Still using Excel for estimating?

Discover the Top 4 Reasons to Show Excel the Door

Show Excel the Door: Reason #1

Accounting, scheduling and estimating should work together,
but Excel can’t integrate them.

Show Excel the Door: Reason #2

Standardizing processes is good business management,
but Excel can’t handle it.

Show Excel the Door: Reason #3

Accurate estimates can boost profits and win more business,
but Excel isn’t always reliable.

Show Excel the Door: Reason #4

You need a dedicated team of construction estimating experts,
but Excel doesn’t have one.

Construction Estimating Software

Is your construction estimating software costing you time, money and job opportunities? With award-winning ProEst software, you’ll never lose revenue due to inaccurate and inefficient estimating again.

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ProEst is an innovative construction estimating solution that combines the power of SQL with the intuitive look-and-feel of Microsoft Office, which lessens the learning curve to speed adoption. With ProEst, you can create estimates, perform digital takeoffs, manage the bid day process and quickly generate detailed reports and professional proposals. In addition, adjustable markups allow you to refine each bid to take full advantage of project opportunities.

ProEst is built using the latest Microsoft technology, including a SQL database and .NET development platform. This allows us to regularly enhance our construction estimating software to keep pace with changing industry requirements. Cutting edge capabilities are designed to increase efficiencies, and integration with common business tools, leading construction accounting systems and online plan rooms extend the power of ProEst well beyond estimating.

Compare Your ProEst Options

compareProEst is available in three affordable options: Standard, Professional and Enterprise. Each ProEst construction estimating software subscription delivers:

  • A single solution with one database for storing all of your valuable estimate data, so you’ll never have to search for a missing estimate or drawing file again
  • A standardized estimating process that increases efficiency, eliminates errors and presents a consistent and professional company brand
  • Worry free maintenance that includes unlimited telephone and e-mail support, along with all product updates and enhancements

Customer Case Studies

Find out why over 8,000 leading general and specialized construction firms have selected ProEst as their construction estimating software. Our case studies give you real-world examples of how ProEst is used every day to quickly create accurate estimates.

  • With ProEst construction estimating software, Good & Roberts revolutionized its estimating processes to save 800 staff hours a year.
  • Terra Firma Landscape uses ProEst construction estimating software to cut material costs by 3% and gain a competitive advantage in a challenging construction market.
  • By using ProEst construction estimating software to increase efficiencies, GBC Construction nearly doubles their estimating output while reducing administrative overhead and divisional costs by 18%.

Industries We Service

While many construction estimating software products are designed for a single trade, ProEst is a flexible solution that contractors of all types to accurately calculate the cost of any size project – quickly and easily. Hit the ground running with an industry-specific materials database that includes pre-built items and assemblies that can easily be customized to meet your company’s unique construction estimating software requirements. Then, save time and increase accuracy by taking advantage of features and options developed specifically for your trade. Each ProEst subscription includes our entire line of materials databases. This saves you thousands of dollars when compared to other construction estimating software solutions.

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Is your construction company’s IT system ready for growth?

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for construction companies is adaptability to upgrades. Managing a company is difficult in itself, but upgrading to the latest trends? That sounds too risky and expensive for a lot of people.

However, think about this: Do you want to strengthen your business by aligning to current standards or do you want to bite the dust? Companies today need to keep up with the latest trends – particularly in the field of IT and computing technology – in order to survive the coming years. Keeping up with trends is often less difficult and expensive than waiting for your IT systems to become obsolete and trying to play catch up later.

If you own a construction company, this is the best time to take a look at your IT system. Is it ready for new opportunities to grow along with the changing tides? Here is a quick checklist to assess if your IT system is geared up for growth:

1. Can your system handle the growing size of your company?

Any company owner wants the business to grow, but it may be crippled by a sub-standard IT system that cannot adapt to the changes.

2. Is your IT system equipped with updated software that is aligned with current standards?

A lot of construction companies are still relying on outdated software, some of which is not compatible with current operating systems and online services. The longer you delay in upgrading the system, the more costly it becomes to re-code it in the future.

3. Is your construction software framework flexible?

Changes in the business model are inevitable for any company that wants to advance. Your IT system must be able to adjust to process changes so that it will not hinder the company’s growth.

4. Can your IT system software consolidate data from individual units of your company?

Each business unit requires a specific set of data that may be different from other units. Make sure that your IT system can not only understand these diverse data sets but also combine them in a single interface that any user can understand.

If you said “no” to any – or even worse – all of the four questions, it might be best to start thinking about upgrading your IT system. You can start by investing in construction software that is flexible, can be customized, and can collate seemingly separate data into a consolidated system.

Everything You Need to Know About Drug Testing in Construction

Drug testing has gone from a non-existent practice to widespread acceptance in the construction industry over the past couple of decades. Although it initially seems like an added expense for construction companies, it actually ends up saving them money in the long run. Unfortunately, abuse of alcohol and other drugs is fairly prevalent in the construction industry. But, a comprehensive drug testing program can help weed out drug abusers.

Why test for drugs?

First off, let’s get one thing straight: drug testing is not about catching drug abusers. Drug testing is about maintaining a safe work environment and ensuring the safety and security of your employees. Saving money can be considered a fringe benefit of drug testing.

The unfortunate fact is that the construction industry is one of the top industries for drug and alcohol abuse, according to the US Department of Labor.

Construction workers are the second-highest users of illegal drugs at 15.1%, which is nearly double the US national average. The illegal drug use breakdown among construction workers is:

  • Construction laborers – 12.8%
  • Construction supervisors – 17.2%
  • Other construction workers – 17.3%

Fortunately, enacting a drug testing program has been proven to help improve workplace safety. Although it’s over a decade old, the 2002 Cornell University study An assessment of drug testing within the construction industry by JK Gerber and GS Yacoubian Jr. found that companies with drug-testing programs experienced a 51 percent reduction in incident rates within two years of implementation.

By having a drug testing program in place, you not only improve the safety of your company and save money, but you also cultivate a reputation for safety. Your clients will appreciate this and drug abusers who are looking for a job will steer clear of your company because they’ll know that you have a program in place. Plus, companies that have drug testing programs often receive discounts on their Workers’ Compensation costs.

How should you drug test?

There are three main types of drug tests:

  • urine
  • saliva
  • hair

Each has advantages and disadvantages that we will go through quickly.


By far the most common type of workplace drug testing, urine is the only type that has government guidelines drawn up for its usage.


  • can be done onsite
  • has instant testing component available
  • can detect drug use for up to about a week after usage
  • instant urine drug test kits require minimum training to operate
  • only positive instant testing results need to be forwarded to a laboratory for more expensive confirmation


  • invasive
  • have to procure proper facilities for collection (somewhere private with minimal traffic)
  • requires same-sex collection if observed collection is being done
  • instances of shy bladder may affect collection
  • can be cheated (although extremely difficult to cheat with observed collection)
  • drugs cannot be detected instantly after usage (but can be detected about an hour after usage)


Saliva or oral fluid tests are currently having guidelines drawn up by the government, meaning they are becoming more common, which is good news because they are more cost effective than urine tests.


  • non-invasive
  • can be done onsite
  • has instant component available
  • instant saliva tests require minimal training to operate
  • only positive instant testing results need to be forwarded to a laboratory for more expensive confirmation
  • does not require same-sex collection
  • can be easily observed without having to procure facilities (can be performed anywhere, even at the spot where an incident occurred)
  • can detect drugs immediately after usage
  • essentially impossible to cheat
  • more cost effective than urine testing


  • can only detect drug use for a day or two after usage


Hair testing is fairly uncommon, but it is useful for pre-employment screening. Casinos in Las Vegas often do pre-employment hair testing. As body hair can be used, even people with no head hair can still be tested using this method.


  • can detect drug use for up to three months after usage
  • does not require same-sex collection
  • virtually impossible to cheat


  • invasive
  • no instant testing component available
  • cannot detect drug use until about a week after usage
  • cannot be done onsite (collection and testing must be done at a laboratory by a trained professional)
  • much more expensive than saliva or urine testing

How often should you test?

Your drug testing program will depend on a lot of factors, mainly the purpose you are testing and your budget, but there are three categories for drug testing: pre-employment, random and post-incident.

If you can fit it into your budget, a thorough drug testing program would consist of pre-employment testing done via hair testing, random drug testing done via instant urine testing with positive results sent for laboratory confirmation and post-incident instant saliva testing with positive results sent for laboratory confirmation.

However you choose to do it, a comprehensive drug testing policy is a tool that every construction company should have. It garners you trust with clients, a reputation for safety and zero tolerance among potential employees and saves you money in the long run.

SpecWave Composer Puts Engineering Specs Front and Center

In construction projects, codes, standards, and engineering specifications are some of the most important information involved in the entire process.

But the documents that contain this information often don’t receive the scrutiny they deserve, usually being relegated to email attachments as PDF or Word documents. With each new project, designers either have to create these files from scratch or edit these largely text-based documents, leaving room for errors.

But, Leon Gorbaty, director of product management with Bentley Systems, has invented software that puts engineering specifications front and center and allows the rest of the work to flow from these governing rules.

Leon Gorbaty, director of product management with Bentley Systems

Leon Gorbaty, director of product management with Bentley Systems

That software is SpecWave Composer, which Gorbaty describes as being essentially an object-oriented word processing software. But, rather than being completely text based, the software is compartmentalized in such a way that it can be connected to building information models and can be connected to other workflows like procurement and construction.

“We’ve essentially created a system to take engineering specs and make them interactive and modelled right up front so the written word can now be used on a project the same way the geometrical shapes and other design elements can be,” Gorbaty said in a recent interview.

SpecWave Composer works by importing specification documents (or creating new ones) and “modeling” them according to a strict set of rules defined by formal “SpecWave Templates”. Content can be “Multi-Purposed”, tagged, and/or linked to other content and workflows as required by the user. From a usability point of view, SpecWave Composer works much like other office/desktop applications, meaning most users will likely become familiar with it quickly.

Gorbaty, a firm believer in interoperability between tools, also gave SpecWave Composer the ability to integrate with Bentley’s project collaboration and AECO information management software ProjectWise. Plus, SpecWave has its own file format, SPECX, which was developed as an open and non-proprietary file format, making integration with other tools relatively easy.

SpecWave Composer is garnering a lot of attention throughout the construction industry, having been recognized by Constructech Magazine with their “Top Product” Award in the “New Product” category.

SpecWave Composer

The software has also won a Construction Computing Award in the category of “One to Watch Product,” which is a product that is predicted to become a hit within a year.

Gorbaty, who joined Bentley when it acquired his former company The Engineering Essentials Company (TEEC) in 2012, says he feels the awards have given validation to the young technology. Perhaps even more validating, though, has been its rapid adoption by companies and organizations in the construction industry. For example, Fiatech, a global organization dedicated to developing the best technology for the construction industry, has adopted the SPECX file format for creating automated project specifications.

But, Gorbaty admits, there is still a lot of work to do for SpecWave Composer to be adopted industry-wide.

Looking Ahead

With a background in mechanical engineering and software development, Gorbaty has been involved in the engineering and engineering IT industry for about 25 years and he’s been intimately involved with codes, standards and specifications management for about 10 years now.

The biggest change he’s seen in that time is the concept of building information modelling (BIM), which started out in architecture but is expanding into all types of construction and other areas of engineering.

SpecWave, with its ability to not just author documents, but model them, is a perfect companion to BIM.

“SpecWave fits well with all the changes that we’ve seen with building information modelling,” Gorbaty said. “It fits right in.”

As for the future, Gorbaty predicts that companies will begin making their software tools more compatible with each other, particularly in the area of BIM.

“I guess the way that I really believe that the industry is going to go is there is going to be more emphasis on building information modelling and general information modelling, but also on the harmonization in the way in which these models are created,” he said.

For more information on SpecWave Composer, click here.

Drones Likely to Become Regular Piece of Construction Equipment in Future

The field of construction has continually embraced technology as a means to improve productivity and output quality. Take the case of drones, which have earned a bad reputation for their covert – and sometimes privacy-violating – use in military surveillance.

Drones belong to a class of machines called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) that perform things above and beyond our visual perspective. In short, drones can reach high and tall areas by flying.

They may not be used by many construction companies now (probably due to their prohibitive price tag) but drones are starting to reshape the way construction projects are being done. One of the jobs long been considered as difficult to do in construction works is aerial presentation, or the act of capturing construction work from above. Aerial captures can help a construction company assess the entire project better and faster, because anyone involved can see the progress by just looking at aerial videos and photos.

It is nearly impossible for any construction worker to get aerial shots without some sort of equipment. Sure, someone can bring a camera and be lifted up on the end of a crane, but that scenario poses a lot of safety risks.

The solution? Drones.

All you need is a drone operator who can maneuver the flying vehicle and a camera to strap to it and you can start taking pictures or recording video.

Here are some of the advantages and future benefits of using drones to capture aerial shots in construction projects:

  • Highly advanced drones can be hooked to a nearby receiver that can feed the camera captures in real time.
  • Drones can be programmed to capture shots of the building from various angles so that 3D modeling software can construct a virtual image of the project.
  • Aerial videos may be taken by drones and saved for future use, possibly in archiving or in presenting the project to investors and stakeholders.

Because of the drone’s aerial scope, they are technically subject to regulations by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). However, current FAA laws are murky when it comes to regulating drones. While the FAA claims to have jurisdiction over these aerial vehicles, drone manufacturers and supporters say the agency has no authority because of loose regulations. So far, Congress has passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act in 2012, which includes legalization of UAVs by 2015, but this hasn’t stopped commercial drone users from continuing to use the flying machines.

Whether or not regulations are coming, the impact of drones on the construction industry cannot be denied. It’s only a matter of time before drones become a staple equipment in construction firms.