There is little to no doubt that contractors live and die by their estimates or bids. Estimates must accurately reflect all costs for a project, but this is no easy task. However, as estimating technology has become more innovative during the past decade, construction companies at the forefront of the technology revolution have reaped the benefits of their forward thinking through improved efficiencies and accuracy, as well as reduced cost and risk.

By moving away from physical plans in favor of digital blueprints, companies leveraging technology in their estimating workflow have become much more efficient. True to form, though, technology is not stagnant.

“Over the past decade I have seen more of a need for an estimating system to do more than just costing,” says Jeff Gerardi, president, ProEst, www.proest.com, San Diego, Calif. “It must indeed put together detailed cost estimates, but at the same time give the ability to perform digital takeoffs and analyze an estimating department’s workload and success rate.”

According to Gerardi, solutions that create accurate estimates more quickly, which also give companies the ability to review and analyze historical data, can help organizations improve their business in the long term.

Gerardi’s customers that use ProEst 2013—a solution that integrates costing, digital takeoffs, and has the ability to analyze estimates—benefit from preset templates that include all the elements needed for a complete estimate. He says this method helps clients ensure nothing is missed on bid day.

To get clients onboard, Gerardi says the company is positioning its estimating solution as a one-stop shop: “Our latest offering, ProEst 2013, combines cost estimating, digital takeoffs, and estimate analysis in a single solution, all stored in a single SQL database. There is no longer a need to purchase multiple products from various companies to obtain all of these preconstruction needs.”

What will the next frontier in estimating hold for construction? At this point it is anyone’s guess, but without a doubt the technology will continue to evolve in a manner that will help builders match the appropriate amount of automation with the job.