I was recently asked “Has digital takeoff and visual and/or electronic estimating changed estimating practices?”
Many of us would respond differently, but digital takeoff and visual estimating provide a great deal more flexibility in how we estimate. That said, there are key points to check when using digital takeoff however, especially checking for the correct scale.
Because software does the software multiple calculations at once; length measurements, area calculations and subtotals, it can be easy to capture the wrong quantity with the click of a mouse.
As 4Clickers we know that the link to RSMeans reference costs and Uniformat/MasterFormat standards is a great time saver, and combined with Project Estimators’ project and document management, promotes reuse of estimates and collaboration.
The “basics” and an inherent robust “estimating process” don’t change though.
For example the relationships and relative accuracies of a square foot estimate, vs. systems level estimate, vs. sub-systems and unit prices estimates, right down to a specific BOM should be understood and applied within the context of UNIFORMAT, MASTERFORMAT, and other standards. In the software world of electronic estimating the estimator can work “top down”, meaning starting with building type and square foot estimating and location info, etc., or bottom up, from unit prices, or any combination thereof.
Depending upon the robustness of the software, one can check for inconsistencies relative to scale, units of measure, and do associated comparisons and counts. The key to the technology in my opinion is the collaboration and data reuse aspects, as well as movement to more consistent data to better support your cost estimating and project management requirements and that’s our focus at 4Clicks.