At Earth Calc, we’ve been in the construction game for nearly 40 years, and we were one of the first companies to use software for earthworks. We are often asked which software is the best. Should you use AGTEK, Trimble or Autodesk quantity takeoff software or something else?
To be honest, it really doesn’t matter. Each of these companies has developed quality software for the construction and engineering industries. While we typically use AGTEK, Topcon and Trimble, Autodesk quantity takeoff software definitely has its strengths. If you look at various online discussion sites, you’ll definitely see that it tends to boil down to personal preference much of the time and what you really need out of the software.
The main factors that you need to think about when purchasing software is the ease of use and cost. All of the software programs, whether it’s Autodesk or AGTEK have a learning curve. Fortunately, most of these companies offer training sessions, so you can get your team up to speed as quickly as possible. In some cases, such as with Autodesk, you will need to contact an authorized training center.
Using software programs, such as Autodesk quantity takeoff software, has many important benefits, including:
- Speed – Once you’ve been trained, using the software will be a much faster process than older methods.
- Accuracy – Mistakes cost money, and when it comes to accuracy, software programs definitely can help, but this is provided your team is well-trained and able to manipulate the data.
- Real-Time Changes – If changes need to be made, they can be made and shared in real-time and everyone on your team will have the latest plans on their smartphone or tablet.
- Machine Control Capability – Machine control substantially increases accuracy, safety and speed on just about any given construction site. Many software companies offer quality machine control programs that work seamlessly with their other software.
Keep in mind; we’re talking about integrated, cloud-based software. You definitely want to choose a software provider/system that allows you to work on many different types of tasks and software that can be used with smartphones and tablets.
AGTEK, for instance, has a huge suite of products. For instance, with Underground 4D, you create estimates for underground utilities, such as sewer and water lines. AGTEK also offers Sitework 4D, Materials 4D, Gradework 4D and much more.
You can kind of just pick and choose based upon your needs. Software companies such as Autodesk, Trimble and others also offer software suites so that you can do everything from estimates to machine controls and much more. Generally, speaking, it’s a good idea to find a company you like and stick with their suite of software products to keep everything seamless.
In general, some types of software are more suited to those large enterprise construction firms while others are better for mid-size or smaller businesses. In some cases, this is due to budget, but often a smaller company just doesn’t need the same level of software because their tasks are more limited and the scope is more limited. Additionally, most of these software programs work exclusively with Windows operating systems, so if you prefer Linux or a Mac OS, the software choices will be limited.
But, let’s get back to the issue of training. While software has a plethora of benefits, it’s crucial that the user not only understands how to use the software but also truly understands what they are reading and how to manipulate the data. In our experience, we have found that many people can make a good-looking model, but it’s not always accurate.
This is one of the main reasons to contact an expert and outsource some of your takeoff and earthworks. At EarthCalc, we have an experienced staff that has been using software and doing this work for more than two decades. We complete more than 1,300 projects annually.
Typically, an engineer might work on 1-3 projects per year and contractors perhaps 4-5 per month. Our team completes more than 100 per month, so we truly have the experience needed to complete projects quickly, and most importantly, accurately. In the end, accuracy is the most crucial factor.
We can handle any dirt estimates that you might need, and no project is too big or too small. We’ve handled smaller jobs but also huge projects, such as our work at Facebook’s Menlo Park facility or the Pearl Harbor berths.
Clients bring us in at many different stages of a project from planning to bidding or even to double-check a particularly large or complex project. We also can provide you with highly accurate machine control files, so once you win that bid and are ready to start grading, we can help.
While we can’t help you decide whether to purchase Autodesk quantity takeoff software or perhaps Trimble or AGTEK or Topcon or something else, if you need a dirt estimate or machine control files, you can send us work at any time. To get started, just click on the orange Send Us Work tab on our homepage.