Today, software technologies have been integrated into construction cost estimation as they have been found to improve efficiency and reliability of the process. ComputerEase (1983), FOUNDATION (1985), Planswift (2009), Buiterra (2016) software, will be evaluated to understand the benefits of using software programs in cost estimation and compared to understand the development through time.
ComputerEase, established in 1983, is one of the earliest companies to integrate technology into construction accounting. The company has continued to provide cutting edge solutions that facilitate decision-making for engineers and project owners. The job costing capacities of ComputerEase are built to ensure that construction projects do not rag behind because of issues relating to the budget. By investing in the software, the users are assured that they can easily track their job costs through different approaches such as work-in-progress reporting, analysis of labor, cost projections and unit production. The software prides of having unique cash flow management that helps contractors increase their profit margin and boost production. This is done through the projection of costs, identification of potential problems, performing labor analysis, and gradually assessing productivity.
FOUNDATION, established in 1985, focuses mostly on job costing reports and formats and enables users to create custom reports. FOUNDATION has been built for different users including governments, industrial contractors, and commercial users. The software offers automatic job costing by calculating and tracking different jobs, rates of pay, location, and employee unions (FOUNDATION, 2018).
PlansSwift, established in 2009, is an on-screen digitization platform that is primarily used by commercial and residential contractors and subcontractors in different sectors including plumbing, electrical, and home building. The software provides a platform for users to calculate values for labor and materials through simple clicking on various objects on the digital plan.
Builterra, established in 2016, has become one of the most used software in construction cost estimation around the world. The growing popularity of the software can be associated with the fact that is has a comprehensive service offering through its mobile app and website. Using its cloud-based resources, Builterra has facilitated the development of real-time cost estimations for clients using its other services as well as those utilizing other competing solutions. The primary benefit that users enjoy from the use of Builterra is that it facilitates the development of accurate and timely estimates from other data that has already been uploaded about a particular project. Its solutions “bridge the divide between CAD (computer-aided design) and the bid process” (Builterra, 2018). Builterra provides a quantity extraction approach that connects the design date in CAD to the current tender. The user can simply upload CAD to develop a build pay table section on the standardized templates, which can be used to create cost estimates. The user is also saved from perusing through previous documents and bids to find the pricing of items in the design. There is also the option of conducting ad hoc estimates on a particular item, which makes it the first software to connect the design and actual data on cost.