For many estimators, the days of working with full-size plans and a single digitizer are a thing of the past. Today, they no longer check for faxes from subcontractors or distribute multiple sets of printed plans to complete a final bid. Instead of taking weeks to complete a bid, they can now do it in days or even hours.
However, when it comes to sharing files and collaborating with others on takeoffs and estimates, some contractors still print sheets because their estimating software lacks a file management and sharing utility. As a result, they end up struggling to email files, which can be a severe preconstruction speed bump if your email server has size and attachment restrictions.
Misplaced Files Can Hurt Final Bid
For some contractors, the amount of paper, post-it notes, and emails created and passed back and forth before bid day can be overwhelming. Contractors who try to adapt to changes in materials, height, sizes, and quantities manually can end up making unintended errors on their final estimate.
But making sure takeoffs and estimates are accurate is only part of this challenge. When contractors go digital, they may see considerable savings in speed and accuracy. However, they must also make sure their estimating workflow is efficient to safeguard against misplaced files or missed emails.
By comparison, life is much easier when an estimator can open a project and see what another estimator is working on or visually show or explain their takeoff with co-workers or even clients. Consider all the data generated on a project. If the data is siloed, each stakeholder only has a limited view of a project.
Workflows Require Better Visibility
Not only do siloed workflows inhibit collaboration, but experts say it plays a big role in why the construction industry has been plagued for decades with projects coming in over budget and behind schedule. No doubt, a lack of connected information ends up hurting collaboration and visibility.
According to Construction Executive: “To be successful, the construction industry needs to free project data from closed systems. There must be a way to give all project stakeholders access to accurate information within the context of how it applies to the overall project that will empower everyone from owners to engineers to contractors to make timely, fully informed decisions that bring projects in on time and within budget.”
Project Express Makes Collaboration Simple
When estimators need to distribute plans quickly with the field, office, and subcontractors, file-sharing platforms like Project Express make it much easier. Paul Jonez, CPE, a senior estimator with Golden Triangle Construction, Inc., in Longmont, Colorado, explained that file-sharing platforms allow him to do much more in the preconstruction phase.
“We can swap drawings and plans back and forth. It’s a lot easier for the designers to sketch something up and get it back to me the same day,” he said.
For estimators using On-Screen Takeoff, they can send and receive bids from other OST or Digital Production Control users right from within the product by using the Project Express feature. This means no more struggling with the size and attachment restriction imposed when sending files via email. Or even worse—having to download or export plans to your desktop and then upload to others using file-sharing tools. Stand-alone document management solutions like DropBox can make cross-department collaboration and organization less efficient.
When it is easier to package up files, it is less complicated to get work done remotely or share files with other users. With Project Express, you can skip the file printing and collaborate more efficiently—along with sending annotations and notes back-and-forth for review.
No doubt, Project Express can help any estimator simplify their transfer of data for easier communication and integration. With On-Screen Takeoff, you can also seamlessly export data into Quick Bid, Excel, and many other estimating applications. Using Project Express, you can see your summaries from takeoff and communicate back-and-forth on changes and modifications.
Ready to see for yourself the power of Project Express and On-Screen Takeoff? Sign up for a free demo or 14-day, risk-free trial today. Our demo specialists are ready to show you how easy it is to improve your collaboration process.