Top 10 Construction Estimating Software in the Market

5 minute read
Blueprints and calculator to prepare a construction estimate
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Construction estimating is becoming increasingly popular for builders, contractors and tradespersons. While the construction industry was initially slow to move towards digital developments, construction companies big and small have begun investing in construction estimating software to improve their business capabilities and profit margins.

First of all, what is it and why do you need it?

Construction estimating software helps make the process of assessing the costs of a project easier and more reliable. It aids project management and gives construction professionals better insights into their project workflow. We know that traditional estimating practices can result in a higher risk of calculation errors, subsequent delays and unhappy clients. Reliable estimating software can help avoid these common pitfalls and ensure your projects are delivered on time and within budget.

Which software estimating program is right for my business?

The good news is that there are a wide range of highly rated estimating solutions tailored to the construction market here in Australia.

As a starting point, take some time to assess your business and identify your strengths and weaknesses. Are you a small, medium or large construction company? Or a sole trader? How many workers and/or contractors do you employ? What area(s) could be improved on? From here, you’ll be able to identify which type of software best suits your business needs.

Key things to look out for:

With many options in the market, deciding which construction estimate software best meets your business needs can be tricky. Here’s a list of important features to keep in mind:

  • Cost and pricing plans
  • Logistics
  • Usability
  • Cost comparisons
  • Instant takeoffs for adjusting estimates
  • Blueprint viewing and editing
  • All-in-one platforms
  • Deployment: cloud construction, web based or SaaS
  • Mobile access
  • Customer support and/or training


Make sure that the software program you choose is compatible with the other programs you use. For example, if you use Microsoft Excel for data collection, choose an estimating software that allows you to integrate your information between the two programs with ease.

Spoilt for choice? Here’s our top 10 recommendations:

ConX Measure

ConX Measure is an estimating tool developed by an Australian construction company ConX. The tool is completely online, with no need to download any expensive software. Users can simply upload their plans and start measuring on-screen in minutes. Customers subscribed to the team plan can collaborate on projects in real-time. An added benefit of ConX is the Tender Marketplace, where users of the estimating software get priority access to quote on jobs.

The product is intuitive, really simple to use and teaches you how to use the tools as you go. When you are finished measuring, you can export all of your measurements straight to an excel quoting template and download your marked-up plans to attach to your quote.  ConX Measure is a great entry level solution for tradespeople or small construction companies looking to dip their toe into moving towards digital ways of working.

  • Pricing: $40 per month on the unlimited plan.
  • Free trial: 14 day free trial, no credit card needed.
  • Number of users: One user on the unlimited plan. There is the option to upgrade to Teams at $60 per month for multiple user access.
  • Deployment: Web application.
  • Training and support: There is a free demo option on the ConX website. Live chat support is available from 7am - 10pm AEST.
  • Most suitable for: Small to medium sized construction companies.

iTWO CostX (RIB)

iTWO costX, formerly CostX, is a cloud based estimating software solution. It allows quick and accurate measurement from scanned, PDF and CAD drawings, as well as generation of automatic BIM quantities from 3D/BIM models.

Its applications include masonry, roofing, flooring, shop fitting, landscaping, structural steel just to name a few. The software allows users to measure lengths, counts and areas from CAD drawings and scanned documents.

A handy function is the rate library, which allows for a quick adjustment of rates across a major project, which will then adjust the whole cost of the project. The subcontractor analysis tool is also very useful for contractors to evaluate bids.

  • Pricing: Subscription model. Contact RIB directly for pricing information.
  • Free trial: No free trial or free version 
  • Number of users: Multiple users depending on the plan
  • Deployment: Cloud based
  • Training and support: In person or online training and webinars. 24/7 support online available.
  • Most suitable for: Professional quantity surveyors, residential and commercial construction companies, subcontractors and estimators. Suitable for companies large and small and also caters to international markets. 

BlueBeam

BlueBeam is widely popular due to its intelligent and user friendly software. It has a number of different user profiles that are tailored to showcase the various tools and functions. BlueBeam’s features are diverse meaning you can use it as an estimating takeoff tool, an estimating database, document control system and for cloud document storage.

Overall, BlueBeam is a great software option for large-scale detailed projects and is more-so tailored towards larger organisations.

  • Pricing: $525 - $900 per seat, per year (not including annual maintenance fee)
  • Free Trial: 30 day free trial 
  • Number of users: 1 - 10+ depending on the pricing plan
  • Deployment: Mobile, Desktop, Cloud 
  • Training and support: Options for self-guided or instructor led training courses. 24/7 support.
  • Most suitable for: Large sized construction companies 

CoConstruct

CoConstruct is a household name in construction estimation software, providing some of the highest-rated custom building and remodelling software. They offer a wide range of features including scheduling, communication, client and subcontractor management, file management, change order tracking, construction project management, and warranty tracking. 

Another benefit is that CoConstruct software allows you to streamline communication with your network and clients by offering email and text communication programs. Their software includes unlimited prospect and estimate projects, and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you're not happy with your service within that time frame, you can request a full refund. 

  • Pricing: $49 for your first two months. Packages then start at $299 per month.
  • Free trial: Demo only
  • Number of users: Unlimited
  • Deployment: Cloud, SaaS, web, compatible with iOS and Android
  • Training and support: Full customer service team and training coaches provided.
  • Most suitable for: Home builders and remodellers. Small to medium sized construction companies.

STACK

STACK offers takeoff and estimating software solutions which aim to speed up your bid process through easy-to-use features. It also allows you to collaborate with your team in real-time from any location. Their biggest selling point is that they offer both free and paid plans. They also offer student discounts for junior tradespeople still at university.   

STACK software is intuitive, user friendly and easy to manage.

  • Pricing: Free plan available. Paid plans start at $1,999 USD annually
  • Free trial: No free trials
  • Number of users: Varies from 1 - 7 per account
  • Deployment: Cloud
  • Training and support: Unlimited training and support (including free plan users)
  • Most suitable for: Everyone from junior tradespeople, sole estimators to small and medium sized construction companies.

CostOS

CostOS is a cloud-based and on-premise solution which aims to increase productivity and accuracy by bringing all estimating tools together in one centralized and synchronized location. It is a great option for teams who are working remotely as it allows for real time collaboration. 

The software allows multiple estimators to work on the same project at the same time from multiple locations. Key features include a cost database, bid management, customizable templates, subcontractor management and takeoff.

CostOS includes options for 2D takeoff, 3D BIM takeoff, GIS embedded takeoffs. They also have an Intelligent Assemblies Development Module which aims to reduce takeoff time by up to 50% and increase your estimating accuracy.

  • Pricing: Subscription model. Contact CostOS directly for pricing information.
  • Free trial: Both demo option and free trial available
  • Number of users: Multiple users allowed. 
  • Deployment: SaaS, web
  • Training and support: 24/7 live support. Training via webinars and online courses.
  • Most suitable for: Large construction teams who work collaboratively and/or remotely  


Planswift

Planswift joined ConstructConnect in 2018 who are the market leader of construction data software in North America. It is designed for commercial and residential contractors and can be custom tailored to fit a wide scope of trade needs. Their software allows you to import digital blueprints so that you can mark up the plans and measure quantities with ease.

Key features include accounting integration, estimating, takeoff, audit trail, and custom templates. The main drawback is that their software is limited to Microsoft Windows and they currently don’t have cloud or SaaS capabilities. 

  • Pricing: Paid version starts at USD 1,595.00 and is a one-time payment.
  • Free trial: PlanSwift does not have a free version but does offer a free trial.
  • Number of users: 1 per plan
  • Deployment: Windows
  • Training and support: Both available online. 1:1 custom training is offered at a fee of $300 for 3 hours.
  • Most suitable for: Small to medium sized businesses with a preference for Microsoft operating systems.

Buildxact

Buildxact is another Australian software company designed for specialized builders and trade contractors. It’s a cloud based application and can be easily accessed from your computer, smartphone or tablet. What’s most popular about this software is the ability to carry out quick digital takeoffs based on a 3D model. It provides a quick and easy process to cost up, quote projects and invoice clients without needing to look at an external costing solution.

  • Pricing: Varies between $149 - $399 per month
  • Free trial: They offer demos and the option for a 14 day free trial 
  • Number of users: 1 - 4 users depending on which plan you choose
  • Deployment: Cloud
  • Training and support: Local phone and email support provided
  • Most suitable for: Small builders and specialised tradespeople

Cubit by Buildsoft

Cubit is used by a wide range of users in the construction industry including estimators, quantity surveyors, builders, contractors and subcontractors. Their main application features include 3-D takeoff, price lists, job analysis, reporting and auto-revisions. You can also integrate their software with your BIM system if required. They currently don’t offer a costing application but this can be easily set-up by linking an external application via API.

  • Pricing: Plans start at $150+GST per month 
  • Free trial: They offer a 14 day free trial 
  • Number of users: 1 user per license 
  • Deployment: Web. Cubit is Windows-based software but can be run on a Mac.
  • Training and support: Cubit offer a weekly webinar free of charge. You also get access to short ‘how-to’ videos. Additional training is available at cost.
  • Most suitable for: Cubit has a wide range of options which can be tailored to the needs of sole traders, contractors right up to small and medium sized businesses and quantity surveying firms.

MeasureSquare

MeasureSquare is a cloud-based estimating and takeoff system built for commercial and residential contractors, designers, and takeoff estimators. The application allows you to share and work on projects with team members remotely. 

A useful feature is their “drag and drop” approach for assigning product and service items. It's also possible for you to duplicate rooms and copy floor or wall designs. MeasureSquare is most popular among commercial and residential contractors, designers, and takeoff estimators. 

  • Pricing: Varies by platform and plan. The annual subscription comes with a 20% discount.
  • Free trial: They offer a trial free for charge for up to 14 days 
  • Number of users: 1 - 4+ depending on which plan you choose
  • Deployment: Cloud, Saas, Web
  • Training and support: Support available during business hours and they provide training online via webinars.
  • Most suitable for: Construction companies specialising in floor planning and design

Conclusion

At the end of the day, there are some great options for construction companies big and small here in Australia. What it really boils down when it comes to selecting the most suitable software is the size of the company and the volume of takeoffs you will be completing.

For smaller construction companies, ConX Measure is the most suitable as it’s an easy to use, inexpensive solution which removes the need to manually produce takeoffs by hand. Moving to a much larger company set-up if you have a large budget dedicated to an estimating software look into Cost X, BlueBeam and Cubit by Buildsoft. These programs are best for teams of estimators and quantity surveyors. 

Find out how ConX Measure can help digitise your takeoffs, estimating, quoting & ordering process today.

Get started with a free account in minutes.