Construction estimating software is a collection of programs, processes and information used to calculate the total cost of a construction project. Estimating software automates the formulations formerly obtained through manual spreadsheets and calculators. Legacy tools like tape measures can be replaced by tablet PCs and digital cameras. The introduction of both tools facilitates and improves the estimating process by increasing the speed and accuracy with which an estimate can be made. Estimating software, in general, improves a contractor's ability to compete with other bids and accurately represent the true cost of a project to potential clients, enhancing productivity and easing the bidding process.
Construction estimating software is used in many different sectors of the construction industry. Different versions address specialized applications in commercial, industrial and residential construction, as well as general contracting, specialty contracting and highway or heavy contracting. Common capabilities across the various fields include: takeoff software, cost databases and estimating worksheets. Due to the vast number of calculations that estimating applications perform, a fast CPU and ample RAM are both necessary for optimal functionality.
According to the Construction Financial Management Association's 2008 Information Technology Survey, the larger a construction company, the more likely it is to use construction estimating software. Companies in specialty construction fields use construction estimating software most frequently. Leading construction estimating software packages include Sage Timberline Office, Microsoft Excel and HeavyBid, which is popular among heavy and highway firms.
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