Computer Aided Cost Estimation Estimating Software Packages

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The possibilities for automating and controlling your estimating spreadsheets are unlimited, and there are many tools that developers and contractors can use to estimate more effectively and efficiently. Moreover, there are currently many computer aided cost estimation software systems on the market. These range in sophistication from simple spreadsheet calculation software packages to integrated systems involving design and price negotiation over the Internet. While these proprietary packages involve some investment to purchase, maintain, and train (assuming you already have adequate computer hardware), significant efficiencies usually result. In particular, cost estimates may be prepared with greater accuracy, more rapidly and with less effort. Below is a list of the more popular packages that are available today to developers and contractors:

• ACEIT (Automated Cost Estimating Integrated Tools) helps analysts store, retrieve, and analyze data; build cost models; analyze risk; time phase budgets; and document cost estimates. It is a generic, flexible, Windows-based system you can use to estimate virtually any task on any type program. The result of government sponsored efforts, the ACEIT suite of applications is available to U.S. Government organizations with no charge for use.

• BEST ESTIMATE: Estimator for renovators and remodelers, general contractors, design/builders, architects and designers.

• Bidworx: Takeoff and estimating software for construction management.

• BSD SoftLink products, by Building Systems Design, enable users to perform cost management, cost engineering, value analysis, and construction specifications.

• CD Estimator for Windows allows you to customize prices, descriptions, and markup. Includes training video and Job Cost Wizard, which allows you to take estimates from your estimator and export them into QuickBooks Pro or create your own billing.

• COCOMO: In 1981 the Constructive Cost Model (COCOMO) was published in the book Software Engineering Economics by Dr. Barry Boehm. There are several tools that implement the model available via the Internet.

• COSMIC has over 810 computer programs that were originally developed by NASA and its contractors for the U.S. space program.

• Cost Analysis Strategy Assessment (CASA) is a Life Cycle Cost (LCC) decision support tool. CASA can present the total cost of ownership depending on user selections, including RDT and E costs, production costs, and operating/support costs. CASA covers the entire life of the system, from its initial research costs to those associated with yearly maintenance, as well as spares, training costs, and other expenses.

• Cost Estimating Guides—Labor and material cost guides. Most come with a CD and include a stand-alone estimating program, National Estimator, with a multimedia tutorial.

Also included is a job costing program, Job Cost Wizard, that lets you turn estimates into invoices and export your estimates to QuickBooks Pro.

• Cost Xpert software costing tool calculates information including project costs, schedules, tasks, deliverables, maintenance, and support requirements.

• COSTIMATOR: Computerized cost estimating and process planning for manufacturing.

• CostTrack is an integrated cost/project management software package.

• Crystal Ball—Choose a range for each uncertain value in your spreadsheet. Crystal Ball uses this information to perform hundreds of what-if analyses. These analyses are summarized in a graph showing the probability for each result.

• DeccaPro activity based cost estimating software.

• ECOS European Space Agency (ESA) Costing Software.

• ECOM European Space Agency (ESA) Cost Modeling Software.

• EMQUE's Perfect Project integrated accounting, estimating, cost and project management software for the construction industry.

• Decision by Life Cycle Cost (D-LCC) is a software package for automated life cycle cost evaluation and cost effectiveness analysis.

• DecisionTools Suite (@RISK, PrecisionTree, TopRank, BestFit, and RISKview) provides a suite of integrated decision analysis programs running from a common toolbar in Microsoft Excel.

• D4COST is a conceptual cost modeling system that provides the tools to produce building cost estimates. It contains a database of over 900 construction projects that includes total building costs, materials and labor, contract requirements, general requirements, and site costs.

• DOD Tools and Models Index: This index contains abstracts of tools and models that are currently used in the U.S. Department of Defense and have the potential for wider application.

• ForecastX, available in an ActiveX control, cross-platform libraries and Java, allows you to add business forecasting, time series forecasting, demand and inventory planning, data mining, sales forecasting, optimization and statistical algorithms to your client server and web-based applications.

• JPL's Project Design Center Tools and Models: Include many engineering, cost estimating, and management tools used in the design and development of spacecraft.

• KAPES (Knowledge Aided Planning and Estimating System) is a knowledge-based computer system which can be used to control purchasing and outsourcing costs, the generation of bid cost estimates, and the improvement of shop floor efficiency.

• Means DemoSource allows you to download free estimating software demos and product information that you can use to make construction estimating software decisions for your organization.

• G2 Estimator: project estimating and management and control systems.

• Timberline Software Corporation's Precision Collection of estimating software covers the entire estimating process, from conceptual estimate to final bill of materials. Offers analytical capabilities, pre-built databases and links to AutoCAD and scheduling.

• Micro Estimating Systems, Inc.

• Machine Shop Estimating is an engineering based, computer-aided, estimating system.

• FabPlan is an engineering based, computer-aided, processing planning and estimating system.

• National Construction Estimator is designed for building costs of residential, commercial, and industrial construction. Provides manhours, recommended crew, and gives the labor cost for installation.

• Optimize allows managers to forecast the effort, cost and resources required for object-oriented and component-based software development. Optimize is UML based and can be used standalone or in conjunction with CASE tools and Microsoft Project to help transform modeling data into scheduling information.

• PACES (Parametric Cost Engineering System) is a military construction cost estimating system.

• PCM Parametric Cost Model from Parametric Consultants: The cost calculation within this model is driven by a mass and a complexity factor. The complexity factor is derived by a reverse calculation with a similar type of equipment where the costs are know. ECOM is linked to these different parametric models in the simple way of exchanging data via files. Since the user has no access to the formulae, this method can be considered as a black-box approach, where just the supplier takes care about the maintenance of the internal calculation process. This requires an experienced estimator in order to receive reliable cost figures.

• Primavera Systems, Inc.

• TeamPlay: Enterprise-wide project portfolio management for IT and application development projects.

• Concentric Suite—an integrated way to manage people, teams, and projects.

• Pulsar, by Estimating Systems, is a PC-based construction cost estimating package that uses the R.S. Means Cost Data. It is designed for commercial, government and facilities estimating.

• R.S. Means Preliminary Project Cost Data is a parametric resource based on data from R.S. Means that allows users to select from approximately 60 building types in any location in the United States (and 33 locations in Canada) and obtain a cost estimate for building the project in that market. The service is available for free to registered users (registration is free, as well).

• RACER (Remedial Action Cost Engineering and Requirements System) will estimate costs for studies, remedial design, remedial action, and related site work at environmental restoration projects.

• RAPIDCOST: Manufacturing cost estimating system for Windows.

• Resource Calculations, Inc. (RCI): Software tools for management of software development.

• Success4: Commercially available Windows-based estimating and cost management software system.

• Timberline Software offers sophisticated analytical capabilities, pre-built databases and links to AutoCAD and scheduling.

• TRACES (Tri-Services Automated Cost Engineering Systems) provides cost engineers with tools to prepare budgetary, Government estimates, and current working estimates in support of the DOD military program and the Corps of Engineers Civil Works program.

• Video Estimator lets you draw on pictures to estimate material. It combines elements of CAD, spreadsheet and database software into a cost estimating program.

• Visual Estimator: Construction cost estimating and bidding system for Windows

• Cobra is a cost management system designed to manage and analyze budgets, earned value, actuals, and forecasts.

• Open Plan is an enterprise-wide project management software system that supports multiple projects.

• Spider is a Web-based statusing tool for remotely viewing and updating project data from Open Plan, Welcom's enterprise-wide project management system.

• WelcomHome is a virtual project office that provides a process-driven approach for distributed team members. It can be used both independently and in conjunction with scheduling and cost management tools such as Microsoft Project, and Welcom's Open Plan and Cobra.

• WinEstimator, Inc. is the producer of several Windows-based cost estimating software products for use in the construction industry.

• WinRACE: Rapid Access Cost Estimating for general construction and process plant construction.

The more common features most computer estimating software have include:

• Databases for unit cost items such as worker wage rates, equipment rental and material prices. These databases can be used for any cost estimate required.

• Databases of anticipated productivity for various components types, equipment and construction processes.

• Import utilities from computer aided design software for automatic quantity-take-off of components. Alternatively, special user interfaces may exist to enter geometric descriptions of components to allow automatic quantity-take-off.

• Export utilities to send estimates to cost control and scheduling software. This assists management of costs during construction.

• Version control to allow simulation of different construction processes or design changes for the purpose of tracking changes in anticipated costs.

• Provisions for manual review, over-ride and editing of cost elements resulting from the cost estimation system.

• Flexible reporting formats, including provisions for electronic reporting rather than simply printing cost estimates on paper.

• Archives of past projects to allow rapid cost-estimate updating or modification for similar projects.

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Responses

  • linda puddifoot
    What are the features planning and estimating software?
    1 year ago
  • mandy
    How are Computerised data Estimating systemes used in activity time estimation?
    3 months ago
  • riku
    What is computer cost aided estimating?
    21 days ago
  • otho
    How does computer aides cost estimating?
    14 days ago

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