Whether your company estimates manually or by computer, never be totally satisfied with the results. No matter how fast your takeoff or how accurate your projected costs, advances in estimating software technology can help you do it better.

A major productivity feature of these advanced software systems is the work package (sometimes called an assembly). A work package lets you take off a concrete component's numerous items just by entering its dimensions. And work packages are becoming even more sophisticated. Take, for instance, the "intelligent" work package. The intelligent work package can make decisions based on factors already determined for the estimate. For example, it can choose the grade and spacing of rebar based on the height of the concrete wall.


Software products are being developed that will transfer takeoff dimensions and specifications from computer-aided design (CAD) over to your estimating software. A complete detailed estimate can be created in minutes. Linking CAD and computer estimating software also lets you explore design alternatives. You can do "what-if" tests. Vendors even have software that lets their estimating software communicate with their scheduling software.