Popular construction estimating software solutions for 2022

A comprehensive list of the best estimating software split into their respective specialities and capabilities. We have made it easy to narrow down your search to the solutions that best match your company's requirements.

Subcontractors more often than not use either Infrastructure and Heavy Construction or Industrial Construction estimating software to help keep their estimates competitive.


First Principles Estimating1

First principles estimating is the technique whereby you reduce the whole of its parts down to its most fundamental concepts and or elements, for the most accurate estimates. Once vetted for scope, price completeness and accuracy, this technique makes estimating easily repeatable over many projects, helping the estimators establish a consistent process to his pricing.

  1. Complex Resources

Only with Estimating software with the capability of unlimited levels of nested complex resources, is it possible to implement a “First Principles” estimating environment.

  1. Setting Variables

A variable is a quantity that may change within the context of a mathematical problem. If an estimating application provides this capability, it allows the user flexibility to cover a range of solutions in one worksheet/assembly.


Advanced Mathematics with Logic Capability2

Mathematical logic deals with mathematical concepts expressed using formal logical systems.

  1. Using the IF with AND, OR and NOT logic

The IF function allows you to make a logical comparison between a value and what you expect by testing for a condition and returning a result if that condition is True or False.

  1. Functions and Equations

If your software allows you to create a function, then use that function in your equation, this would enable you to incorporate any mathematical solution into your estimating philosophy.


Assemblies, Simple Resources or Plugged Values Estimating3

When used, consistently assemblies add value in the process, because they become known and trusted components to estimators.

  1. Rate Libraries and Assemblies

This is when application allow you to create rate libraries in the form of either worksheets or assemblies which in turn helps you to speeden up your estimating processes.

  1. Simple Resources or Plugged Values4

This is a quick and easy way to create an estimate, often used by the trades and general contractors. The software providers often link the estimate to an invoicing accounting package like MYOB, Xero or Quickbooks.


Infrastructure and Heavy Construction

A comprehensive list of software provides capable of producing first principles estimates

Candy iTWO1, 2, & 3

Methvin1, 2 & 3

Heavybid2 & 3


BIM, 3D & CAD Estimating Software


iTWO CostX3

Cost-OS2 & 3


Industrial Construction

B2W2 & 3

Benchmark Estimating Software2 & 3

Pronamics2 & 3


2D Takeoff Estimating Software



Methvin1, 2 & 3


Commercial Building

Causeway3 & 4

Sage3 & 4

Plexxis3 & 4


Residential Building

Buildertrend3 & 4

CoConstruct3 & 4




Tradify3 & 4

SimPRO3 & 4

Rakon3 & 4

While working with a contractor who may have given a set tender, the majority of cost overruns are set in his proceeds, though several could still be conveyed to the owner. If you are working with a cost-plus or time-and-materials contract, or work as your respective contractor, then a good number of cost overruns ooze from your pocket.

Being a time-consuming practice, detailed cost estimation is primed when all construction project documents are completed. Knowledge and creativity are indispensable for organizing an cost estimate of construction. During construction, different technologies, methods, and processes are used by different contractors. Thus, estimators require experience, creativity and knowledge to implement the task of estimation effectively. Detailed cost estimation entails two vital steps, namely, pricing and quantity takeoff or quantity estimate. The project is divided by the estimator into separate work items while preparing this estimate, and the material quantities are estimated by him for individual item of work. This process is referred to as quantity takeoff. Furthermore, material, equipment and labor required for carrying out a work item are decided on the basis of the construction method and given specifications.

Data Required for Civil Engineering Estimation:

For preparing an Estimation in the Construction industry, a range of data and other factors needs to be taken into due consideration. To extract a detailed construction estimate, the estimating person ought to consider the following data:

1. Sections, maps, plans, and other significant work details.

2. A plan of specifications indicative of the precise nature and group of materials that are desired to be employed.

3. The prices at which the diverse work items are employed and executed.

To allow an estimator to determine the quantities precisely, the sketches/map of plan ought to be lucid, factual and true, absolute, and wholly measured.


Steps in Preparing Civil Engineering Estimation:

There are 3 visibly defined steps in preparing civil engineering estimation. They are mentioned as follows:

1. Take-out Quantities

In this preliminary step, the dimensions are extracted from the graphs and drawings and pierced into the dimension paper or measurement sheet. The unit of measurement decides the measurements that are to be engaged in. For instance, in the stone masonry case, the walls’ height, thickness, length, and superstructure above the level of plinth are gauged through the drawings given and fitted into the sheet of measurement, while, in the plastering case, the heights and lengths are only entered in. Apparently, in the former case, the measurement unit is cubic meter while in the latter case, it is square meter.

2. Square out

The next step entails the computation of areas, volumes, etc. and subsequently spreading the total in the documented units of measurement.

3. Abstraction

In the final step, all the articles together with the net results attained in the previous step are shifted from the dimension paper to particularly ruled sheets containing a column for rates to enable pricing.

The above mentioned last two steps are termed as ‘working up’. All the computations in these two stages and every shifted entry ought to be confirmed by a different person to make sure that no copying or mathematical errors take place.


Unit of Measurement Principles:

While working out the civil engineering estimation, a novice might find it hard to bear in mind the measurement units of diverse articles and materials. It becomes vastly easy to memorize the measurement units if he/she is responsive of the pertinent principles attached with the choice of selecting these units. While selecting the unit of measurement, the below given vital principles must be taken care of:

1. The measurement unit ought to be straightforward and easy to compute, document and realize.

2. It should allow for fair imbursement for the work drawn in.

3. The per unit price shouldn’t be either too small or too large.

4. Eventually while drawing out result, it should determine quantities that are neither extremely insignificant nor extremely outsized. 

Construction business is a trade not efficiently handled by many. It requires a number of core skills and nuance of estimation. The task of estimating may appear to be easy; however, it is amongst the most difficult tasks of this business. The article puts forward the secrets to construction cost estimation.

While analysing the activities related to the construction project cost, four major key components come to the fore. They are mentioned hereunder:

With every new project comes a new specification and relating challenges since there are hardly any projects that are similar in all aspects. The construction and project management industry, like other trades, has to each, his own. Every patron comes up with exclusive designs in mind, thereby making the project inimitably different. This can prove to be a considerable saddle for the estimators, as it requires them to precisely draw a project estimate and justify all the crucial activities of delivery. Construction cost estimators are highly conversant and acquainted with every division of construction estimation technique, from outsourcing of material to labour service.

1.1 Introduction

Cost is important to all industry. Costs can be divided into two general classes; absolute costs and relative costs. Absolute cost measures the loss in value of assets. Relative cost involves a comparison between the chosen course of action and the course of action that was rejected. This cost of the alternative action - the action not taken - is often called the "opportunity cost".

To address this question it’s easiest to look at estimating from a historical perspective: Once upon a time, every contractor created estimates by hand. He/she would pull out a pad of paper and pencil, jot down some figures line by line, then sum up each item to achieve the estimate. This was a simple and effective way to create a bid, but human error, inflexibility, and time consumption left plenty of room for improvement.

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