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Review of Takeoff Software for Estimating Construction
So often people want to rush out and buy forecasting software or takeoff software without trying to define their internal forecasting process. Once the forecasting process is clearly defined, and only then, you can try to break the process down into segments. So often the department is really taking off the scale. What would surprise you is the takeoff? That’s like the million dollar question. This article will talk about takeoff software processes that are often associated with estimation software processes. The takeoff software process can often be the takeoff of content for some people and, for many others, the takeoff process of a scoped system to create an estimate or proposal. This review or comparison will not attempt to explain the estimation software process but will present you with valid quantitative takeoff considerations among estimators to find out which product you are considering. These are the views of the author.
I will review and compare 3 types of Takeoff products:
It is very important to note that these are only measuring takeoff programs, not predictive programs.
2) On-screen takeoff via On Center software
3) Electronic plan takeoff software
All three products have their strengths, however, PlanSwift and On-Screen Takeoff are separate products, and Electronic Plan Takeoff is dynamically live integrated with Microsoft Excel so it starts, finishes and saves in Excel. They all integrate into Excel, however, so you’ll need to evaluate your thought process and decide which of the three product workflows best aligns with how you think. For example, what’s the first thing you do when you get a set of plans? Typically, you start by walking through the plans to see how much is involved in the project and what kind of work is attractive to your company. So when you decide you’re going to estimate this job, most of the time, you start like 80% of the construction estimating companies in the world by opening your Takeoff Master Template Excel spreadsheet. You rename your spreadsheet to a new job or project and you begin takeoff. Here are the differences:
In Planswift, you decide which drawing you’re on and then measure the items you want to take off on the plan. Unfortunately, that’s not exactly what the forecaster thinks. Planswift gives you the ability to add a type of takeoff item on the fly by naming it and then taking off; A somewhat highly manual and slow process. They also provide you with the ability to apply an assembly type to takeoff for the total amount of objects in that assembly. Not as the guesser thinks. This forces you to go to different screens which slows down the process. Generally, the main starting point for anyone’s takeoff process, or some might consider it a checklist approach, is to start with a spreadsheet of your own items. Those objects can be physical objects or scopes of assembly system items. Either way, starting with a master spreadsheet in say Excel for example, many estimators think of it as risk mitigation, don’t forget the things they often take off. Since Planswift is a stand-alone takeoff program, if Excel is your forecasting system, it saves your takeoff images in Planswift instead of your forecast. If you are using Excel, you will need to manually save your takeoff measurement numbers in Excel and your takeoff images in Planswift or elsewhere, not just in Excel where the takeoff measurements are. Again, if you want to integrate with Excel, they force you to export or import takeoff items from Excel instead of dynamically integrating them into Excel. However, they have the ability to insert the quantities measured from Planswift into any Excel spreadsheet or Word document. The main purpose or primary focus of this program is measurement, so it works well at that task. Many other functions require you to jump around different screens and essentially lose track of where you are. There are some features that attempt to address the forecasting process, however, there are many features that are missing for Planswift as a complete forecasting system; This is No A Planswift leading forecasting system integrates with Sage Timberline, but the integration is weak. Since Timberline’s strength is in assembly takeoff and where most estimators reside in Timberline, Planswift does not give the estimator the ability to add various Timberline items or one-time items needed to be added on the fly to an assembly while in Planswift. Timberline interview on screen, and while in the counting phase. Planswift allows deleting assembly generated objects as well as adjusting the proportions of assembly items in a separate screen. Again, to do all that, you are forced to go to different screens. No assembly is ever perfect in any estimating system because project conditions are always different, therefore, adding items to the assembly is extremely important. It is an absolute requirement for any estimator to add items and associated quantities during the measurement and estimation phases of takeoff; Planswift struggles with something related to timberline estimating. Planswift Timberline Estimating allows you to send measurements directly to items and assemblies, just like you would with an old digitizer measuring board. Training, support and maintenance are additional For Planswift. On-Screen Takeoff and PlanSwift charge their annual maintenance and support fees through On Center Software per license (required) That costs the end user more each year, especially if a customer has more than one license.
On Center’s On-Screen Takeoff is the grand daddy of software takeoff products because it’s been around the longest. On Center recognizes that On-Screen Takeoff is primarily a measurement event. That’s why there’s a separate estimator called QuickBid for those who want an estimator. On Center is not trying to trick you into thinking it’s a prediction system. In an on-screen takeoff, you also determine which drawing you’re on, and then you measure the plan. But, before you start, you can usually load a master set of styles from your own library of takeoffs or measured objects. That process seems less complicated than Planswift. On-Screen Takeoff gives you the ability to add a type of takeoff item on the fly by naming it and then taking off; Also somewhat manual and slow process. The program comes with several features that mainly focus on simple measurement to advanced measurement problems and attention to detail for easy navigation to the takeoff process. The center does a very good job of this. However, thinking seems disconnected from the Excel spreadsheet items you use for estimates and/or proposals. The integration in Microsoft Excel is not a dynamic live link, in my opinion after thinking about it. Yes, you can set named style links to cells or ranges in Excel, somewhat rigid. But you have to ask yourself, which happens more often than not: what do you do during takeoff and when you want to add some things to an Excel spreadsheet? Again there will be manual associations that you have to set up with Excel which is another big let down. You will need to manually save your takeoff measurement numbers in Excel and your takeoff images on-screen or wherever you decide, takeoff images will not be saved in Excel where there are takeoff measurements. This type of situation occurs when the takeoff program is a stand-alone program. On Center’s on-screen takeoff has the best integration with the most used forecasting system in the USA: the Sage Timberline forecast. This basically mimics the same interview process as you would with the old digitizer measurement circles. Working directly with Timberline, the on-screen takeoff allows the estimator to takeoff a Timberline variable query and immediately return to the Timberline Assembly with takeoff quantities on the variable query. This process allows the on-screen takeoff estimator to continue his/her timberline interview process by reviewing/massaging the quantities generated in Sage Timberline Estimating or by adding items to the timberline assembly as the estimator sees fit. That workflow process gives the estimator full control, a good job at the center. Training, support and maintenance are additional For on-screen takeoff. On-Screen Takeoff and PlanSwift charge their annual maintenance and support fees through On Center Software per license (mandatory) That costs the end user more each year, especially if a customer has more than one license.
This is the next system only If you have a forecasting system or proposal generator Microsoft Excel. Electronic plan takeoff software is a Plug-in for Excel. You start your spreadsheet, you do the measuring takeoff, you can add a few more items on the fly while you’re in the measuring phase of the electronic plan takeoff program. When you’re done, even if you added items on the fly, they automatically appear in your Excel spreadsheet. Excel controls everything. Your project is started in Excel, your takeoff is saved in Excel, an estimate or proposal can/can be created in Excel; One event, one place. Many Takeoff programs interface with Excel in some way, but only Electronic Plan Takeoff is linked directly to Excel, meaning all your Excel spreadsheet descriptions appear in the Counting Takeoff program so you always know where you are in Excel. This is a huge difference compared to Planeswift and on-screen takeoff. You can also change the takeoff item description in the electronic plan takeoff and it is automatically changed directly in your Excel spreadsheet. When you talk about the forecasting and takeoff phase, you want to keep the processes clean and simple, and this program does just that. Do not lose in this program. As with the other programs reviewed above, the central focus of this program is takeoff measurement and it Great Job at that place. Navigation in the program is really simple and easy. It’s not made to work with other estimating systems, but there is a version that allows measurements to be sent directly to any Microsoft Windows program awaiting keyboard entry, just as you would with a digitizer measuring board. There is also a version that works with a digitizer board. If you use Microsoft Excel for estimates, or takeoffs or proposals, this electronic plan takeoff program for Excel is yours the best The choice is integration into Excel Incomparable In electronic plan takeoff compared to Planswift or on-screen takeoff. What’s different is the electronic plan takeoff Training, support and maintenance are included With purchase, training, support and maintenance for Planswift and On-Screen Takeoff are extra. Additionally, annual support and maintenance for electronic plan takeoff year two and beyond is a reduced fee per company per year, rather than per license. On-Screen Takeoff and PlanSwift charge their annual maintenance and support fees through On Center Software per license (mandatory) That costs the end user more each year, especially if a customer has more than one license.
Microsoft and Excel are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Planswift is a Tech Unlimited, Inc. is a registered trademark of On-Screen Takeoff and QuickBid are On Center Software, Inc. are registered trademarks of Sage Timberline Office, Sage Timberline Estimating is Sage Software, Inc. are registered trademarks of
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