15 years helping Canadian businesses
choose better software

Construction Estimating Software

Construction estimating software is used by home builders, contractors, and architects to accurately estimate project costs and to effectively manage construction budgets. Building estimating software is popular with interior and landscape designers to quickly and efficiently produce accurate and competitively-priced proposals to potential customers. The best estimating software for small contractors offer a range of features, such as job and sub-contractor scheduling, blueprint scanning and auto-updating materials pricing databases. Heavy construction Estimating software is related to Construction Accounting software, Architectural Drafting software, Construction CRM software and Construction Management software. Browse our directory of construction estimating platforms to find the best tool for your contractor business in Canada.

Featured software

Local products for Canada

Canada Show local products
Easy-to-use, cloud-based takeoff and estimating software for construction contractors. Mac & PC compatible. FREE training and support! Learn more about STACK
From project evaluation, takeoff and estimating, to construction and closeout, contractors use STACK’s cloud-based software to help run their businesses and maximize profits. - Access project plans anytime, anywhere, from any device - Bid more work, in less time. - Eliminate costly estimating errors. - Leverage a library of pre-built & custom material databases. - Includes material cost database & option to import your own custom pricing. Bid Faster. Win More. Build Smarter with STACK! Learn more about STACK

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
NOW: Starting @ $49/m for the WHOLE company, Contractor Foreman is the most affordable solution for small and medium sized contractors. Learn more about Contractor Foreman
NOW: Starting @ $49/m for the WHOLE company, Contractor Foreman is the most affordable all-in-one solution for small and medium trade and general contractors who want a better way to manage their projects. *FREE Trial + 100 Day Guarantee* Easy to use and rated as a Top App and Best Value. Save thousands compared to other systems. Integrates with QuickBooks. Use it on the phone, tablet, and computer. Time Cards, Estimates, Online Payments, Daily Logs, Scheduling, and 35 other great features. Learn more about Contractor Foreman

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Mechanical insulation estimating software that provides all you need to get accurate and fast bids for the mechanical insulation trade. Learn more about FastWRAP
FastWRAP is an advanced estimating software for commercial & industrial mechanical insulation contractors. FastWRAP estimating software is fully equipped with a complete database and customizable specs for the digital takeoff of mechanical insulation and jacketing for plumbing, piping & HVAC ductwork. FastEST provides online training, customer support, database updates, and program upgrades. Learn more about FastWRAP

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Houzz Pro is the #1 construction estimating and business management solution for contractors. Learn more about Houzz Pro
Houzz Pro is the #1 construction estimating and business management solution for contractors. Get an all-in-one solution that spans the full customer lifecycle, including estimates, takeoffs, marketing, CRM, 3D floor plans, project management, selections, online invoicing & payments, QuickBooks integration, and a client portal. Start a free trial to see why thousands of Pros trust Houzz Pro to grow & manage their business. Plans are available for all business sizes starting at $85/month. Learn more about Houzz Pro

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
RSMeans Data Online (15% off new subscriptions) is cloud-based access to North America's leading construction cost database. Learn more about RSMeans Data Online
RSMeans Data Online (shop now and save 15% off new subscriptions for a limited time) streamlines construction cost estimation, enabling owners, architects, and contractors to forecast and manage project expenses effectively. -Craft detailed estimates by square foot, assembly, or unit line items. -Seamlessly share your estimates and collaborate. -Monitor price shifts with custom material and task alerts. -Anticipate costs up to 3 years ahead with our Predictive Cost Model. Estimate Smartly. Share Easily. Stay Ahead with RSMeans Data Online! Learn more about RSMeans Data Online

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Trusted by +850,000 pros as the all-in-one construction management software designed to help finish jobs on time and under budget. Learn more about ConstructionOnline
Starting at $4,400 USD, ConstructionOnline is the #1 rated software trusted by +850,000 pros as the premier platform designed to help finish jobs on time and under budget. Increase profits with integrated estimating & takeoff, change order tracking, and client selections. Avoid delays with Gantt chart scheduling and centralized communication. Real-time dashboards lead to more informed decisions and keep projects on track. Get your demo and see how to build better, faster & smarter. Learn more about ConstructionOnline

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
The leading accounting software for small businesses. Instant access to customer, vendor and employee information.
QuickBooks Enterprise (For a Limited Time, Save Up to 55%, Sale Ends 12/3!) is an end-to-end construction software that can grow with your business. It provides all the tools your construction business needs, yet is easy to use. You can organize your books, manage inventory, track sales, and even run payroll, but at the fraction of the cost. With QuickBooks Enterprise, you save thousands of dollars a year vs. comparable solutions. Take a free test drive today. Learn more about QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Procore Estimating Software is purpose built for the construction industry. Adjust material prices, labor units, & profit margins.
Upload plans and perform a quantity takeoff using a customizable database of parts, assemblies, equipment, and services. Leverage auto-count and plan overlay to speed up the takeoff process. Takeoff data flows directly to construction estimating software ensuring ease of use. Simply adjust material prices, labor units, profit margins, and create a customer-facing construction proposal. Learn more about Procore

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Empower your teams to create competitive estimates by leveraging accurate 2D takeoffs and model-based quantities.
Accurate takeoffs drive competitive estimates. Win more work by delivering timely estimates made from precise takeoffs. A cloud-based platform ensures you're always working with the latest documents, and enables you to collaborate efficiently with every construction team. Learn more about Autodesk Construction Cloud

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
ClockShark is the leading mobile GPS time tracking & scheduling software for local construction, field service, and contractors.
ClockShark is the leading mobile GPS time tracking and scheduling software built for field service and construction businesses that want a simpler way to track employee time, run payroll, and understand job costs. Over 9,500 companies and 100,000 field service & construction professionals have replaced the hassle of paper timesheets with software that makes it easier to run their business and keeps accountants happy. Don't take our word for it, start a free trial today! Learn more about ClockShark

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Cloud based project management tool with features that include scheduling, estimating, bidding, job costing, selections and many more.
Buildertrend is the leading residential construction project management software trusted by home builders, remodelers and specialty contractors. Since 2006, we’ve empowered contractors to take control of projects and bring efficiency, organization and seamless communication to their businesses. Builders can manage jobs, sales, finances, materials, client relationships and more on one convenient platform. To learn more about Buildertrend, visit buildertrend.com and @buildertrend. Learn more about Buildertrend

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Streamline bidding, increase accuracy, and revolutionize your estimating process to win more contracts with Sage Estimating.
Revolutionize your estimating process with the next generation of Sage Estimating software, now enhanced with cloud collaboration capabilities. Streamline bidding, increase accuracy, and win more contracts with flexible assemblies, AI-powered takeoff tools, and real-time bid analysis. Then, once the job has been won, estimate details flow automatically into Sage financial management software, eliminating redundant tasks and data entry errors. Trusted by industry leaders for over 30 years, Sage Estimating is your key to faster, smarter, and more profitable construction projects. Learn more about Sage Construction Suite

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Bluebeam, the #1 construction estimation software that connects external apps, automates workflows, and so much more.
Elevate your construction projects with the #1 construction estimation software in the industry. With Bluebeam's suite of architecture solutions, you'll gain a seamless, Cloud-based collaboration tools for your entire team. Why wait for updates when you can have real-time, on-the-go access to every component of any project? Edit both 2D and 3D PDFs with smart tools designed to help your team improve quality, stay on budget, and easily create takeoffs and accurate bid proposals. Learn more about Bluebeam Revu

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
QuickBooks is an end-to-end accounting software that can grow with your business.
QuickBooks Online Advanced (Save 50%) helps general & specialty contractors organize their books, complete tasks faster with automated approvals, reminders, batch invoicing & customized access by role in the field or the office. Turn estimates into invoices & track project profitability with advanced reporting, track employees' hours with our TSheets integration, and use our Intuit Field Service Management (IFSM) add-on for work order scheduling & dispatch system. All with 24/7 support. Learn more about QuickBooks Online Advanced

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Web-based residential construction estimating software to handle estimates, bids, contracts, selections and more.
CoConstruct is the #1 highest-rated residential construction estimating tool for custom builders and remodelers. It¿s the only all-in-one tool for custom home builders and remodelers that allows you to enter your data once, and have that information flow through the estimate to the specs, selections, bid requests, proposals, change orders, purchase orders, and budget ¿ including a full integration with QuickBooks. Learn more about CoConstruct

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
AccuLynx is the best roofing software designed to help contractors manage and grow their business.
AccuLynx is the first & only all-in-one roofing business management software designed to empower roofing contractors to streamline their work and grow their business. Packed with powerful project management and collaboration features, it provides all the tools roofers need to effectively manage every aspect of the job, resulting in higher profits & happier customers. AccuLynx is developed & supported in the USA, with in-house dedicated customer success resources. Learn more about AccuLynx

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Estimating, Project Management and Productivity Tools for Construction Projects.
Discover how over 500,000 pros in 75 countries estimate faster and more accurately with UDA ConstructionSuite. Designed for general contractors, residential builders, and subcontractors, ConstructionSuite manages over $65 billion in projects and features real estimating with industry-specific tools like RSMeans Cost Data, AIA payment applications, estimate templates, true bi-directional QuickBooks integration, Change Order management, and integration with leading CAD programs. Get started today. Learn more about UDA ConstructionSuite

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
For infrastructure contractors bidding projects ranging from $1,000 to over $1 billion.
Used by more than 50,000 estimators and 45 of the ENR Top 50 heavy civil contractors, HeavyBid estimating software quickly and accurately prepares a detailed cost estimate based on previous work; and then easily converts it into a bid. Plus, compare subcontractor and supplier quotes and conduct self-perform versus subcontractor analysis. Learn more about HeavyBid

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Ready to level up your business? Be more professional, profitable, organized, and efficient. Free consultation. Free trial.
Trying to get organized? Does your team know what's going on with your customers? Is all the business information in your head? Do you want your program to be EXACTLY what you want it to be? Try JobNimbus 2 Weeks for free, no credit card required. Learn more about JobNimbus

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Digital plan management and takeoff & estimating software for the construction industry.
The easiest digital plan management and takeoff software for the construction industry. Measure footage, pitch and angles in seconds with a simple point and clicks, and use drag and drop parts and assemblies to quickly calculate material and labor costs. Bid jobs faster than ever before with this estimating software. Find areas, wall length totals and count items simply by clicking on them. Learn more about PlanSwift

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Your 5-star construction job needs a 5-star process. With Leap, win more jobs and deliver work that turns customers into referrals.
With Leap and SalesPro, our two signature software products, you can supercharge your organization with a digital process that reflects how your construction business sells and works. Leap helps you efficiently manage every lead, schedule every appointment, and create error-free estimates. You can also get accurate measurements, order materials, schedule your production, manage subcontractors and complete each job on schedule. When it’s time to complete the job, you can produce actionable reports, maintain your margins, and collect payments with simple online invoicing and payment processing. Leap also integrates with many of the industry-leading tools you already use, such as Quickbooks, CompanyCam, Angi, EagleView, and SRS Roof Hub. Plus, you can optimize your entire operations and access Leap’s industry-leading software on the go, whether you’re in the office, in the field, or at home on desktop, tablet, or mobile device. Learn more about Leap

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Designed around the estimate lifecycle we offer solutions for the pre-construction, procurement and construction stages.
Designed by experienced industry professionals, The EDGE is the most effective takeoff to estimate solution in the industry. Not only is The EDGE customized to your trade, but also to your business, so that your takeoff sources the exact materials and manufacturers that your company utilizes. With training to build the databases you need and the best customer service in the business, the EDGE caters to you. Stay ahead of the competition. Wouldn't you rather bid with The EDGE than against it? Learn more about The EDGE

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Canada Local product
Premier is the global leader in construction ERP, providing AI/automation, job costing, advanced accounting & financials, and a robust project & drawing management solution.
Premier is the global leader in construction ERP, rated #1 Construction Accounting Software by Forbes Advisor. Tailored for Developers, General Contractors, Homebuilders, and Specialty Contractors, our all-in-one platform ensures financial control, operational excellence and collaboration connecting every process and stakeholder. Discover why Premier is the world's #1 construction solution. Our modern cloud-based solution seamlessly blends sophistication with simplicity. Premier provides predictive intelligence, customizable dashboards, AI/automation, unlimited entities, comprehensive financials, advanced accounting, job costing, robust project management, streamlined billing, accurate forecasting, cashflow management, drawing management, collaboration tools, approval management, field/mobile, payroll, safety, and robust business intelligence. Learn more about Premier Construction Software

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Allows contractors to post projects, send bid invites, share information with subcontractors and manage multiple team members
PlanHub is free construction plan room and bid management software that allows general contractors to post projects, send bid invites, share information with subcontractors, suppliers, and vendor. There is no limit on the number of users per company. Subcontractors can register for free and start on a free trial to view projects, download project specs, and submit a bid. After the free trial ends, the user can choose to go on a PlanHub Basic Plan, or upgrade to PlanHub Premier. Learn more about PlanHub

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates
Win more heavy construction bids at better margins by estimating with optimal speed, accuracy and strategic insight.
Win more bids at better margins with estimating software built for heavy civil construction contractors. Relying strictly on spreadsheets and manual processes for estimating puts contractors at a disadvantage. B2W Estimate helps to maximize accuracy and speed, standardize estimating processes and focus more attention on strategy by delivering powerful, intuitive features and functionality that are unmatched for heavy civil construction estimating and bidding. Learn more about B2W Estimate

Features

  • Audit Trail
  • Historical Database
  • Project Management Software
  • What-if Analysis
  • Subcontractor Management
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Accounting Integration
  • Takeoff Software
  • Customizable Templates
  • Multiple Projects
  • Quotes/Estimates

Construction Estimating Software Buyers Guide

Construction Estimating Software

Construction estimating software makes it easier for organizations across Canada to gauge the cost of a construction project more accurately, factoring in a wide range of variables, such as material costs, contractors, schedules, and more. This type of software can be designed for certain specialist areas of construction, such as electricians or HVAC contractors. The estimates produced by the software can then be presented to potential clients so that they can see a detailed breakdown of what they will be paying for.

Some of the core features a buyer should expect to find in this type of software include helpful things like pre-built estimate templates, support for construction-related formulas, and an ability to connect to supplier databases for up-to-date pricing. Another core feature of this type of software is the ability to store costing information on an assembly, meaning an organization can create an estimate for a specific task or project and then incorporate it into greater project estimates. Doing this saves the organization time regarding re-doing estimates that they have already done in the past.

Aside from the aforementioned time savings, this type of software system offers many benefits over traditional methods of estimating construction projects, thanks to being able to save assembly estimates. The two main ways these platforms can benefit the customer are accuracy and overall time savings. With this software, estimates will be far more accurate. They will also take much less time to calculate since the software does most of the heavy lifting.

There are many closely related software categories, including some that are essentially a sub-category of this one, like residential construction estimating software and electrical estimating software. It also bears similarities to other applications that have to do with estimating, such as remodelling estimating software. This type of software can be deployed in a number of ways, including Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).

Canadian businesses looking to adopt this type of software will have many things to consider, not least of which is the feature set provided and whether those features meet the needs of the business. Another critical factor is whether the software solution can scale with the company if needed. By taking all of these factors into account, an organization should be able to make an informed choice about which software solution to choose. The software found in the construction estimating software category will usually include:

  • Use pre-made templates and create templates that can be used in the future to speed the process of estimating some of the more routine jobs an organization performs

  • Create assemblies—pre-defined portions of a project—that can be reused in other projects and, in turn, speed up the estimation process

  • Provide active connections to supplier's pricing information so that estimates are accurate and up-to-date without the need to manually enter new pricing data

  • The ability to use formulas as part of the estimation process, such as estimating the cost of concrete based on the volume of the area to be concreted

  • Referenced items and materials, allowing the organization to update the details of one item and have that new information automatically propagate to any open estimates that use the item

What is Construction Estimating Software?

Construction estimating software is designed to make the process of estimating the time and cost of a construction project much quicker and simpler. One of the main advantages of using this type of software is it can store various types of information that can be reused, saving time on future estimates. It also allows for much more accurate estimates since the information used in the numbers used in the estimate will be calculated by the software using up-to-date information.

As a general rule, this type of software covers construction as a whole, though there are more specialized categories of software, such as electrical estimating software. It makes the process of estimating a project as simple as a few clicks in the case of routine projects that an organization needs to conduct on a regular basis, making it much faster than traditional methods when estimating entirely new projects. The software will also typically provide contact management features that make it easier to create, store, and access estimates for repeat customers and many new customers at the same time.

Many construction companies across Canada have turned to this software because it brings a degree of automation to previously laborious tasks, such as calculating the estimated cost of concreting a specific area based on the volume of that area. Users can set up predefined formulas for calculating things once and reuse those formulas in future estimates. The software will usually enable straightforward management of clients, making it especially easy to track several estimates and open new estimates for existing customers. Ultimately, it is the time savings and increased accuracy of estimates created using this software that makes the software an attractive proposition for construction companies.

What are the benefits of construction estimating software?

The benefits of construction estimating software for Canadian businesses are primarily focused on time and cost savings, as mentioned above. There are many ways in which these time and cost savings are achieved. Below are some of the basic benefits of construction estimating software explained in more detail:

  • Use pre-made templates to speed up workflow: Software of this type will often come with a range of pre-made templates—as well as the ability to make custom templates—that can speed up the process of creating a new estimate. Many businesses in the construction industry will find themselves taking on similar jobs regularly, such as constructing a particular design of a house or a set structure like a car park. In these cases, having pre-made templates can substantially speed up the estimation process since most of the initial work of the estimate will already be complete.

  • Reduce repetitive tasks with assemblies: While pre-made templates are suitable for similar projects, not all projects are the same. However, even construction projects that are wildly different often involve a good deal of reusable aspects. The use of assemblies makes it possible to create collections of items and resources and save them to use in later estimates. An example of this might be a bus shelter containing several materials and fixings. A company with a contract to build and maintain bus routes in a city might have many different structures to build, but the bus shelter would likely be the same each time. Using an assembly would erase the need to build the bus shelter estimate each time.

  • Accurate calculations using formulas: Not all aspects of a construction project can be easily broken down into a bill of materials, but formulas make it possible to factor in soil, water, concrete, and other materials that don't come in easily defined units. Calculating the materials needed to concrete a defined area is no simple sum, but software like this can use formulas that would require only the minimum of input—such as the volume and type of concrete—to produce an accurate estimation of the quantities needed.

  • Contact management and project tracking: Construction companies often work with repeat clients, especially when contracts for larger projects are issued. Having a simple system for finding customers, saving estimates, and pulling up past estimates makes it much easier to keep track of multiple clients and projects. It is increasingly common for this type of software to offer direct communication options straight from the application, such as being able to email an estimate directly to a customer with a single click.

  • Item and task management with ease: For software solutions that offer connections to external services, it is often possible to have the cost of materials from third-party suppliers be updated in real-time when creating an estimate. This is done by pulling the prices directly from the supplier, ensuring they are always up to date. Additionally, items and tasks listed in individual estimates will be referenced rather than created for that estimate. Any new changes to those items and tasks can be automatically propagated to all open estimates.

What are the features of construction estimating software?

The features of construction estimating software focus on making the process of estimating a construction project much more cost-effective and accurate. This is mostly achieved by speeding up the process, and several tools are used to make this happen. Here are some of the most common features of construction estimating software:

  • Supplier pricing database: This is usually a feature limited to Software-as- a- Service (SaaS) offerings, but some construction estimating solutions provide an up-to-date database of material prices from local distributors. This feature may also be accompanied by the ability to automatically calculate costs. This can be an enormous time-saver when working on greater estimates, and it also ensures that the estimates are more accurate since the costs used will be up to date at that moment.

  • Assembly management: An assembly is a term used to describe a smaller part of a structure or project. For example, a door is not just a single item; there is the door, the door frame, the fixtures, and the fixings. Rather than adding all of these items each time a door is needed in a project, a user can create an assembly for a specific type of door. Furthermore, it will save all necessary information and then simply import that assembly into the project. This saves a great deal of time on sub-structures that are used a lot by an organization.

  • Pre-built estimate templates: Pre-built estimate templates are precisely what they sound like; ready-made templates make creating a new project less time-consuming. Almost all construction estimating software solutions will have some templates available, and it is usually possible to create custom ones for future use. These templates will be designed for a certain type of construction job and include all the information laid out clearly and ready for the user to input. Templates will often be modifiable also. This is a critical feature as it allows organizations to put their branding on the estimated document being sent to the customer.

  • Multi-item updating: Using dedicated software rather than paper forms or standard spreadsheets will allow for the use of referenced items. This means that the things included in an estimate—such as construction materials like bricks—are linked rather than entered manually. The benefit of this is that the organization can change a particular item or task once, and those changes will automatically be applied to any estimates created or updated. This significantly reduces the amount of time spent keeping estimates up to date. The information being updated could be anything from the cost of the item (in cases when the cost is not linked to a third-party supplier) to the description of what that item is.

  • Formulas: Not all aspects of a construction project can be simply boiled down to an amount of a particular item. For example, concrete is a substance that is mixed using several ingredients, and what those ingredients are and what ratios they need will change depending on the type of concrete required. The process of estimating the cost of things like concrete is sped up considerably, thanks to the use of formulas. A company would be able to set up a formula for the types of concrete they use. Then in the estimate, simply select the desired type of concrete and input the volume of concrete needed, and the formula will calculate the costs.

  • Customer contact management: Keeping track of customers and, more importantly, projects can be a challenging prospect for an organization that deals with many clients. Contact management features allow a company to store contact details for their customers so they can easily reach them and quickly pull up open or past estimates. In many cases, this will also include the ability to easily send estimates to clients from within the application.

  • Compliance tracking: While compliance tracking is typically more the purview of inventory control software, it is often a feature of construction estimating software. This allows an organization to keep track of its resources and see where potential conflicts of resource usage may be in the projects that are being tendered.

What should be considered when purchasing construction estimating software?

When purchasing construction estimating software, it is important for Canadian organizations to consider a wide range of factors relating to the specific needs of the organization versus the features provided by the software. One of the bigger decisions to make is choosing a SaaS solution or something that is deployed locally, though the correct answer will depend on the circumstances and needs of the business. SaaS solutions are hosted remotely and can be accessed from most devices, whereas locally deployed solutions require hardware to run them on. Below are some of the considerations that should be taken into account when buying this software:

  • What are the key features of the software? The first thing to consider is, of course, the features. If a potential software solution does not do the things an organization needs it to do, it is essentially pointless to use it in most cases. Similarly, suppose a software solution features a number of additional features that would be wasted on the organization. In that case, it may be an unwise investment to purchase that solution because the business would be paying for features that it doesn't need and won't use. It is also worth remembering that it is unlikely a software package will contain precisely those features needed by an organization (and only those features). However, SaaS solutions often have different tiers with different feature sets.

  • What will the software cost? Once it has been established that the software's features meet the needs of the business, the next most important thing to consider is the cost of that software. Whether purchased as a one-off licence or taken as a month-to-month subscription, this software will represent an investment by the organization. It is worth considering whether that investment will pay off. In the case of construction estimating software, the clearest metric to look at is time saved, as that is often where the biggest savings are made. The lifespan of the software will need to be factored in here as well. If the software is a one-off purchase, how long will it be before that software needs upgrading or replacing? It will need to be worth the investment within that period.

  • Does the software provide real-time material costing? While perhaps not a crucial feature for every business, the ability to pull real-time prices on materials and other supplies from local distributors is an enormous time-saver in this line of work. Ultimately, the value of this feature will come down to the business using it, but it is certainly worth considering. In some cases, it will be included as part of the package for SaaS solutions.

  • How does the software handle customer data? Data protection is increasingly a hot-button topic as cybersecurity threats continue to grow. A construction company isn't typically the type of company that comes to mind when thinking about data security breaches, but the risk is still there. In the case of companies that take on large construction projects for powerful clients, the damage from a data breach could be especially bad. As a general rule, construction estimating software should always store customer data securely.

  • Is the software too broad in scope? While this type of software should cover the needs of any construction estimating process, it may be too broad in scope in some cases. There are more specialized variations of this software, such as residential construction estimating software and electrical estimating software, which focus on particular aspects and sub-categories of the construction process. If a company specializes in a certain area of construction, a similarly specialized variation of construction estimating software may be a more cost-effective solution.

  • Does the software include appropriate templates? Templates are useful time-saving tools when starting a new construction estimate, but they only save time if they are used. If a software solution doesn't come with templates suitable for the type of work the business does, they may as well not be there. Most of the time, this type of software will come with a range of templates, and there should be something to suit most situations, but it is worth checking.

  • Is the software compatible with other software? Integration with other software solutions is often automatic in SaaS solutions but requires specific compatibility in locally deployed applications. If a company is already using related services or software—such as inventory control management—it will be beneficial to choose a software solution compatible with those other applications.

  • Is the software appropriate for the size of the business? In the case of SaaS solutions, it is usually possible for the software to scale up with the business as it grows. With locally deployed software, scaling can be a little more difficult, as the business will also have to scale up the underlying hardware to support it. Of course, future growth is only predicted in most cases, but future-proofing software solutions like this can save a lot of headaches in the future.

What are the most relevant construction estimating software trends?

The most relevant construction estimating software trends are like every area of the software industry. Construction estimating software is continually growing and changing. This is driven not just by changes in the construction world but also by advances in software. Here are some of the most relevant trends within the field of construction estimating software:

  • Increased integration: Integration with other software solutions and other construction services is likely to continue to grow. There are too many moving parts for this type of software to cover everything, and developers know that integration with those aspects of the job that are being handled by other software solutions will make their software a more attractive prospect. This applies to both online services and locally deployed software solutions.

  • A broader scope of functionality: It may not be possible for construction estimating software to do everything. However, there has been a notable expansion of scope in recent years, and it is likely to continue. As this type of software advances, it is probable that solutions will cover more and more of the process before and after the estimation.

  • AI: Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly finding a home in analytical software thanks to its ability to cover much greater amounts of data in much shorter amounts of time than human beings can. The areas in which AI can be useful in the construction estimation process include risk assessment, identifying elements in engineering drawings and schematics, and cost calculation.

  • Continued move to cloud-native apps: A good portion of construction estimating software solutions are still locally deployed on Windows or Linux platforms, but the move toward cloud-native applications is unlikely to slow down going forward. SaaS solutions typically provide customers with a more comprehensive and reliable service while, at the same time, providing the vendor with a more stable income. It is increasingly likely that locally deployed software will become very uncommon.

Sources

The features highlighted were identified based on their relevance and the percentage of products in Capterra's directory that offer them. The following sources were used for this document:

  1. Construction Estimating Software - Capterra (Date accessed: Wednesday, May 4, 2022)

  2. Construction Estimating Software Wiki (Date accessed: Wednesday, May 4, 2022)

  3. Estimating with Microsoft Excel (Date accessed: Wednesday, May 4, 2022)

  4. What is Construction Estimating Software (Date accessed: Wednesday, May 4, 2022)