Keeping track of tools—whether just a few or hundreds—is a challenge that computers have made much easier. Software developed specifically for managing tools and equipment has replaced simple lists and spreadsheets.
Paperwork is vanishing from desks in contractor offices and from the hands of contractors on the job site. The shift to digital, however, can be hard to navigate. A host of software solutions and mobile apps are available, but not all are created equal.
They’re here. The mavens of technology have arrived to tell us that, once again, we must move on to the next great thing. According to them, web-based software is the path to the future. The “cloud” is where we now must compute, write, schedule, calculate and present.
Building information modeling (BIM) software and digital collaboration tools saved approximately $10 million out of a $295 million budget on the recently completed Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB) in Portland, Ore.
Collaborative building processes and technologies are gaining more attention from building owners, contractors and subcontractors. In May, global advisory firm KPMG released its “2015 Global Construction Survey,” which surveyed owners and decision-makers of large construction firms.
Spreadsheet software is made for crunching numbers, but database programs are made for crunching data, and they do it better. Consider the following reasons why a database is a good platform for electrical estimating systems.
While the electric power industry rapidly changes, utilities and building owners will need to accurately model the engineering and economic operations of the power system to make informed decisions, so they require sophisticated modeling-software tools.
I was recently following a forum discussion about issues related to using spreadsheet software for estimating. It turned into a spreadsheet–versus–database argument and got a little heated. The truth is both systems have a place in your estimating toolbox.
Before I get started, I want to let you know that the following is based on my experience with three software packages. While the basic concepts are the same for most software in this category, the specifics of how they work may be different.
As estimators, we are sometimes called on to create and maintain schedules. Many of us actually hold the position of estimator/project manager, so we are wholly responsible for scheduling our own projects.
If you’re going to do a job right, you need the right tools. Today, the definition of tool goes beyond wire crimpers and multimeters. It now includes smartphones and the apps that make them crucial to a contractor’s success. The following are some of the apps that contractors could consider using.
Contractors that are still putting estimates together using pencil and paper are not only wasting time and money, but they also are losing business. Contractors who think they can’t afford estimating software are just plain wrong.
Constant advances in software and the pressing need to save money and improve operational efficiencies mean electrical contractors must frequently revisit the question of whether to upgrade their fleet, service and time-management software systems.
The company I worked at while being trained as an electrical estimator already had an estimating system: a mainframe computer system called Estimatic. We had to convert each takeoff item and assembly into a 10-digit code. We entered the codes and quantities into a teletype machine.
In the previous two articles in this series, I wrote about how to get information out of a database and into an estimate. So, let’s say you have entered all of your takeoff and have a file full of the selected electrical materials, each with its own price and labor unit attached.
The next function of electrical estimating software (after the database, which I covered last month), is having a way for you to enter your takeoff into the estimating system. How do we get items out of the database and into the estimate? That is the job of the user interface.
From simple apps for mobile devices that store product data, to more sophisticated, computer-based software programs that calculate photometrics (the measurement of light as perceived by the human eye), a wide range of products are available in the lighting industry to assist electrical contractors