Trends in Preconstruction

Nuances of Construction Estimating Software

By July 22, 2020 No Comments

Not all construction estimating software is the same. Yes, the ultimate goal is the same; generate an estimate to win a construction project. However, the nuances of getting to that goal are vast.

Conceptual Estimating

Another term for a conceptual estimate is “guestimate”. Preconstruction professionals are given slivers of project data and asked to spin off a number in their construction estimating software that gets within the ballpark of the actual construction costs. Conceptual estimating can be a slippery slope for any company. There are too many unknowns at this stage of a project but this is the reality of preconstruction. This work is usually left to the most senior preconstruction professional because they have lived through the “unknowns” on numerous projects and know how much of a cushion to add to that guestimate before it is uttered in a project meeting.

Construction estimating software with a strong cost history database, estimate templates, and transparent data sourcing can alleviate the sucker punch of conceptual estimating. Plus, it shares the conceptual estimating load with the rest of the preconstruction professionals as well as creates those conceptual estimates faster with more realistic numbers than a gut feeling.

recent estimates


There is takeoff software and there is construction estimating software. Very rarely are the two software combined. (Spoiler alert: DESTINI Estimator combines them.) When there are two separate platforms to complete the construction takeoff and then get those quantities into the estimate a chasm is created for errors to enter into the delivered estimate. Whether it is through copy and paste or manual data entry, both of which are a time suck, errors tend to pop up. This then leads to doubling the effort because a fine-tooth comb is required to double-check the data. Plus, the connection between where the quantities come from does not exist.

Construction estimating software with built-in takeoff capabilities reduces the simplest of errors from copy and paste or manual data entry. Beyond that clear benefit also comes the transparency of knowing where quantities come from and being able to not only pinpoint them in the estimate but also in the sheet and/or model. This transparency makes it easier for teams to collaborate as well as give project owners the details they need with the confidence that the information provided is updated and accurate.


Data Analysis

Scope changes, design iterations, crew rates, fee adjustments … there is a litany of variables that get altered as a project moves through the preconstruction and construction processes. Being able to analyze every imaginable variable means the preconstruction professional will be better equipped to make decisions on today’s projects as well as on future projects. We all want to make better and more informed decisions. The way we get better and become more informed is by analyzing what we have done to date. Too many construction estimating software are only pushing out estimates instead of helping construction companies become better and more informed.

Through automated comparison charts of cost changes at each phase of a project, versioning estimates through various iterations, and seamless cost history tracking can a construction company truly become better and more informed in their decision making. Additionally, a construction estimating software that has built-in data analysis as part of its purpose provides clarity to each preconstruction professional so they can lead and offer guidance on project decisions. Having that kind of knowledge quickly available at your fingertips is a differentiator.

DESTINI Estimator cost history


Whether is it creating a report, building a dashboard, or adjusting a custom view it is great to have the flexibility to do so. When delivering an estimate branding and consistency are key to creating a great first impression (and keeping it). Building dashboards that combine the data that lives in preconstruction is also a boost to the visual appearance of a well put together project team. Adjusting the construction estimating software view to either a layout that you are comfortable working in or a view that is optimal for project owners is vital to good communication. When construction estimating software does not value the presentation needs of a preconstruction team then winning a project is lost in the mayhem of jostling with reports, charts, and the real-time data changes that happen in project meetings.

Preconstruction is a big part of the project pursuit process as well as keeping a project moving forward. Having visual functionality part of the construction estimating software be second nature then it removes the headaches of pushing and pulling presentation elements. Preconstruction professionals can focus on the estimate and high-value activities like data analysis.

The nuances between construction estimating software can be the difference between winning and losing projects as well as the number of projects you are able to pursue. All of these nuances saves you time. If the main purpose of construction estimating software is to create an estimate that will win a project then the factors above should be closely considered as part of the winning elements. Otherwise, you are using a software that holds numbers instead of a construction estimating software focused on not only winning work but growing your business.

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