Being able to share estimating information with project management can produce some interesting results, allowing teams to integrate estimated cost information with actual costs throughout a project. Integration between the two critical processes can even lead to greater adoption of BIM (building information modeling) and IPD (integrated project delivery) in construction.

Trimble Navigation, www.trimble.com, Sunnyvale, Calif., announced another acquisition this morning, following a long string of acquisitions aimed at integrating estimating and project management and helping push BIM (building information modeling) to the field in new ways. Today, Trimble has entered into an agreement to acquire WinEstimator, a provider of construction cost estimating and cost-modeling software.

In the past seven years, Trimble has developed quite a portfolio of software through a number of acquisitions in the construction space. The company’s primary focus was originally on field-equipment technology and GPS solutions for construction—and still serves this space. In recent years, however, the organization has extended its reach to include software platforms for BIM, project management, estimating, and more.

In 2006, the company made a big move, announcing the acquisition of Meridian Systems, www.meridiansystems.com, Folsom, Calif., which now acts as an operating company of Trimble and provides project-management software. Following the 2006 acquisition, Trimble announced a number of other similar acquisitions between 2009 and 2012, including QuickPen for estimating for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) contractors, Accubid for estimating for electrical and mechanical contractors, Tekla for BIM, and most recently, SketchUp for modeling.

The addition of WinEst’s Modelogix will add a new solution to Trimble’s mix of software. Modelogix allows capital project owners and contractors to develop conceptual cost models based on a cost-history of data from multiple different sources. The system allows users to integrate past estimates and actual project costs to create an accurate conceptual budget.

The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter of this year. Trimble plans to integrate the technology from WinEst with the project-management software from Meridian Systems.

According to Trimble, the integration between Modelogix from WinEst and Prolog and Proliance from Meridian Systems will allow general contractors and owners to develop and manage construction cost information. The integration between estimating and project-management applications will enable greater adoption of BIM and IPD (integrated project delivery) approaches to construction projects.

This could be an interesting development, as estimating and project management could become more tightly integrated. Could this eventually push the adoption of IPD to even greater heights in construction?

Through the acquisition of WinEst, Trimble will be able to enable its BIM to field initiative in new ways. The acquisition will allow Meridian Systems to provide a greater range of solutions to general contractors and building owners, extending BIM and IPD even further.

It is interesting to watch Trimble’s approach to the construction market in recent years. The company is positioning itself as a complete BIM solution provider from concept through completion. With the addition of the conceptual estimating software from WinEst to Trimble’s portfolio, Trimble now has another tool in its belt to extend data from the early stages of a project out through production in the field.

For construction organizations, the construction technology market is shrinking significantly. Big providers such as Trimble and Autodesk, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., among others, are snatching up some of the smaller technology companies—and even not so small providers—in order to push the concept of BIM to the field in new ways.

The good news for construction teams is the acquisitions will likely mean more integrated processes from start to finish, as well as new ways to deliver information to workers in the field. But still the consolidation also indicates there are now fewer options in the market, and the vast number of acquisitions in recent months might be leaving many construction companies with more questions than answers about the future of technology in construction.