A comprehensive list of the best estimating software split into their respective specialities and capabilities. We have made it easy to narrow down your search to the solutions that best match your company's requirements.

Subcontractors more often than not use either Infrastructure and Heavy Construction or Industrial Construction estimating software to help keep their estimates competitive.


First Principles Estimating1

First principles estimating is the technique whereby you reduce the whole of its parts down to its most fundamental concepts and or elements, for the most accurate estimates. Once vetted for scope, price completeness and accuracy, this technique makes estimating easily repeatable over many projects, helping the estimators establish a consistent process to his pricing.

  1. Complex Resources

Only with Estimating software with the capability of unlimited levels of nested complex resources, is it possible to implement a “First Principles” estimating environment.

  1. Setting Variables

A variable is a quantity that may change within the context of a mathematical problem. If an estimating application provides this capability, it allows the user flexibility to cover a range of solutions in one worksheet/assembly.


Advanced Mathematics with Logic Capability2

Mathematical logic deals with mathematical concepts expressed using formal logical systems.

  1. Using the IF with AND, OR and NOT logic

The IF function allows you to make a logical comparison between a value and what you expect by testing for a condition and returning a result if that condition is True or False.

  1. Functions and Equations

If your software allows you to create a function, then use that function in your equation, this would enable you to incorporate any mathematical solution into your estimating philosophy.


Assemblies, Simple Resources or Plugged Values Estimating3

When used, consistently assemblies add value in the process, because they become known and trusted components to estimators.

  1. Rate Libraries and Assemblies

This is when application allow you to create rate libraries in the form of either worksheets or assemblies which in turn helps you to speeden up your estimating processes.

  1. Simple Resources or Plugged Values4

This is a quick and easy way to create an estimate, often used by the trades and general contractors. The software providers often link the estimate to an invoicing accounting package like MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks.


Infrastructure and Heavy Construction

A comprehensive list of software provides capable of producing first principles estimates

Candy iTWO1, 2, & 3

Methvin1, 2 & 3

Heavybid2 & 3


BIM, 3D & CAD Estimating Software

Cubit Estimating3

iTWO CostX3

Cost-OS2 & 3


Industrial Construction

B2W Estimate2 & 3

Benchmark Estimating Software2 & 3

Expert Estimating2 & 3


2D Takeoff Estimating Software



Methvin1, 2 & 3


Commercial Building

Causeway3 & 4

Sage3 & 4

Plexxis3 & 4


Residential Building

Buildertrend3 & 4

CoConstruct3 & 4




Tradify3 & 4

SimPRO3 & 4

Rakon3 & 4


Taking the above mentioned into consideration, this is our pick of the top ten best construction estimating software solutions for the year.

  1. Candy iTWO by RIB
  2. Methvin by GBC
  3. Expert Estimating by Ponamics
  4. Heavybid by HCSS
  5. Cubit Estimating by Buildsoft
  6. ProEst
  7. B2W Estimate by B2W
  8. Plexxis by Plexxis
  9. SimPRO
  10. Tradify


In the dynamic world of project management and cost estimation, traditional methods often fall short of providing accurate and reliable cost estimates for complex projects. This is where Methvin's First Principles Estimating Software steps in, revolutionizing the way estimates are generated. By breaking down a project into its fundamental components and analyzing the cost of each element, Methvin offers a host of advantages that traditional methods simply can't match. In this article, we'll delve into these advantages and explore why First Principles Estimating Software is becoming an indispensable tool for modern estimators and project managers.

Precision and Accuracy:

Methvin's Estimating Application starts from the ground up, evaluating the costs of individual tasks, materials, and resources required for a project. This granular approach results in highly accurate estimates. Unlike historical data-based methods, which might not account for unique project characteristics, Methvin's First Principles Estimating ensures that no detail is overlooked. This level of precision is especially crucial for complex and innovative projects where historical data might not provide relevant insights.

This is in contrast to unit costing, which is a simpler method of estimating that does not take into account all of the direct costs of the project. Unit costing typically only considers the cost of materials and labor, and it does not take into account the cost of equipment, overhead, or profit.

Flexibility and Adaptability:

Traditional estimation methods often rely on historical data and analogies from past projects. However, these methods can struggle when faced with new and innovative projects that don't have direct parallels in the historical data. Methvin's First Principles Estimating Software is adaptable and can be applied to a wide range of project types. Its modular nature allows estimating leads to customize estimates according to project specifics, leading to more accurate results.


Methvin's First Principles Estimating Software can be used to create reusable templates, which can save time and improve accuracy on future projects. This is because the templates can be used to store the information that is used to estimate the cost of a project, such as the quantities of materials, the labor hours required, and the equipment costs.

For example, let's say you are using Methvin to estimate the cost of a new office building. Once you have completed the estimate, you can save the template so that you can use it to estimate the cost of other office buildings in the future. This can save you a lot of time and effort, and it can also help to improve the accuracy of your following estimates.

Transparency and Auditability:

One of the significant advantages of Methvin is its transparency. Since the estimate is built from the ground up, every cost component is visible and traceable. This transparency not only builds confidence among stakeholders but also allows for easy auditing. Project managers can provide a detailed breakdown of costs, making it clear how each aspect of the estimate was derived. This is particularly important for maintaining credibility and trust, especially when dealing with external clients or regulatory bodies.

Risk Management:

Methvin's First Principles Estimating Software enables project managers to identify and quantify risks more effectively. By analyzing the cost of each element separately, it becomes easier to identify potential areas of concern. This proactive risk management approach allows for better decision-making early in the project's lifecycle, reducing the chances of budget overruns or delays. Traditional methods often lack this level of risk visibility, leaving projects vulnerable to unforeseen challenges.

Accurate Budgeting and Resource Allocation:

For many projects, accurate budgeting and resource allocation are essential for success. Methvin's First Principles Estimating ensures that resources are allocated based on actual requirements, preventing over-allocation or shortages. This leads to optimized resource utilization, cost savings, and improved project timelines. Traditional methods might rely on generalized allocations, which can lead to inefficient resource utilization and budget discrepancies.

Continuous Improvement:

Methvin encourages a culture of continuous improvement. By analyzing the cost of each component in detail, project managers can identify areas where costs can be optimized over time. This data-driven approach empowers teams to learn from past projects and refine their estimating processes for future endeavors. Traditional methods often lack this level of introspection and data-driven improvement.


First Principles Estimating Software can also help to streamline the estimating process, freeing up time for estimators to focus on other tasks. This is because the software automates many of the tasks that are involved in estimating, such as calculating quantities, pricing materials, and scheduling labor.

For example, let's say you are using Methvin to estimate the cost of a new office building. The software would automatically calculate the quantities of materials that are required, based on the size and design of the building. The software would also automatically price the materials, based on current market prices. This would free up the estimator to focus on other tasks, such as scheduling labor and coordinating with subcontractors.


Methvin is flexible enough to be used for a variety of projects, from small renovations to large-scale construction projects. This is because the software can be customized to the specific needs of each project.

For example, let's say you are using First Principles Estimating Software to estimate the cost of a new office building. The software can be customized to include the specific materials, labor, and equipment that will be used for the project. The software can also be customized to include the specific overhead and profit margins that are desired.


Methvin can be used to collaborate with other stakeholders, such as engineers, architects, and subcontractors. This can help to ensure that all of the project costs are considered.

For example, let's say you are using First Principles Estimating Software to estimate the cost of a new office building. You can use the software to collaborate with the architect to determine the quantities of materials that are required. You can also use the software to collaborate with the engineers to determine the labor hours that are required. This can help to ensure that the estimate is accurate and that all of the project costs are considered.


In conclusion, the advantages of using Methvin Estimating are clear: precision, flexibility, transparency, risk management, accurate budgeting, and the potential for continuous improvement. As projects become increasingly complex and unique, relying solely on historical data or analogies from past projects can lead to inaccurate estimates and project setbacks. Methvin's First Principles Estimating Software paves the way for a more accurate, transparent, and adaptable approach to cost estimation, ultimately contributing to the success of modern projects.

Overall, Methvin is a valuable tool for construction companies that want to improve the accuracy, efficiency, and flexibility of their estimating process. The advantages of using this software are numerous and can help construction companies to save time and money, improve their decision-making, and increase their profitability.

Best construction estimating solution for your unique business requirements

Estimating accurately is crucial to the success of any construction project. Inaccurate estimates can lead to cost overruns, delays, and even project failure. That's why it's essential to have the right tools to help you estimate effectively.

There are many construction estimating software solutions available on the market today, each with its unique features and capabilities. To help you choose the right one for your business, we've compiled a comprehensive list of the best software solutions for 2023.

  • First on our list is Candy iTWO by RIB. This software is perfect for Infrastructure and Heavy Construction estimating. Its first principles estimating technique reduces a project into its fundamental concepts and elements for the most accurate estimates. With Candy iTWO, you can implement an "if this, then that" logic for variable quantities that can change within the context of a mathematical problem.
  • Methvin by GBC is another great software solution for Infrastructure and Heavy Construction. Its complex resource feature allows unlimited levels of nested resources, making it easy to implement a "First Principles" estimating environment. Methvin also supports the use of "if this, then that" logic, as well as the creation of custom functions and equations for incorporating mathematical solutions into your estimating philosophy.
  • Expert Estimating by Ponamics is an excellent choice for Industrial Construction. This software solution is designed specifically for the unique needs of industrial contractors. It features a powerful drag-and-drop interface for creating estimates quickly and easily. Expert Estimating also allows you to create custom assemblies and rate libraries, saving you time and effort in the estimating process.
  • For BIM, 3D, and CAD Estimating Software, we recommend Cubit Estimating by Buildsoft. This software solution integrates seamlessly with BIM and CAD programs, making it easy to generate accurate estimates directly from your 3D models. Cubit Estimating also features a comprehensive library of construction items, making it easy to create detailed estimates quickly.
  • If you're looking for 2D Takeoff Estimating Software, Methvin and Stack are an excellent choice. These software solutions support 2D takeoffs, allowing you to generate accurate estimates quickly and easily. Methvin, allows users to create a customizable equation for each measure that empowers you to tailor your takeoff and estimate process to your specific needs.
  • For Commercial Building, Causeway by Sage is an excellent choice. This software solution is designed specifically for commercial contractors and features a comprehensive suite of tools for estimating, project management, and cost control. Causeway also integrates seamlessly with popular accounting software like QuickBooks and Xero.
  • Finally, for Tradies, SimPRO by SimPRO Software is a great choice. This software solution is designed specifically for trade contractors and features powerful tools for estimating, project management, and invoicing. SimPRO also integrates seamlessly with popular accounting software like MYOB, Xero, and QuickBooks, making it easy to manage your finances and keep your projects on track.

In conclusion, choosing the right construction estimating software is crucial to the success of your business. With the right software solution, you can generate accurate estimates quickly and easily, saving time and money while staying ahead of the competition. Whether you're in Infrastructure and Heavy Construction, Industrial Construction, 2D Takeoff, Commercial Building, or Tradies, there's a software solution out there that's perfect for your business.

While working with a contractor who may have given a set tender, the majority of cost overruns are set in his proceeds, though several could still be conveyed to the owner. If you are working with a cost-plus or time-and-materials contract, or work as your respective contractor, then a good number of cost overruns ooze from your pocket.

Being a time-consuming practice, detailed cost estimation is primed when all construction project documents are completed. Knowledge and creativity are indispensable for organizing an cost estimate of construction. During construction, different technologies, methods, and processes are used by different contractors. Thus, estimators require experience, creativity and knowledge to implement the task of estimation effectively. Detailed cost estimation entails two vital steps, namely, pricing and quantity takeoff or quantity estimate. The project is divided by the estimator into separate work items while preparing this estimate, and the material quantities are estimated by him for individual item of work. This process is referred to as quantity takeoff. Furthermore, material, equipment and labor required for carrying out a work item are decided on the basis of the construction method and given specifications.

Data Required for Civil Engineering Estimation:

For preparing an Estimation in the Construction industry, a range of data and other factors needs to be taken into due consideration. To extract a detailed construction estimate, the estimating person ought to consider the following data:

1. Sections, maps, plans, and other significant work details.

2. A plan of specifications indicative of the precise nature and group of materials that are desired to be employed.

3. The prices at which the diverse work items are employed and executed.

To allow an estimator to determine the quantities precisely, the sketches/map of plan ought to be lucid, factual and true, absolute, and wholly measured.


Steps in Preparing Civil Engineering Estimation:

There are 3 visibly defined steps in preparing civil engineering estimation. They are mentioned as follows:

1. Take-out Quantities

In this preliminary step, the dimensions are extracted from the graphs and drawings and pierced into the dimension paper or measurement sheet. The unit of measurement decides the measurements that are to be engaged in. For instance, in the stone masonry case, the walls’ height, thickness, length, and superstructure above the level of plinth are gauged through the drawings given and fitted into the sheet of measurement, while, in the plastering case, the heights and lengths are only entered in. Apparently, in the former case, the measurement unit is cubic meter while in the latter case, it is square meter.

2. Square out

The next step entails the computation of areas, volumes, etc. and subsequently spreading the total in the documented units of measurement.

3. Abstraction

In the final step, all the articles together with the net results attained in the previous step are shifted from the dimension paper to particularly ruled sheets containing a column for rates to enable pricing.

The above mentioned last two steps are termed as ‘working up’. All the computations in these two stages and every shifted entry ought to be confirmed by a different person to make sure that no copying or mathematical errors take place.


Unit of Measurement Principles:

While working out the civil engineering estimation, a novice might find it hard to bear in mind the measurement units of diverse articles and materials. It becomes vastly easy to memorize the measurement units if he/she is responsive of the pertinent principles attached with the choice of selecting these units. While selecting the unit of measurement, the below given vital principles must be taken care of:

1. The measurement unit ought to be straightforward and easy to compute, document and realize.

2. It should allow for fair imbursement for the work drawn in.

3. The per unit price shouldn’t be either too small or too large.

4. Eventually while drawing out result, it should determine quantities that are neither extremely insignificant nor extremely outsized. 

Construction business is a trade not efficiently handled by many. It requires a number of core skills and nuance of estimation. The task of estimating may appear to be easy; however, it is amongst the most difficult tasks of this business. The article puts forward the secrets to construction cost estimation.

While analysing the activities related to the construction project cost, four major key components come to the fore. They are mentioned hereunder:

With every new project comes a new specification and relating challenges since there are hardly any projects that are similar in all aspects. The construction and project management industry, like other trades, has to each, his own. Every patron comes up with exclusive designs in mind, thereby making the project inimitably different. This can prove to be a considerable saddle for the estimators, as it requires them to precisely draw a project estimate and justify all the crucial activities of delivery. Construction cost estimators are highly conversant and acquainted with every division of construction estimation technique, from outsourcing of material to labour service.

1.1 Introduction

Cost is important to all industry. Costs can be divided into two general classes; absolute costs and relative costs. Absolute cost measures the loss in value of assets. Relative cost involves a comparison between the chosen course of action and the course of action that was rejected. This cost of the alternative action - the action not taken - is often called the "opportunity cost".

The Evolution of Construction Estimating: From Pen to Database

This article explores the evolution of construction estimating, highlighting the historical shift from manual methods to modern software solutions.

Early Days: Pencil and Paper

Once upon a time, every contractor relied on pen and paper for project estimates. This involved manually calculating costs for labor, materials, and other expenses, line by line, resulting in a final estimate. While straightforward, this method suffered from inherent limitations:

  • Human error: Calculations were prone to mistakes, potentially impacting project budgets.
  • Limited flexibility: Adapting estimates for changing project requirements was cumbersome and time-consuming.
  • Inefficiency: The manual process was slow and prone to repetitive tasks.

The Spreadsheet Revolution

The arrival of computers ushered in a new era for construction estimating. Spreadsheets, like Microsoft Excel, offered significant advantages:

  • Improved accuracy: Calculations were automated, minimizing the risk of errors.
  • Faster workflow: Spreadsheets facilitated quicker calculations and revisions.
  • Increased flexibility: Modifying estimates was easier and less time-consuming.

However, spreadsheets also had limitations:

  • Complexity with large projects: Large-scale projects could lead to unwieldy spreadsheets, making management difficult.
  • Change order tracking: Tracking changes and their impact on the overall estimate could be challenging.
  • Technical expertise required: Using spreadsheets effectively required technical knowledge, which not all contractors possessed.

The Rise of Database-Based Solutions

Database-based software emerged as the next significant advancement in construction estimating. These programs offered:

  • Centralized data storage: All project data resided in a central database, eliminating redundancy and ensuring consistency.
  • Enhanced flexibility: Customizable tools allowed for tailoring the system to individual estimating styles.
  • Powerful features: These programs could integrate with accounting software, generate reports, and facilitate scheduling.

Examples of database-based estimating software include Clear Estimates and Methvin, Inc. These programs offer user-friendly interfaces and powerful features, streamlining the estimating process.

-Nolan Orfield�

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