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
For those of you who are new to electrical estimating software, it is important to understand the basic concepts behind the shiny images on the computer screen. Not knowing can lead to problems with the software and your estimates.
Contractors have been using rudimentary building-information modeling (BIM) tools since the 1970s to design installations before construction. Today’s BIM software tools aim beyond new builds to help users track operational efficiency.
This is a column about tools. For technicians who install, maintain and repair components of a building’s low-voltage networks, basic hand tools include wire cutters and strippers, crimpers, punchdown tools and testers—many designed specifically for voice/data/video.
Six years ago, I wrote, “[estimating] software technology is not going to dramatically change” (“Smart Buys,” Electrical Contractor, September 2005). Wow, was I ever wrong about that. It has changed quite dramatically.
I only have 1,200 words to tell you as much as I can about some of the best estimating software programs available on the market, so I’m not going to waste any of them chitchatting. Let’s get started in alphabetical order … YEE HA!
For electrical contracting companies that have many large, complex projects underway at the same time, construction management software is the key to making everything go smoothly and to completing each job on schedule and within budget.
Questions every estimator should ask In every area of business, trends play a vital role in the analysis of what makes a business successful (or not) and predicting the possible future. As estimators, we play an important part in our company’s current state of business and its future.
Vendors strive to identify and meet the needs of ECs: There is a head-spinning amount of software options for electrical contractors today ranging from estimating to automating to integration of all facets of a very large business; somewhere in the midst of the many options, contractors need to loo
Electrical estimating is a tough, involved subject to teach and a very hard subject to learn. This is not a class they teach in high school or in most colleges, if any. Heck, I don’t recall the word “estimating” ever being said at career day.
Estimators come in all shapes and sizes. Most I have met are not very athletic, except for a few golf games between bids. I’m sure there are many who are very athletic, but let’s face it—on any given day, our most strenuous moment is lifting a 40-pound set of drawings onto our workstation.
Electrical contractors install a variety of parts, material and equipment on every job, which represents almost half of the total project cost. Providing the correct materials at the right time is critical to keeping projects on schedule; delays can waste valuable labor hours and money.