12 Features of the Best Construction Cost Estimating Software – Quantity Surveying

Best Estimating Software For Construction Projects

A serious construction estimator needs a good program to calculate the estimated cost of building a property. A window shopping trip on the internet will reveal a number of cost estimating software, which upon testing, it becomes apparent that the developers didn’t incorporate the input of a professional quantity surveyor, who knows the take-off process better than anybody in the construction industry. That’s why you should take time to test any software before you buy it. Although a software program is touted to be a specialist program for a specific task or profession, it may turn out to be something unexpected or something too basic to be of any use for a professional estimator.

Look for programs that give you a free trial period of at least 30 days. During this period, you should be able to experiment with all the features and come to a conclusion. There is a variety of programs with different capabilities and you should know what you are looking for if you are an estimator. If you are not an estimating technician, software with a few basic functions will be suitable for you. This might be a simple program that allows you to input values (e.g. Floor Area) to calculate the estimated cost. For advanced estimating gurus, you will need a program with full capabilities, from taking off quantities to creating a Bill of Quantities, as well as preparing valuation certificates.

The best cost estimating software has the following features:

Bill of Quantities Layout

On opening the software, you should see a sample BOQ that guides you in measuring different trades from Earthworks to Plumbing and Drainage. The interface should look familiar if you have ever handled Bills of Quantities i.e. the page layout is programmed and designed to look exactly like the hard copy that you are going to print. The software should give you a choice of page layouts and if you are a consultant, it is good to use a standard layout that is consistent with your product. Changing layouts for every project does not do any good for your brand and reputation. After a few projects, you should have an idea of a layout that works best for your needs. A standard layout consists of six columns – Item No, Description, Quantity, Unit, Rate and Price.

Cost Estimate Layout

A cost estimate is the first estimate that a Technician makes in the early stages of project planning. It is followed by a detailed BOQ when tender drawings are available. Advanced software allows you to create an estimate based on approximate quantities. A more reliable estimate that is used by professionals is the Elemental Estimate. The good thing about this estimate is that it can be linked to a BOQ.The interface and layout of an estimate is going to be different to that of a BOQ.

BOQ Layers

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