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Estimating Software - 5 min read

7 Reasons Manual Estimating is Hurting your Quality of Work

David Cartwright

Senior Marketing Manager - Software

Nov 8, 2019 9:48:00 AM

For many years, construction companies relied on paper and spreadsheets to complete projects. Manual techniques were often used to develop blueprints, communicate with team members, and prepare material estimates. But this old school approach has now been replaced by technology. Indeed, estimating software, digital records, and advanced communication tools have become the gold standard of a successful construction project.

If you’re still relying on outdated methods, you may find yourself struggling with low quality work and disgruntled customers. Manual estimating may particularly affect your business from a financial, reputational, and longevity standpoint. To know where you stand, here are 7 ways manual estimating can hurt your construction business and quality of work that you should be aware of.


1. Limited information on projects and insights

Manual estimating makes it more challenging to collect and analyse data. Remember that your business could learn a lot from previous project information. From old budgets to former quotes (for similar job designs), you may be unable to review this information and obtain unique insights for the future. Manual methods also limit your ability to learn from previous mistakes and boost efficiency moving forward.

On the other hand, using digital techniques will make it easier for your company to access data, uncover trends/connections, and make better decisions. If all your previous estimates and quotes are stored in one place, you can use data analytics tools to establish patterns and improve the quality of work.  



2. Inadequate use of time

Saving on the amount of time that each project takes can help free up resources while tackling more projects. Unfortunately, manual estimating techniques may cause your business to spend more time on a single project. Having the limited ability to communicate with various teams on site, implement change orders, or share expectations could ultimately prolong project timelines. And if work takes too long to complete, you’ll end up spending more money and turning away customers.

Estimating software helps construction companies to develop quotes and tenders faster, compare suppliers, and implement changes in accordance with customer preferences.    



3. Higher probability for errors

Perhaps the biggest challenge of manual estimation is accuracy. Using a pen, paper, and spreadsheets could greatly increase human error- especially when handling larger projects. Digital estimation tools allow users to import multiple plans, access 3D views, and modify a wide range of files. This software makes it easier to discover errors in advance and collaborate in real-time. And by setting benchmarks for your workflows, you can monitor any outliers and correct mistakes before they affect your downstream processes.    



4. Higher project costs

If you’re still heavily dependent on manual estimation techniques, you’re probably incurring higher project costs. This is because manual estimation limits efficiency and makes it difficult to monitor performance.

If your teams are using paper to implement workflows, you may spend more time and resources to reconcile all these documents. You may also be slower when reacting to customer preferences or price fluctuations from suppliers. These issues ultimately increase the cost of your project and affect your bottom line.  



5. Low competitive presence in the industry

Your competitors may already be using digital estimation techniques to drive efficiency. If other industry players are leveraging digital tools, you may lag behind in providing competitive pricing and accurate completion timelines. Leveraging the estimating software not only improves your quality of work but also has the power to win you more work.



6. You can’t attract top talent

For you to get the best out of new technologies, you need to hire top talent. Qualified workers help you implement new software without significantly increasing costs. However, you’ll have a harder time recruiting talent if you’re still stuck in the manual age.

Skilled workers are aware of how frustrating and inefficient manual estimation can be. This is why construction companies should strategically leverage digital tools and use them as an asset for recruiting top talent.




7. Difficulty integrating workflows

Another significant limitation with manual estimation is that it limits your ability to integrate workflows. The modern construction business is driven by many different teams, including management, finance, IT, and the actual field teams.

Spreadsheets significantly hinder your ability to keep all these teams on the same page. They also increase communication costs, limit flexibility, and slow down project completion. Digital estimation tools allow separate teams to collaborate in real time from a common interface. In this way, calculations, take off, and reports can be carried out in a seamless manner.

If you’re looking to make the transition from manual to digital estimation, look no further than Cubit;  a specialised estimating solution that delivers you a large range of efficiencies compared with manual estimating. Save time, minimise errors, increase your accuracy, and win more work. Start a free trial today and experience the benefits for yourself. 


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