Estimation is an important phase of a construction project, or rather before a construction project begins estimation of the project’s costs must have taken place. In fact construction estimation began in the 18th century in a more primitive form. It was effective then and it is effective now as it is still being used and is a must for a construction project to be successful. However, nowadays the process is a lot smoother and has evolved significantly since it’s early days when it was introduced.
The cost of a project needs to be accurately estimated as a part of the bid process for a project as well. Along with scheduling, planning, quality and safety and other aspects of a construction project, construction estimate has useful softwares that can be utilised to help make the process smoother. This blog aims to detail different aspects of construction estimation softwares in relation to construction estimation itself.
What exactly is construction estimation? Before we delve into the softwares that can be utilised, we must first understand construction estimation itself? Construction estimation is a vital part of the construction process. It is the estimation or predicting as accurately as possible the future expenses to be incurred in a construction project for a building. However, no estimate can be 100% accurate, it is imperative the estimate is as accurate as possible, and a software can most definitely aid in this.
Construction cost estimating includes the project scope and project construction costs and the allocation of costs. There are several reasons to have cost estimates. The cost itself is important in the bid process, cost estimates help increase the accountability in a project and make sure everything is transparent.
Construction estimation is not always done by one person and cost estimators are not necessarily used by one person. It can be done by a team of people working together. Furthermore the phase of construction estimation used the way it is for the purposes of construction projects can similarly be used in other contexts such as home renovation.
As aforementioned, estimation serves as an important part of the bid process. Contractors and builders will submit an estimation of the costs to project owners which will summarise the costs they expect to incur during the whole development of the project. However, it works a little differently when dealing with large companies or government contractors. These larger entities will receive numerous bids from different contractors and from there they will decide the winning contractor they want to proceed with. So suffice it to say estimation is a crucial part of the construction project.
The costs expected to be incurred in a project are related to various elements such as the materials, labour and equipment. The quantities and costs of these must be calculated. The labour estimates are found from the takeoff list which details the amount and cost of the labour required to complete a project.
Further expanding on the concept of construction takeoff. For estimation to occur there must be construction takeoff. This is simply because you cannot just estimate nothing, you need to research and know what you are estimating, hence a comprehensive list of costs and materials need to be assembled. The term ‘takeoff’ refers to the estimator taking off the required materials from a project’s blueprint.
Takeoff’s are critical to a project’s profitability as it’s important to know the costs of the materials needed to complete the project as these can vary widely depending on the market as well as the location of the project. Construction takeoffs must be done for all sizes of project’s from larger ones to much smaller projects and basic renovations. Furthermore, while it sounds simple, the process can actually be time consuming.
When it comes to construction estimation softwares there are various softwares on the market, one factor one would take into considering a construction software for estimation is if the software can address the needs of only the estimation phase of a construction project or if different aspects and functions of the project are addressed by this software.
For instance, there are also scheduling softwares, quality and safety softwares or even construction management softwares that incorporate various different aspects of construction such as the above mentioned and more.
To understand construction estimation softwares we can look at these other types of softwares as well as case studies. For example with quality and safety which like estimation is an important aspect of construction. A software tailored for this will aim to streamline the process of assessing and maintaining quality and safety in a construction project or even in future projects.
The quality and safety aspect of a building software should assess, manage and mitigate risk on construction sites. It should constantly take action to be aware of possible litigation issues in construction relating to procedures that must be followed or proper documentation of permits. It should aim to effectively reduce errors in project design as this will lead to less issues down the line hence the mitigation of damage.
Some things included in the quality and safety aspect of the building software would be keeping track of defects and ensuring accountability as well as assigning responsibility to different people so issues are resolved and tracked.
Likewise, it is similar to construction estimation software. A construction estimation software should enable builders to effectively estimate the costs of the project and should streamline and really pull along the process of creating accurate estimates. The estimates should be created based on labour, materials and other cost factors of the project and it should create line-by-line and quantity estimates of the materials utilising pre-determined formulas and calculations.
To start off it is advised that while sifting through the construction software marketplace for a suitable construction estimation software, there will be various softwares that look appealing based in various different countries. It is important to note your location during this search. If you’re based in Australia you will want to go for an Australian construction estimation software. This is due to the fact that Australian estimation softwares will work well with local rates on labour and materials made available by local municipalities, banks and bureau of statistics among other organizations.
A good construction software makes use of good project management functionality, estimate and financial/accounting tool functionality, job management, scheduling and planning and support functionalities and more. WunderBuild is a construction management software that aims to provide all of these functionalities and more to bring out the best outcomes for a project.
It is currently offering a free trial, visit here to try WunderBuild for free