ArcSite 2.0 by Arctuition, www.arctuition.com, is a mobile app for the iPad, a mobile design, documentation, and collaboration solution for contractors, engineers, architects and designers to create, manage and store data, including simple CAD designs generated on the iPad during a site visit.
The app, powered by a patent-pending shape recognition technology, interprets user intention according to the freehand trajectory on a touch screen and converts hand-drawn sketches to precise geometries in real time. The app incorporates modest CAD-like editing tools. The drawings can be exported to other CAD programs for completion or embellishment using more sophisticated CAD design software.
Users can start a project three ways: by creating a drawing from scratch; by downloading a PDF drawing from their ArcSite accounts in the cloud; or by importing a PDF drawing from a third party app such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Users can also take photos onsite and integrate them immediately.
Time-saving design enhancements include Smart Dimension Editing, which allow users to change the length and angle of a line and the radius and radian of an arc by directly entering the desired dimensions. ArcSite will automatically infer constraints for connectivity, vertical and horizontal direction and tangency of a line or an arc, and update the remainder of the object automatically.
Another feature, Customer Shapes, gives access to a library of pre-defined trade-specific shapes (a centrifugal fan, a condenser, or a pump) for insertion directly into drawings. Users can also define custom shapes and save them in the library, eliminating the need to recreate the shape for subsequent drawings.
ArcSite 2.0 can also be utilized as a cloud-based collaborative platform. Users can upload PDF drawings to the cloud using the ArcSiteApp.com website and download to their iPad or share with their collaborators for download and markup. These output files published to the cloud can be accessed from any devices connected to the web. The app can be downloaded at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/arcsite-graphic-notebook-for/id986274256?ls=1&mt=8, free for the first project published to the cloud and, after that, available via a sliding scale monthly service plan.
QuoteSoft, www.quotesoft.com, is cloud-enabled estimating and BIM software for HVAC, piping, plumbing and ductwork contractors.
QuoteSoft piping software is built around a database with more than 110,000 standard items from major manufacturers and includes hundreds of assemblies.
The standard database is customizable with industry-standard data tables, enabling any company estimator to generate accurate estimates and bids for pipe, fittings, valves, fixtures, equipment and accessories from PDFs, prints or other electronic plan files by selecting the size of each component.
The solution features automatic pipe generation, fast global chances, and complete program data customization and integration with the user company’s CAD, BIM and project management software.
The standard database is customizable with industry-standard data tables, enabling any company estimator to generate accurate estimates and bids.
QuoteSoft delivers accurate bids from PDFs, prints or any electronic plan files for Pipe, Fittings, Valves, Flanges, Fixtures, Equipment, and Accessories.
Users can export labor and material takeoffs to Microsoft Excel for a custom final bid summary. The software’s standard spreadsheet includes equipment, fixtures, labor rates, rentals and all other job-related costs.
With QuoteSoft’s specification driven takeoff, the user selects the size and automatically the appropriate type of pipe, valves, fittings, flanges, and hangers are ready for input, down to the specific manufacturer.
For items outside of a specification, the software allows selection of any item from the entire database.
Because the software can accommodate quick global changes, it is easy to try out what-ifs when putting together an estimate. The labor database provides user-modifiable standards for MCAA, SMACNA, and PHCC hours for each item in it.
More than 40 reports, including subtotals of zones, manufacturers, specifications for hours and materials are available.
QuoteSoft integrates with mobile takeoff from phones, tablets, iPads, and CAD, BIM and project management software.
A quick update on Breezeworks, www.breezeworks.com. Breezeworks is a mobile business management application we covered in the July column that, at the time, featured operation from a smartphone or tablet (only) and was suitable for one to several person contracting businesses. Since then, the developer has added web client functionality with a new web portal designed to give owners/management a complete view of all business variables on the larger screen real estate of PCs or laptops.
This addition enables oversight of bigger fleets as well as smaller operations in the office and in the field. The larger screen area facilitates easier centralized appointment scheduling, remote job management, billing, estimating and customer engagement. A free trial is available at www.breezeworks.com.
Is your company on Twitter yet? When searching for the hashtag #HVAC at Twitter, we see a sprinkling of HVAC contractors taking advantage of Twitter to increase awareness of their company services. Popular tweet topics include guidelines for homeowner maintenance, energy-saving tips, Q & A with answers that make reference to services the company offers, top-flight customer reviews, and offers for discount coupons and specials. If you are not yet using the platform, here’s a link to “The Basics: Twitter 101” that could help jumpstart your involvement: https://business.twitter.com/basics?lang=en&location=na
Bill and Patti Feldman write articles and web content for trade magazines and manufacturers of building products. They can be reached at [email protected].