Accubid (www.accubid.com) offers a family of scalable estimating solutions for different types and sizes of projects. Each program comes with a comprehensive material database with labor units, labor factoring, labor tracking codes and cost codes built in, as well as an assemblies database ready to use. In any of the solutions, estimators can create specific custom project assemblies on the fly. Each solution automatically calculates the required quantities for each component with assemblies based on the length or count specified in the takeoff, and any change in the take-off length or count is reflected immediately in the estimate.
All the programs, Accubid Pro, Bidwinner Plus, Bidwinner, Power Bid and Accubid Enterprise Estimating, include the Live Extension feature, which allows estimators to view the results of each takeoff as it occurs. Any changes to quantity, material and labor are immediately reflected in the final price. As a check of the developing estimate, the user can group the bill of materials by system, area, drawing, phase, bid item, labor factor, sort codes, unit price and/or item.
Likewise, all programs, in various degrees, have the ability to apply take-off breakdowns in a multi-dimensional format, allowing users to view subtotals across breakdowns and in any order, affording easy regrouping of the extension and the ability to break down the bid by any combination of factors.
The solutions are compatible with Scalex PlanWheel probes and WinTab compatible digitizers and interface with AutoCAD using Accubid CadLive.
The materials databases can be price updated using industry pricing services. All the programs can request current pricing for the job from multiple suppliers in a single operation using the NetPricer Link utility, giving the estimator the opportunity to use the best available price.
The entry-level program, PowerBid, is suitable for small residential and commercial projects. It comes with a pre-formatted database of about 48,000 material items and 3,000 assemblies, and includes three takeoff types and three extension level breakdowns.
Contractors with projects generally in the $100,000 to $300,000 range are the target for BidWinner. It provides the flexibility of four specialized takeoff types and 14 extension level breakdowns and has additional features to fine-tune estimates, including the ability to factor labor according to installation conditions and location, and the ability to substitute items and assemblies in takeoffs. Estimators can use labor codes and cost codes, which are useful for project management and cost accounting. Temporary assemblies created in one job can be copied to another.
BidWinner Plus is aimed at contractors bidding on medium-sized commercial, institutional, industrial and residential projects with typical project value of $250,000 to $750,000. In addition to the above noted features, the enhanced solution increases the number of assemblies in the database to 4,000 and comes with seven specialized take-off types and 16 extension level breakdowns. It also can handle multiple bid summaries, create specialized designations and use hot lists to assemble takeoffs.
Accubid Pro is best suited to contractors bidding on medium to large commercial, industrial, institutional, manufacturing, treatment plants, or multi-unit residential projects with typical project values of $500,000 and up. It comes with 10 specialized takeoff types and adds the ability to copy and paste between jobs, job merge for multiple users and other capabilities that streamline detailed preparation of large bids. It also has the multi-level Bid Breakdown Schedule that instantly calculates total cost per breakdown as well as costs per unit values, like costs per square foot per system or labor hours per square foot per system.
With Accubid Pro or BidWinner Plus, the user can create multiple bid summaries, each with a different combination of takeoff breakdowns. This enables the user to work up the total prices for the base bid and all alternate and separate prices and instantly switch from one to another. In Accubid Pro, any combination of bid summaries can be displayed in a single view and the overall totals calculated and displayed.
All the above noted estimating solutions will interface with MS Project and Primavera scheduling programs, facilitating the scheduling process. All programs use the same database and no job data is lost if a user upgrades from one solution to another.
Accubid Enterprise Estimating is the most comprehensive of the Accubid estimating offerings. SQL and .NET based, it was designed for the large multi-trade industrial contractor. Spec driven and designed for use by many project participants, it includes all the features present in Accubid Pro and has an extensive database of 500,000+ items. Takeoff can be done via the user customizable on-screen pad or digitizer, and the program can accommodate up to seven take-off breakdowns.
All aspects of the construction process, including purchasing, project management, billing and accounting can make use of the same estimating data without additional data entry by using the export tools available in any of the estimating programs. Accubid's Change Order Pro, Time and Material Billing and Construct Job, which is a web-based collaborative project management system can use the estimating data directly.
To help contractors get up to speed with any solution and maximize productivity, Accubid offers estimating and project management classes that teach proven best processes and methodologies.
Bill and Patti Feldman are freelance writers for magazines, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached at [email protected].