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Choosing Mechanical Estimating Software

A mechanical estimating software program should have different options for joining pipe and fittings, from soldered, brazed, welded and grooved to pressed or push connections. Also, it should have standard elbows, tees and joints in various sizes.

Ask your software vendor if the program allows you to download estimates to your fabrication equipment. This will save you a lot of time when quoting and can increase your profit margin.


The cost of mechanical estimating software is an important factor to consider. It can save a company money in the long run, making it more competitive and profitable. However, the initial costs of purchasing and implementing this type of software may seem prohibitive for some construction companies. Some estimating software vendors charge an upfront fee for the license to use their program, while others offer a standard subscription model that is billed on a monthly or annual basis.

It is also important to look at the types of tools available in a mechanical estimating program. Some of these programs include a number of useful features that can help make the process faster and more accurate. These features can include automatic takeoffs, cross-program compatibility, and project summary reports.

These types of reports can provide estimators with a wide range of information, including unit labor prices for individual components (e.g. 2×4 #2 studs), item categories (e.g. concrete, wood, finishes), or high-level groupings like equipment, materials, and labor. They can also provide a side-by-side comparison of alternative estimate versions.

Having the right software can help you estimate jobs more accurately, and save time when creating bids. Mechanical estimating software can help you determine material and labor quantities, as well as prepare detailed drawings of the entire job. It can also assist you in evaluating your competitors’ quotes and price proposals. This information can help you choose the best strategy for bidding projects.

Some estimating programs also come with a database of different pipe and fittings, including the various ways they can be joined together. This includes soldered, brazed, welded, grooved, pressed, and push joints. These tools can speed up the takeoff process when estimating pipes and ductwork.

Many of these estimating programs are compatible with mobile applications that can be used to do field takeoffs. Ask the estimating software company about these features and whether they are free to download for your team members. You can then import the data into the main program at the office to complete a takeoff and create an estimate.


When evaluating different mechanical construction estimating software, it’s important to consider the functionality of each. The program should be able to quickly calculate labor, material, equipment and overhead costs for each item of work. It should also be able to generate reports with the information in a format that is easy for you to review. It’s also helpful if the estimating program can export data into accounting programs or other construction management tools to save time.

Most mechanical estimating software comes with databases of different materials for piping, sheet metal and HVAC. The database will contain information such as a list of standard sizes of pipe from copper up to 2″ and carbon steel up to 2-1/2″. The program can then calculate the quantities of elbows, reducers, tees, and valves. It will also provide a number of ways to join them together, such as soldered, brazed, welded, grooved, and pressed joints. The software can also store information about the labor required to install each type of joint and the associated cost for each assembly.

Many mechanical estimating programs have the capability to import a drawing from the engineering department or from an architect into the estimating program. This saves a lot of time in preparing the estimate, and it allows for the program to easily compare the two drawings. It will also mark any changes to the drawing and highlight or indicate those changes for you. Some programs also have a mobile application that is compatible with their main program, which allows you to do field takeoffs and then import the file into the estimating program.

Another feature that is useful is the ability to add different line items to the estimate, such as value engineering or a labor-only quote. Some of these programs have a built-in calculator that will help you determine how much each item should cost based on your specified criteria.

It’s also a good idea to look at the available documentation for the mechanical estimating software. Some vendors have training videos online, while others offer written documentation to help you get started with the program. It’s a good idea to read through the documentation before purchasing the program, as it may answer many questions you have about the system and its features.


When choosing a mechanical estimating software program you will want to ask about the type and amount of documentation that is available. Having the ability to refer to training videos or documentation will be helpful when you are looking to learn more about the programs capabilities or needing to troubleshoot a simple problem before calling technical support.

You may also want to ask the software vendor about a mobile app that is compatible with their main program. This will allow you to do a takeoff in the field using an iPad or similar device and then import that file back into your main estimating software program at the office. This will help you save time and ensure that the information that you are entering into the estimating program is accurate.

Many estimating software programs will allow you to store assembly or item details that are commonly used on a particular project. This will make the estimating process much faster and more accurate as it will not have to calculate each individual component every time that you use this assembly on future projects. For example, a residential interior wall typically uses the same quantity of nails, wood and drywall so this information can be stored in the form of an assembly that is then referenced each time you do a new project.

Another common feature that is offered by some of these programs is the ability to do a comparison between two drawings. This will help you quickly and easily address changes or addendums that have been received on the project. This will help you improve your estimating accuracy and eliminate costly errors.

Having the right mechanical estimating software can be a critical part of your success as a contractor. By making the decision to invest in a quality estimating program you can reduce your time spent on preparing estimates and increase your profit margins. By reducing your overhead expenses you will be better able to compete against other companies who do not have the same investment in mechanical estimating software.

The best way to decide which estimating software is right for you is to get a free demonstration from one of the providers listed below or search online for more options. By doing this you can compare the cost and functionality of different software programs and find the one that is right for your business.


Estimating is often viewed as a skill that can only be learned with a lot of on-the-job experience. This isn’t necessarily untrue, but estimating software can help reduce the amount of time it takes to create an estimate and ensure the accuracy of the estimates that are produced.

When choosing a mechanical estimating program, it’s important to consider the type of support and training that is available. Many estimating programs come with a library of online training videos that will walk you through the basics of using the program. Many also have customer service representatives who can answer questions and troubleshoot issues when needed.

It’s also important to look at the documentation that is provided with your estimating software. Some vendors may only provide videos, while others will include written documentation that can be used as a reference guide when you’re working on an estimate. Having access to this documentation is important, especially if you need to quickly find a specific piece of information, or if you encounter any problems with the program that aren’t covered in the online videos or manuals.

Some estimating programs will allow you to use standard labor units published by MCAA (Mechanical Contractors Association of America), PHCC (Plumbing, Heating & Cooling Contractors Association) or SMACNA (Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association). These units are pre-populated into the database and can be used when creating an estimate. Having this feature in your estimating software will save you time by eliminating the need to manually calculate unit labor yourself.

Another useful feature that some estimating programs have is the ability to import an on-screen takeoff file into their main program. This can be a huge time saver as it eliminates the need to manually enter all of the data into each and every pipe, fitting or connection that is on a drawing. Ask your potential estimating software vendor about this capability and if they have any additional features that can make the process of importing field takeoffs into their main estimating program even more efficient.

Most estimating programs will allow you to store assembly or item details that are used frequently in your projects. These can include material lists, labour quantities and costs, manufacturer discounts, labour rates for site work and so on. This can save you time in the estimating process by avoiding the need to manually enter this information each time.