Lumber & framing hardware estimating can be a very tedious task, depending on the complexities of the project.Having an intuitive, complete system configuration in Planswift is the key to ensuring fast, accurate and complete lumber and framing hardware takeoffs. In this article, we'll cover some key points to consider.
Well developed lumber & framing hardware assemblies in Planswift can be some of the most complex of all of the trades. As with all estimating, the key to efficiency is using assemblies that allow you to capture as many required components as possible with 1 takeoff. The assemblies also need to have as much flexibility built into them as possible, allowing the user to make adjustments to tweak quantity calculations to fit their needs. For example, in our Bid Pro Framing plugin the wall framing assembly has a tab for each part in the wall. There are tabs for studs, top plates, bottom plates, blocking & bracing all of which allow the user to select the wood size and species, multipliers, oc spacings, individual waste percentages and a modifiable use description for each part in the assembly.
It's important that the assemblies are designed from the mindset of an experienced framer and or construction estimator and not a software developer. Actual work experience in the field ensures that the system is designed in a logical fashion and includes everything that's needed to perform a complete takeoff as efficiently as possible. There are many details that must be accounted for when it comes to developing an estimating system that is able to handle all ranges of project sizes and complexities. Without the proper estimating tools that are able to effectively handle all framing & hardware scenarios, estimating efficiency is lost. It's also important to be sure that your system is flexible enough to allow you to add or make adjustments to the tools as you encounter new estimating scenarios that you haven't dealt with before.
While our Bid Pro Framing plugin does a great job at generating detailed material lists, if you want to be able to generate not only the material lists but also a preliminary bid as well as a detailed final bid including a complete detailed bid report take a look out or Deluxe Framing Plugin.
Framing hardware, especially in large projects such as multi-family and commercial can be the most time consuming takeoffs. The key to making this tedious task as quick and easy as possible is having framing assemblies that also include hardware. For example in both our Bid Pro Framing and Deluxe Framing plugins, our floor framing assembly allows you to select 2 different hardware types (such as joist hangers) per floor joist and you can set a multiply factor per joist as well. The same holds true with our roof framing assembly that allows you to select rafter hardware in the same way. Our floor ledger assembly includes hardware as well, so you can select the ledger attachment hardware, set the oc spacing and set a multiply factor. These assemblies allow you to capture the required lumber and hardware in the same takeoff, minimizing the required takeoff time. Our plugin also includes a linear hardware assembly (both in a takeoff assembly as well as a drag and drop assembly) that allows you to capture up to 4 different hardware types in one takeoff, as well as a point count hardware assembly.
In addition to having the proper assemblies, the parts in those assemblies need to contain properties that are coordinated with report layouts that organize the material and labor items in a workable format. Most Planswift users that we talk to are only using the software to measure or digitize their plans and are using some other manual process to turn those measurements into material and labor quantities and organize them in the reports that they need, which is both time consuming as well as prone to human error. When configured correctly, Planswift can automatically do all of this work for you. All of our Planswift plugins come with custom developed report layouts that display all material and labor quantities in useable reports that are ready to print directly out of the software with no additional work required. It's the fastest, most accurate way to perform your takeoff and instantly generate and print or save your reports.
If you want to be able to create a live connection between your takeoff items in Planswift and any Microsoft Excel spreadsheet or workbook, Microsoft Access database file or virtually any other database file give our DBLive plugin a try. DBLive allows you to update your Planswift takeoff item properties with up-to-date data from your database file such "Cost Each", "Item Number", "Description", etc.
At Tradetek Plugins, we approach the development of our software tools from the mindset of construction professionals, not software developers. To learn more about process, check out our About page. If you have any questions, we are always happy to talk about your specific Planswift needs.