Advantages of QSPlus vs WinQS – Construction Estimating Software
Choosing the best construction estimating / quantity surveying software for your needs can be a difficult process if you have never used estimating software in your projects, but it becomes easy when you have tried at least two advanced programs. It’s easy to become comfortable with the first software you have mastered, but if you are reluctant to move out of your comfort zone, you may miss some useful features that other software has to offer.
If you have used the WinQS estimating program, then you are not going to be overwhelmed when you log into the QSPlus estimating program for the first time. Both programs use DimX, a digital dimension sheet for capturing takeoffs and measurements. The user-interface for these two programs is quite different but it will take you less time to figure out the features, the concept is basically the same. However, for someone who is just starting, QSPlus offers an intuitive interface. There are many more areas where QSPlus beats WinQS. Let’s take a look at some of these areas:
QSPlus has excellent customer support from the download process to the purchase and user stage. The download process is straightforward, you visit NDTec Store, register an account, then download QSPlus. All modules including the price are displayed, so you can log into your account anytime and purchase without a hassle. The QSPlus file is 298MB, but it contains everything that you need for smooth installation and work e.g. Microsoft Access database and pre-installed libraries. Once you install QSPlus on your computer, the program also installs a Quick Support app which you can click to access live support with TeamViewer. The support staff will help you with technical issues via TeamViewer.
The process of downloading WinQS is frustrating from the beginning. You have to submit an online form to access the download, but apparently there is no admin on the receiving end to give you a password, so you will never get a password until you email them directly. They will send you a PDF containing the password and installation instructions. The WinQS file is 144MB. Unlike the QSPlus file which comes with a single EXE file, the WinQS Zip file has two separate folders – one for Microsoft SQL server and the other for WinQS program. Also, there are no pre-installed libraries. The separation of folders may present problems for those who have no time for reading the installation manual. Installing the program before the SQL server will cause the program to malfunction.
User Interface and Menu
QSPlus has a user-friendly interface. The menu is well organized, simple and intuitive. When you log into the program, you will immediately know where to go since the main menu has clearly defined tabs for all modules and core functions of the program. There are tabs for the Cost Plan, Bill Production, Valuations, Final Account, Core Data and Tools. To go into a specific module, just click the tab. As you work, you will be aware of the mode and module that you are currently in, unlike WinQS which has a complicated interface.
The WinQS menu is not well defined and it will take a lot of effort to figure out the functions of each tab, and its relationship to the window that you are currently viewing. As you go from Bill measurement to valuations or estimating to Bill production, things get complicated. The layout is simply not logical. It gets harder to make sense of the features, the connection between tabs and what you are currently working on.
Just by comparing the menus between these two programs, you can immediately tell the one which makes sense to a Quantity Surveyor.
Modules and Features
While it’s hard to know what kind of modules are available on WinQS, you can easily see the modules that are available on QSPlus. WinQS is missing some features such as the Final Account and the Cost Plan which are available on QSPlus. Once again, due to the fact that the WinQS interface is not well defined and laid out, some features might be hard to discover or they might not be there at all. An interface which is hard to learn is a disadvantage for an estimator who is constrained by elements of time and pressure to deliver. On the other hand, a simple user-friendly interface will improve productivity rates. It will also reduce the time and costs associated with training an Estimator in software use.
WinQS has a lot of scattered features that could have been combined under a single module or main feature.
QSPlus is a well structured program with a well structured menu, interface and modules. The main menu has feature-rich sub-menus arranged in an orderly fashion, allowing you to manage each stage of the project perfectly and conveniently.
QSPlus Makes Sense to a Construction Professional
A construction professional (i.e. quantity surveyor, architect or construction manager) who has never used QSPlus before will quickly make sense of the software, due to the fact that the QSPlus tabs represent each stage of the contract i.e. cost planning, bill production, valuations and final account. QSPlus looks like a program that was designed with the input of a construction professional, and this kind of input is critical for any quantity surveying or construction management software.
Onscreen Bill Measurement Logic
When you open a WinQS Bill, you will notice three tabs on the top left (Browse, Detail and Dimensions). In order to measure a Bill item, you have to highlight the item and click the Dimensions tab on the screen menu. On QSPlus, you don’t have this multi-step route, you simply double-click an item to access the dimension sheet.
Another illogical feature found on WinQS is the location of the SAVE/CANCEL button on the dimension sheet. The button is placed above the DIM sheet under the main menu. If it’s your first time using the software, you will struggle to find the button. It should have been placed at the bottom of the DIM sheet, right after the dimensions as in QSPlus.
However, WinQS has some good features such as duplicating an item, joining measurable items, searching text, fast forwarding to the next heading and editing current item.
Download – QSPlus for Windows
Developers: ND Tech Software Solutions, South Africa