Estimating Software


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Hi Guys,


I know many times we have covered this topic, but i need some suggestions on which programs there are out there, to do good takeoffs from a PDF.


I'm looking at Build-soft at the moment and you get a great Bill of materials by building assemblies, I'm struggling at the moment trying to work out how to set it up. lol


At the moment I'm using CA to get my quantities though its too limited to get the figures of the costing. Whereas Build soft after making the assemblies i can simple drop in components and get an exact costing and quantities out of it.


Simply, you draw a line around the footprint of the building and with that one line around the perimeter calculate, my footings,reo area of slab and wall quantities.


I believe once i set it up it shouldn't take more than about an hour max to obtain a full estimate with all the figures.


I'm struggling to get two to three quotes a day with using CA and a spread sheet.


I think if CA eventually perfect their  material list it would be far more superior.

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We have a license to Xactimate. It has a "price list" for the city we live in that updates monthly to include the average cost of area labor and materials. It is fairly accurate, insurance companies use so we know what they are estimating. I do aerial roof take offs without even going on roofs other than to note layers. The rendering and modeling capability is no where close to CA, not even remotely. It cost little over $2K. Seems there are a ton available but not with both the power to estimate and render well. That would probably be $5000+ a license. We are looking for a way to export from CA to a good estimating software too. Last I checked with Xactimate I'd have to import an image, use to it to build the model again in Xactimate. From the price list I can also produce production schedules in a Microsoft Project type format, assign labor resources, set milestones, track schedules, etc.


I been looking at the ML lately. I'm new to CA ML but it appears to be accurate withing 1-2%. I'm having to call around get quotes, populated my own excel, add it to CA ML after babysitting the heck out of it from the beginning of the model. And/Or, I can use Xactimate price list and manually feed CA after converting the math. Cumbersome! CA should add plug-ins like at the level of Xactimate, etc, for a price. I'd buy it to save time. 


It's not easy to putting all that together. In corporate where I work with deep pockets I spent most of last week working out issues when data is pushed from CAD to CAM to BIMS and back. The IT guys once again tried to consolidate but we downstream are feeling the pain as in long leads to get drawings released... we'll the company is really but that's the price for being at the forefront of technology ;) When it does work the ML is very accurate, no brainer, do not even have to think about it or check it. 

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