Comparing Excel With Construction Takeoff Software
There are some segments of the construction industry that technology can’t touch. There’s no replacement for the skills and experience of a good tradesman, for example. When it comes to paperwork … that’s another matter. Anything that lets you escape desk work and get to the job site faster is welcome, and several construction software programs are designed to do exactly that.
Years ago, when the construction industry began shifting some monotonous paperwork tasks to computer programs, there weren’t a lot of options. One program that became popular was Microsoft Office’s Excel. This spreadsheet program can keep track of anything that can be put in chart form — contact information for subcontractors, materials lists and cost estimates, just to name a few.
Technology, of course, has soared since Excel’s introduction. Software designed specifically for the construction industry now has capabilities that dwarf Excel, like a high-rise adjacent to a shed. Construction takeoff software is a great example. Here’s a look at some of the differences between using PrebuiltML X software and settling for a spreadsheet.
Excel — Rooted in Basics
It’s not difficult to understand why someone might compile a takeoff list with Excel:
- The program is widely available.
- It’s easy to use.
- You likely are familiar with it.
- There’s an option to create and add custom formulas that might help you with pricing estimates, for example.
There’s a lot that Excel cannot do, however. And that’s logical — it has universal applications; it was not designed with the specific needs of construction professionals in mind.
PrebuiltML X — Features for Today’s Construction Professionals
PrebuiltML X is a takeoff solution that was designed specifically for dealers, builders and framers. It has capabilities well beyond anything Excel can offer. Here’s a look at just some of the key features:
- Built-in product database. More than 50 million products are listed in the database, which comes standard with the software. The program lets you manage your stocked products, lengths and preferences. How many Excel spreadsheets would you need to list 50 million products?
- Integrated pricing. While PrebuiltML X does not have a pricing database with pre-filled information, it does have an SKU interface so that you can conveniently manage material pricing.
- Point-and-click measuring. Draw posts, beams or other components into a construction layout by pointing and clicking, and the PrebuiltML X digitizer will help you count, measure and calculate how much material is needed.
- Ability to manage preferences. If you keep multiple stocking lists and lengths or use standard prefabricated assemblies, the software’s management tools let you keep track of everything so you always have a consistent starting point.
- Reduced risk for error. Why go back and forth between screens, or from paper plans to the spreadsheet to record your count? It can be very easy to lose your place and enter an incorrect number, miss an item or count it twice. Estimating software gives you the option to import your plans and then do the entire count process on a single screen without someone accidentally altering the formulas, which can easily happen using Excel.
- More efficient communication. Serious problems can arise if more than one person at a time is working on an Excel spreadsheet and all changes from all users aren’t being saved. And if you have questions about a specific part of the plans or if you need to leave notes for the crew in the field, you need to track down the right people and make sure they get the information you’re trying to convey. PrebuiltML X allows you to leave notes for collaboration in your group workspace — instead of having to rely on email or phone calls to get the job done.
Save Time and Money With PrebuiltML X
Investing in PrebuiltML X allows you to take advantage of the numerous features that not only help move your estimating process forward but also automate much of the overall process. You’ll be spending less time in the office and more time making money in the field, which can improve your profitability. Give PrebuiltML X a try and see how efficient construction estimating software can make your company.