Steel Software Digital Takeoff & Bidding

April 3, 2014 kyle.hamer@oncenter.com

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Companies that work with steel find that the success of a project is often determined even before a company is awarded the work starting with a high quality bid that depends on the accuracy and timeliness of a company’s takeoff and estimation processes.

The core of the steel trade use to focus on high-rise and industrial buildings, but now the industry has become more complex as contractors have expanded their business into pre-built buildings and residential construction.

Estimating for structural steel bids requires close attention to detail, an ability to analyze drawings and specifications, and being up-to-date on new materials, job-costing, and estimating methods. Estimators working on large steel projects face numerous challenges of having to work with thousands of detail and erection drawings and working with numerous parties including the fabricator, the engineer of record, the architect and the build-out manager to track any changes that may take place. Further complicating the takeout and estimation process is recognizing that many times the project is not completely designed when it is released for bid.

To enhance productivity, reduce waste and increase profits, steel contractors strive for project accuracy through all phases of a project. It all begins with the digital takeoff interpretation of structural / engineering drawings and designs to assure that all required building system solutions are addressed up front.

Now there is a more accurate and efficient way for contractors to effectively double their estimating productivity with the use of digital takeoff and estimating applications. Using a digital takeoff application, an estimator can calculate steel components for both structural steel and light gauge steel applications such as structural beams and column lengths, and non-structural wall and curtain wall studs and channel quantities and lengths.

From start to finish, an estimator who is proficient with these automated tools develops more precise, detailed estimates in much less time compared to manual methods. Digital takeoff and estimating applications quickly pay for themselves in several ways: first, by decreasing the time needed to create estimates; second, by eliminating the need to print, handle and store bulky paper-based plans and other documents; and third, by easing the estimator’s analysis of the building and grouping objects into appropriate assemblies for streamlined quantity measurement and labor productivity alignment.

Ultimately, contractors who use digital takeoff & estimating software solutions save time & money, reduce costly mistakes, improve collaboration, and better manage project risks.

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