The construction software industry has changed over the past 8 years switching from paper plans to PDF plans. Blueprint takeoff software for PDF plan takeoff has become the common method for construction estimators who use construction estimating software. Estimating software has also changed where now you can find free construction estimating software where in the past you would pay thousands of dollars. There is even free takeoff software available for multiple trades. Takeoff software is primarily for measuring from plans. PDF plan takeoff software is also commonly referred to as onscreen takeoff software because you measure directly from the PDF image on the screen. Estimating software is taking the quantities generated from the PDF plan takeoff or onscreen takeoff software and feeding the numbers into a pricing database of material items. Construction takeoff software is the past was all paper plan takeoff using a digitizer. Today’s construction estimator sees primarily digital plans and relies on PDF plan takeoff software and onscreen takeoff software rather than working from paper plans. Construction estimating software is no moving through a new stage where data is being stored in the cloud. The software can be used by many trades and is ideal for contractors who do electrical estimating since they deal with such a large number of material items that benefit from being store in an estimating software database up on the cloud where many people can access the information. When I first started in the industry construction estimating software was very primitive but today with the advances in technology and the transition from the old DOS operating system to Windows, construction estimating software has expanded and including cutting edge technology like BIM. Blueprint takeoff software has also changed and with the transition from paper to digital plans, PDF plan takeoff or onscreen takeoff has become the common takeoff software application that is used by the majority of construction estimators. A product like QuickMeasure OnScreen allows you to measure directly from a PDF plan without having to print the PDF image.
The good news for the consumer is that the technology has come down in price where in the old days you would have to buy both estimating software, takeoff software and a digitizer which would typically be thousands of dollars. Now you can find free construction estimating software, free takeoff software and you have eliminated the need to buy a digitizer because all of the plans are provided as a PDF or digital file. What does the future hold? Blueprint takeoff software will continue to rely on PDF plan takeoff and onscreen takeoff for the next five to ten years. Construction estimating software will ultimately push to the cloud for access to the estimating software from anywhere and anytime. At some point it’s possible that architect’s will provide blueprint takeoff quantities in their drawings eliminating the need for PDF plan takeoff or onscreen takeoff but time will tell whether contractors will embrace the new technology.