Technology is changing the way we do things from our homes to the workplace. This, too, is obvious in the construction industry, where modern tools and equipment are changing the landscape at a faster pace.
Beyond that, there are also innovations that are revolutionizing construction: digital technology. This is rapidly expanding and has evolved into a complex web of different kinds of solutions that cover estimating, procurement, financing, productivity management, design, and more. These digital tools have become an ecosystem unto themselves and are evolving how construction companies approach their tasks.
Among those, estimating software for construction has around 288 vendors currently, according to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company. It is easy to see why: a proper estimating tool can make or break a project deal.
A map of a construction technology ecosystem created by McKinsey & Company where estimating has 288 vendors.
Fewer mistakes are made, numbers are more accurate, and less time is spent on crunching numbers. These lead to an increase in production, which ultimately, make a company more profitable.
But what are the technological drivers behind those results? We discuss some of the ways that technology is changing the way estimating software work below.
Software-as-a-service (SaaS) is drastically changing the way companies work, regardless of their industry. It does so because of the easy availability of software in the cloud, allowing people to work on any device at any time as long as they have an internet connection.
And while SaaS is usually associated with CRMs and customer service platforms, finance and accounting software, BI and analytics tools, collaboration and social applications, and ERP and e-commerce, cloud-based software also exists for the construction industry.
An example is estimating software that you can access on your web browser. Initially, estimating programs are available only on-premises, making it hard for parties involved to do their tasks on the go.
However, with the rise of web-accessible programs like estimating applications, those in construction like you can perform your estimation while you are on the move or while you are supervising on-site projects. Because of this, you can be more productive at work.
This way, you can provide your clients with cost estimates as soon as they need it.
New technologies like SaaS enable you to go global because of its mobility and full-featured interfaces. This means that you can access every tool you need in a single platform, including multiple currencies that you can take advantage of in your international undertakings.
It can be helpful when you need to present estimates with different currencies, especially when you have international suppliers and subcontractors. This can help you avoid discrepancies once you present your estimates to clients.
What’s more, you can convert the values into your project’s base currency so that you and your customers can have a better understanding of the costs.
Connecting different applications did not use to be possible. However, new technological advances enable software, particularly those in the cloud, to synchronize with each other for a better exchange of information. Because of this, you no longer have to deal with entering the same sets of data numerous times in different interfaces.
When you select a construction estimating software with robust integration capabilities, you can reduce, if not eliminate, errors. That is because you can let the applications talk with each other and transfer data by themselves, ensuring the accuracy of the information you get.
Moreover, integration lets you link with productivity tools that enhance your estimation workflow.
Client-Facing Project Breakdown
An advantageous tool to have in an estimating application is a work breakdown structure (WBS). But what is more essential is a WBS that can be split into two views--internal and client-facing.
The latter lets you present the project workflow according to the client’s expectations. Meanwhile, the former allows you to have a drilled-down itemization. It’s a hierarchical structure that enables you to detail the requirements for the fulfillment of an objective.
Technology makes it possible to present one part of the breakdown to clients so that they only see the most relevant information and so that you get to keep your internal processes.
In-Depth Report Creation
Estimating in building construction often requires looking back at historical data. An estimating software with a robust reporting module can help you look at the estimates you have made previously and look at them from multiple angles. Plus, a reporting tool allows you to analyze the changes over time for better decision-making.
These use cases can happen because of big data solutions that have made it into estimating programs. As such, you can generate reports that help you decide the breakdowns of projects, analyze project costs, and more. With this kind of information on hand, you can be confident that you are taking the right path with your estimates.
Going global with the right technology
Even when your company is equipped with first-rate construction technologies, it is not possible to reach a high rate of success unless you are maximizing the tools in the right way. That is why you have to choose carefully which digital construction solution, such as estimating software, belongs in your toolbox. Also, expensive does not always equal better. There are many factors that you have to consider when shopping around for an estimating application and your technology budget is among them. As such, you have to shop smart so that you can get the most out of your investments.