Monday, 18 November 2013

PDF Plan Takeoff Software – What to look for

When the construction industry changed from using paper plan to digital plans, construction estimators were faced with the dilemma with how to do blueprint takeoff from a plan provided as a PDF or other digital format. Software developers created a way to use the mouse on the computer to make measurements onscreen. PDF plan takeoff was born and created a new way for construction estimators to create a construction estimate. 

Blueprint takeoffsoftware has been around for a long time, but onscreen takeoff is relatively new. In comparison to construction estimating software, PDF plan takeoff is still in its infancy. Estimating software is primarily used for applying a price against a quantity for bidding purposes. Estimating software can range from free construction estimating software to estimating software costing thousands of dollars. 

PDF plan takeoff software also can range in price. While there are free estimate software packages available, most lack the features needed to do a thorough construction takeoff. Free takeoff software programs rarely allow the user to export the data in construction estimating software packages or spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel. Onscreen takeoff software that ranges in price from $1000 to $3000 typically offer more advanced features that allow the construction estimator to export the data into construction estimating software and spreadsheet software including Microsoft Excel.
It’s critical when you are looking for PDF plan takeoff software what you want to do with the quantities during the blueprint takeoff process. Do you want to send quantities directly into your existing construction estimating software package or do you want to send the onscreen takeoff into a spreadsheet program. Most takeoff software programs allow you to do both. This gives the construction estimator the flexibility to use the PDF plan takeoff software with anything he or she chooses.

When looking at the construction estimating process there are 2 phases. One is blueprint takeoff the other is pricing which is typically done either by manually hand extending the price or using construction estimating software. Blueprint takeoff also can either be done by hand or it can be done by using blueprint takeoff software either from paper using a digitizer. When you are dealing with digital plans, the estimator can choose from a range of PDF plan takeoff software programs allowing the construction estimator to generate a takeoff onscreen rather than having to print the plans to paper.
Again, decide which PDFplan takeoff software package is right for you by determining what you want to do with the quantities once you have completed the takeoff and by assessing what features are critical to do the way you generate construction estimates.

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