4 Sep

How Can Templates Help During Construction Estimating?

There’s always a battle to fight when you’re a tradesman or a contractor in the construction industry. Competition, thin margins and rising material costs are all despised enemies of your bottom line. What’s more, time- and money-saving shortcuts are hard to come by, especially because structural integrity is at stake once the actual work on a project is underway.

It is during the planning stages that there are great opportunities to get on the path to efficiency. Thanks to technology, creating cost and takeoff estimates for projects is much easier than ever, and they’re specifically designed to save you time and money. Software that relies on construction estimating templates as a starting point is particularly useful as a timesaver, whether you are framing an entire building or just handling one portion of a job, such as roofing, siding or painting.

The Benefit of Takeoff Software Templates

You already know that material costs are critical to a project’s profit potential, and costs have been soaring this year and have hit the industry with a vengeance. So, let’s specifically examine the importance of using takeoff software to save on materials — and how templates make the process easy.

The primary goal of takeoff software is to help you eliminate over-ordering materials, and for framing takeoffs, it is to get the optimal cutting lengths from each piece of lumber to avoid waste. Reducing the overall volume of your order inherently reduces your costs, which can be the difference between making a profit on a project or taking a loss. Creating a takeoff from a standing template also brings consistency and accuracy to the process, saving time and the associated costs in that area, as well. Just like you wouldn’t want a crate of joist hangers with the pre-drilled holes in different places for each piece, why would you want to start from scratch each time and fill in different blanks each time you calculate the takeoff for a job?

Templates and Types of Information

Just as important as being familiar with construction estimating software templates to save time is trusting that they include information pertinent to each project. PrebuiltML has two software solutions, in effect making it scalable for the type of job — PrebuiltML X for dealers, builders and framers; and PROtrade, for takeoffs targeted for individual trade projects, from flooring to roofing.

Using PrebuiltML X as an example, a completed template will show general information such as a project name and address, and also lists of materials for different areas of a project, such as the first floor, second floor or roof. There are also templates that allow you to create floor layouts — and you can easily draw in beams, posts and joists with the ease of pointing and clicking. The software does the rest, calculating the amounts of materials that will be needed. A “notes” template provides for any communication needed to address questions or clarify instructions or other specifics to avoid expensive misunderstandings.

Benefits Beyond Using Templates

For estimating or takeoff software to be useful, it also should:

  • Be exportable to individuals at the job site, wherever there’s an Internet connection
  • Be exportable in a PDF or Excel format
  • Include an easy-to-use interface
  • Allow layouts and estimates to be built in a single system
  • Save custom assemblies such as stud walls for future projects
  • Allow users to create a product data base (Note: PrebuiltML X comes with a list of more than 50 million products.)
  • Be cost-effective, with support included with each license

Poor takeoff estimates can doom a construction project. PrebuiltML software helps you manage projects so they’re on time and on budget. Get your 14-day free trial today.