upload your 2D and 3D building plans (PDF, CAD, scanned plans) into the program, and click a button to get quantities. The next step is applying a pricing list to the itemized quantities to generate a cost estimate.

CostX is not just an estimating software, but it’s a BIM system with inbuilt capabilities for auto 3D/BIM take off. By now, you should know that BIM is the future of quantity surveying. In a BIM system, information is constantly updated on a live 3D model which can be accessed by members of the project team. As the model changes, quantities are also updated making the estimator’s job easier. With CostX, you can also compare subcontractor quotes, produce spreadsheets and reports.  This program is widely used in Australia and Asia. It has already sold more than 10,000 licenses, and there are different programs to choose from according to your needs.

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PlanSwift

PlanSwift is built for construction estimators and builders. This semi-automated software allows you to import digital blueprints so that you can mark up the plans and measure quantities on a takeoff screen. A builder has to prepare bids and RFPs from time to time in order to get work. Taking off measurements from a blueprint is a time consuming task, so if you are serious about winning jobs, you have to reduce the time spent in taking off quantities.

An Estimator within your building firm can produce cost estimates within a few hours with PlanSwift. This releases time for more important tasks such as contract administration and project management. The program supports a variety of digital files – CAD, DWG, DXF, JPEG, PDF, TIFF and so on.

Other than enabling a quick takeoff, the software can generate material lists and cost items for labour. You can export your estimates to Microsoft Excel. To make the program even more powerful, there is a function to integrate with external software, for example a pricing application.

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Cubit

Cubit by BuildSoft is an estimating software that will be of great value to quantity surveyors, estimators, contractors and subcontractors. The estimating features include 3D takeoff. It’s also possible to integrate the software to a BIM system. Other features of Cubit that you would like are price lists, job analysis, reporting and auto-revisions.

The specialized 3D takeoff system in Cubit allows you to rotate and view the architectural model in different angles, zooming to hidden areas that need to be measured. As you trace and mark up areas on the model, quantities are generated.  To prepare a cost estimate, simply extract the quantities and send them to your estimator or upload price lists to the program. You can also connect to a costing application via API.

The software comes in three plans – cubit lite, cubit and cubit pro. Cubic Lite is $995 and Cubit, the most popular version is $2495.

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BuildXact

BuildXact is a cloud-based estimating application that can be accessed on your computer, smartphone or tablet. It’s made for builders and trade contractors such as joinery specialists, roofers and plumbers. This Australian software comes with Cordell’s Builders Database, Australia’s top cost database for construction, renovations and property. What you will get from this software is the ability to do quick digital takeoffs based on a 3D model. Just by analyzing the shape, elevations and plan view of the building, a quick estimate is produced.

After producing an estimate for a client’s project, you can prepare a quote via the software. Like other construction management software, you can prepare and manage purchase orders, generate invoices and cost a job. The benefit of this application is that you can price a job using the provided cost database, so you don’t need to look for an external costing solution.

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EclipseCS

EclipseCS is a complete estimating and cost control solution for both pre-contract and post-tender project management. It’s what you need when you are a quantity surveying consultant or construction project manager. The software allows you to prepare preliminary cost estimates, Bills of Quantities, tender proposals, post-tender valuations of work in progress, cost reports and the final account.

Like modern quantity surveying software, Eclipse allows you to import digital drawings in CAD and PDF format so that you can take off quantities automatically through tracing and marking up. The best part is that the software works with 3D BIM models. Through geometric processing of the model, an Estimator can extract quantities, which you can then price to get a total value of the project.

Eclipse runs on desktop, mobile devices and cloud-based platforms. This means even if you don’t have a computer or laptop with you, you can access your projects on smartphone and tablet. You don’t need to be restricted to the office in order to process tasks, but you can do it anywhere. At the site, record field progress on your mobile device, and in case you want to make reference to your office work, you can always access the data on your mobile device.

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