Not long ago, the walls & ceilings trade mainly involved covering studs and rafters, but today contractors install firewalls, sound walls, smoke walls and more sophisticated structures like positive-pressure walls to seal and keep out contaminants from another source. To enhance productivity, reduce waste and increase profits, wall and ceiling contractors invest in technology and equipment such as automatic taping systems.
Estimators spend too many hours carefully combing through numerous printed plans to tabulate product counts such as the lineal feet of ceiling track, the wall and ceiling perimeters and area for drywall and ceiling panels, the number of drywall screws, the amount of tape and mud, and the amount of estimated waste. It takes significant time and skill to determine the material values due to unique conditions and odd shapes where it’s challenging to measure precise values.
Further complicating the process is the prospect of change orders, requests for alternatives, and the inevitable deviations from the original architectural design intent where the actual design and implementation plans of the other trades deviate. Many times the original plans allow the estimator to estimate a simple ceiling frame-out, only then to discover another set of plans that have can-lights, and a third set of plans that have sprinkler heads in the same ceiling.
Many contractors invest considerable time and money in their takeoff and estimating processes in the hope of winning work. The drive for accuracy begins in the digital takeoff interpretation of structural/engineering drawings and designs to assure that all required finishes and preventative solutions are addressed up front. This is the best way to avoid unnecessary problems down the road, such as failed inspections, rework and project penalties.
Now there is a more accurate and efficient way for wall and ceiling contractors to effectively double their estimating productivity with the use of digital takeoff and estimating software. From start to finish, an estimator who is proficient with these automated tools develops a more precise, detailed bid in much less time compared to manual methods.
Digital takeoff and estimating applications quickly pay for themselves in several ways: first by increasing the number of jobs a company bids to win more work; 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 installation. Most importantly, these applications assist in the accurate translation of specified specialty system design requirements into an equally accurate takeoff and estimate.
Ultimately, wall & ceiling contractors who use digital takeoff & estimating software solutions save time & money, reduce costly mistakes, improve collaboration, and better manage project risks.