Creating an estimate for any mechanical project is critical for a successful outcome. The best mechanical estimation software is optimised to aid contractors’ natural workflow and reduce the chances of errors.
Look for systems with onscreen capabilities that allow you to do takeoffs directly from digital plans on your computer screen. This saves time and money compared to marking up paper copies.
When evaluating mechanical estimating software, it is important to consider the costs associated with the system. Some systems require a one-time purchase of the license while others use a subscription model. It is also important to find out if training is included in the cost or if it must be purchased separately. Some vendors will come to your company for training, while others offer online courses and virtual workshops.
It is essential to find a mechanical estimation software solution that meets your needs. A good mechanical estimating system will have a database of mechanical-specific parts and items, including fittings, valves, piping materials and light gauge and heavy gauge sheet metal material for heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC). The best solution is one that offers a library of pre-built assemblies, which can save you time by eliminating the need to enter your own assembly/item information.
Another feature to look for in a good mechanical estimation software is the ability to calculate labor rates, material discounts and prime costs, as well as generate bills for clients. It should also have a regularly updated database of materials. This will help you save a lot of time in preparing estimates and making changes. It will also help you win more jobs by providing accurate and detailed bids. Moreover, it will reduce the chance of delays and costly remedial work in construction projects.
One of the biggest problems with mechanical estimating is time. It requires accurate measurements and careful analysis in order to produce a detailed estimate of labour and material costs for each project. It also involves analysing historical data and accounting for risk factors such as fluctuations in labour costs and material prices. Thankfully, new technologies like specialist mechanical takeoff software have helped to reduce the time involved in this process, saving contractors valuable resources.
For example, some software systems can automatically build assemblies for equipment connections with all the associated pipe, valves and fittings. This eliminates the need to repeat taking off the same items each time a chiller, pump or other piece of equipment is installed. It is also possible to save commonly used assemblies in construction estimating software and retain them for future projects. This can be particularly helpful for piping estimates where the same types of pipe may be repeated across multiple bids.
Another benefit of using a mechanical estimation software is the ability to import and update supplier cost information, as well as labor pricing. Some vendors offer a complete package for both estimating and scheduling, and others focus on a single aspect of the process. Many solutions are available, so it’s important to choose a system that meets your specific requirements. For instance, if you use polypro and press-fit type fittings, it is important to ensure that the system you are considering has them set up in the database.
One of the best things about mechanical estimation software is its flexibility. You can customize your estimates to meet the needs of your company. You can also access your data anytime, anywhere. Additionally, you can perform multiple types of takeoffs with different measurement methods and easily incorporate labor, equipment, overage, profit margin and tax into your proposals.
Most mechanical estimating solutions are designed to work with a wide variety of fabrication equipment. Ask your vendor if their program is compatible with the type of equipment you have. This will save time when you have to send files back and forth between your estimating program and the fabrication department.
The software should also have a large library of assemblies, such as elbows, tees and joints that are ready to estimate and can be modified for your specific project. These assemblies contain all the pipe, valves and fittings required to connect a piece of equipment. This can save you a great deal of time during your takeoffs.
Another important feature to consider is the ability to compare drawings for addendums or change-orders. This will save you a lot of time because you can quickly compare the new drawing to the original one and highlight or mark any changes. Also, some programs offer a mobile application that can be used on an iPad or Android to do a field takeoff and then import it into the main estimating program.
When it comes to mechanical estimation software, it’s important to know what kind of reporting capabilities the program has. Many programs have a wide range of standard reports, but some also allow users to customize the types of reports they want. This can be helpful for businesses that have a particular way they like to review their material and labor summaries and breakdowns.
Many mechanical construction estimating programs will also let you store information in an assembly or item detail that can be referenced throughout the estimate. This can save time by eliminating the need to enter individual items and costs in each section of the estimate. For example, a residential interior wall requires a predictable amount of nails, wood and drywall, which can be entered once and used for multiple estimates. The estimating program will then use this information to calculate the cost of the entire wall.
Some programs will have a list of common specifications such as copper, black iron and plastics that can be used for various piping systems. If your company uses other specifications, ask if the software can be customized to include these materials as well.
Another feature to look for is the ability to update prices and material data quickly. Several locations within the estimate may need to be changed, so it is useful if the estimating tool can apply a change in a few places at once. This can also help reduce the chance of errors.