Estimating for house builders in the 21st Century

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The digital age is upon us and never more so than in construction estimating.

Fading fast are the days of scale rules and even digitisers as, nowadays, digital on-screen measurement can be undertaken from a home or office PC.

There are a number of packages available but one of the most popular is CostX by Exactal. This software uses in-built technology to load the majority of drawing files, and incorporates features that take advantage of information in the drawing to enable single click measurements, saving time whilst maintaining and even improving accuracy.

Measurements from the drawings are then linked directly to cost estimates which can themselves be linked to the latest merchant and subcontractor pricing.

This live-linking of measurements means costs are updated in real time, so the estimate “grows” as measurements are taken from the plan.

It also means that the estimate automatically updates if measurements are revised to account for alterations to the drawings.

For larger volume builders’ or franchise operators’ standard plans, measurements and associated estimates can be held in a central database and linked to each site, region or franchise’s specific pricing.

As required, the standard plans can be called up and any site-specific measurements added to produce a final estimate. Client-derived alterations can quickly be adjusted, altering the estimate in real-time — allowing the implications of “what-if?” scenarios to be costed.

For smaller builders or one-off architectural projects, industry feedback suggests that an estimate done using manual methods alone is three times slower and less accurate than one done digitally.

With time saved, you can complete three times as many estimates or, alternatively, you could recoup two thirds of the time currently spent estimating down at the beach.

As such, if you haven’t yet looked at digital on-screen measurement, now is the time to ensure you’re not being left in the past!