Why Just Takeoff?
There is more to estimate compilation than just takeoff! There are also many "total solution" estimating programs that automate much more than just takeoff. Ziatek believes they simply fail to provide what the industry needs. A few illuminating facts are:
- The vast majority of estimators use generic spreadsheet programs such as Excel, Lotus, or Quattro Pro to compile their estimates.
- Spreadsheet programs are flexible, providing the user great latitude for customizing his or her estimating system. Once takeoff quantities are input, units conversion, price extensions, totals, etc., are instantly calculated and displayed.
- An abundant pool of prospective employees who are proficient with spreadsheet programs is available. In contrast, dedicated programs can be quite esoteric with few knowledgeable users available for hire. Training costs can easily be the largest expense involved in automation if the wrong program is chosen!
- Many high-end, dedicated estimating programs are purchased solely for their digitizer interface. It is not uncommon for a contractor to use his expensive, dedicated estimating program to perform takeoff, and then to process the rest of the estimate in a generic spreadsheet program!
- A major shortcoming of using spreadsheets for estimating, however, is their inability to perform takeoff!
- The industry has created a great need for a system that will automate takeoff for spreadsheet programs.
- Ziateks product line includes digitizer interfaces that can be used either as a stand-alone takeoff tool, or with powerful, dynamic link capabilities, feed takeoff quantities into any Windows program.
- Because the rest of the estimating process is readily automated, manual takeoff can consume 80% of an estimators time. Users of Ziateks Takeoff Software for Windows report a 4/5 reduction in the amount of time required to perform takeoff! Determining its value is a simple, academic exercise.
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