Estimation Technology for Construction Recap

Stewart Carroll, Michael Boren, and Tyler Barron attended the 2016 Estimation Technology for Construction event in San Francisco this week. Stewart wrote a brief recap of the event.

Earlier this week about 300 preconstruction professionals came together at the Estimation Technology for Construction conference in San Francisco. This was the inaugural event of this conference and from the popularity, interest, and relevance of the agenda I suspect this conference will continue to be a major draw in years to come. Major topics covered during the conference included the evaluation and implementation of technology, the challenges and successes of a pure 3D world for preconstruction, and working in a hybrid world.

Michael Boren discusses the need for technology advancements in preconstruction.
Michael Boren discusses the need for technology advancements in preconstruction.

As a vendor who attends a fair number of these events, this event was well put together, the presentations were on topic and highly relevant, and overall this was one of the best industry conferences we have seen put together in a long time. One of the challenges with many industry events is that speakers focus purely on successes. This conference had some of that but also had a lot of discussion around what companies had tried and what the challenges were from people, processes, technology, and data perspectives. It was refreshing to hear how people were making changes and most importantly why. In speaking with many other attendees the sentiment was very positive towards this conference and everyone I spoke to had takeaways from the event.


My takeaway was that the world is changing. Project owners are seeking more insight into the ramifications of their decisions from a cost perspective and, as such, both general contractors and architects are trying to provide this. Technology is available to assist with this; however, people are not used to using it. Our processes are time consuming and the current inefficiencies associated with our processes needs to change. That said, it was refreshing to hear companies wanting to deliver more value and recognizing that our tried and true processes need to change and evolve.

DESTINI Estimator 2016 2.0 is Here!

DESTINI Estimator 2016 2.0 is now more robust with industry requested features. The next generation estimating platform now has a takeoff view that allows users to obtain quantities from both 2D and 3D documents. Additionally, the latest release integrates with Navisworks! All of the new features are listed below:

  • Takeoff View: A new takeoff view is available that will allow users to obtain quantities from both 2D and 3D documents.
  • Navisworks Property Filtering (white listing): To reduce the amount of unnecessary data that is displayed to the estimator, DESTINI Estimator has a white list functionality that allows users to specify only those properties that they will want to interact with when consuming Navisworks models for their 3D quantity takeoff.
  • Quick Access to Previously Used 2D and 3D QTO Documents: DESTINI Estimator provides a quick list of all documents that have been used to obtain quantities for an estimate.
  • Embedded 2D Takeoff: Users now have access to a fully integrated 2D takeoff platform. This includes the standard area, line, and count takeoff.
  • Ability to Tightly Couple Costs With QTO Objects: DESTINI Estimator goes beyond just mapping cost item’s variables to the properties of the 2D takeoff or 3D model. Once a line item or assembly is mapped to one or more items in the 2D document or 3D model a wide range of never before seen options become available. 2D takeoff objects and 3D model components now know about the cost items that are associated with them along with all of their properties. This means that if the user ties a concrete line item to an area takeoff object, not only does the area takeoff object know its price but the user can now filter their takeoff by any information that line item has access to like Uniformat or Masterformat classification without having to add any other information to the area takeoff.
  • Embedded 3D Takeoff: DESTINI Estimator can load a Navisworks .nwd file and quickly slice and dice the model on any information contained within that model so that the estimator can locate and quantify one or more components in the model and tie the costs in the estimate directly to whatever information they need.
    • Like the 2D drawings, each estimate has an unlimited number of 3D models that can be associated with it.
    • DESTINI Estimator can edit the information contained within the 3D model to allow the preconstruction team to compensate for inaccurate information or to better align the information in the model with how the team thinks about the project.
  • 3D Model Comparison: As a project progresses estimators are given new versions of the 3D model to reflect the changes in scope and definition. DESTINI Estimator has the ability to handle these changes by comparing the old and new 3D models and showing which components were added, modified, or removed as well as showing the effect on the cost items associated with those affected model components.
    • During this comparison, DESTINI Estimator goes into a review mode and allows the estimator to decide on how they would like each change to affect their estimate. DESTINI Estimator provides a set of innovative tools to allow the preconstruction team member to filter on each affected portion of the model, review the effect on costs for that section, and specify whether or not they want to keep the new updated value or revert to the previous value.
  • Highlight Rules: A new system has been added that will allow an estimator to color the rows in the Estimate View based on any criteria they would like. For instance, a user may want to color all line items that have been mapped to a 2D or 3D object blue and color all 0 quantity items red. There are an unlimited number of highlight rules that you can create and an unlimited amount of logic that can be put into each rule. The system even allows for rule priority so one rule’s color can overwrite another if it has a higher priority.
  • Reporting: With the addition of integrated quantity takeoff, the reporting functionality in estimator also has access to the quantity information which will allow preconstruction team members to create reports on their quantity takeoff.

Click the video below to watch an overview of DESTINI Estimator 2016 2.0.

Implementing DESTINI Profiler & Adapting a New Budgeting Approach

Matt Solomon, Estimator for McCrory Construction, uses DESTINI Profiler as a business development and cost-creation tool, having mastered the product “during nights and weekends” while traditional estimating job duties filled his days. In this webinar, Matt showcases three projects in DESTINI Profiler — from a relatively simple building to a complex multifamily property. In addition to a database comparison, Matt walks through each project, describing the amount of time spent creating each detailed 3D model and estimate, as well as lessons learned along the way.

Click the video below to watch the recorded webinar.

Examining 4D and 5D BIM Software Capabilities

This article was written by Richelle Fosu, a PhD candidate in the Computer Graphics Department of Purdue Polytechnic Institute, and published in the December 2015 issue of ‘The Journal of the National Institute of Building Sciences‘. The article compares three software products: Synchro Professional, DESTINI Profiler, and Vico Office Suite.

The Journal of the National Institute of Buildings Sciences - December 2015One of the first projects to successfully link primitive shapes to information stored in databases – considered the beginning of building information modeling (BIM) – was the building description system (BDS) designed by Charles Eastman in 1975. Since then, industry providers have developed various versions of BIM tools, and their continual improvement is evident in the BIM technology available today.

To read the entire article click here.

The Business of Culture

This article was written by Ali Bortolin, Relationship Coordinator at Beck Technology, and published in the February 2016 edition of Marketer.

SMP Marketer FEB16 coverIn my position, I deal with people from different cultures. Most often, I work with professionals in Brazil and South Korea—two cultures that may seem opposite, yet share similar business goals.

My responsibilities include developing partnerships with companies in other countries, managing our international partners, finessing our customer relationships, and selling our technology to people overseas.

Navigating Across Cultures

Managing an international presence from the United States can be taxing, but I enjoy dealing with the mix of cultures. Knowing there are people on the other side of the world that have heard about my company and are interested in our technology is intriguing. Where did they hear about us? What kind of value do they perceive our software to offer their firm? Additionally, it is interesting to notice the speed of information in the world we live.

For me, it is fascinating to discover the nuances between cultures and to be able to navigate those differences. It feels like a dance and, when the message comes across in the right way with the right intonation, the business deal is smooth.  I see how different ideas can become easier whenever we have a variety of cultures involved. People from diverse cultures come up with ideas you would not think of without interacting with them. It is a constant exercise to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Read more

How to Estimate the Cost of A Medical Office Building Using Conceptual BIM

This technical paper was written by Chris Wilson, a Senior Cost Manager with Cumming Construction Management, and published in the February/March 2016 edition of Estimating Today.

ASPE coverWhen someone is considering how to create a budget when they have nothing more than a napkin sketch, the easiest thing to do is go look at their historical data and multiply the area of the building times the average cost per square foot of their benchmarks. But later on, when the building actually has a design and they’re able to create a more detailed estimate, they know that it’s very likely that their budget has missed the mark either high or low by +- 20%. And they don’t have any backup to their budget costs to really know what trades are trending higher or lower. This is where they need to start thinking about different tools they can use to be able to provide detail at a conceptual level.

Read the full technical paper here.

Paving the Way for Preconstruction

This article was written by Stewart Carroll and published in the February 2016 edition of Construction Business Owner Magazine.

Walk into any contractor’s office in the United States and you can see immediately that it is definitely not your father’s construction business. On a recent trip to see a customer in Florida, the lobby had total stations, laser scanners, 3-D printers, drones and a hodgepodge of other “toys” greeting guests. The days of manually laying out a project or starting a project with 30-year-old drawings is becoming a distant memory. Unquestionably, our tools and processes are changing.

However, the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry is late to the technology table. The way other industries align design and scope with budget and production is by collaborating from the very beginning of the project. Our industry’s contractual models and business models have historically kept the disciplines apart. However, we have recently seen the contractual models requiring more collaboration, more give and take and more insight into the impact of a change on the scope, schedule and budget before the change in question is actually implemented. Projects are complex, and the logistics of collaboration can be overwhelming. However, the advancements in construction technology have led to innovative solutions. As the value of project insight earlier in the process has become more valuable to project owners, and as design and construction firms react, the role of preconstruction has increased. Read more

Upcoming DESTINI Estimator 2016 2.0 Features

Construction estimating handles a lot of 2D data but the trend of receiving 3D models is increasing.  Beck Technology has increased functionality in DESTINI Estimator 2016 2.0 to work with data from 2D drawings as well as 3D models.  This allows for more transparency, more collaboration, and helps retain new talent in the industry that crave integrated technology.

Stewart Carroll, Chief Operation Officer of Beck Technology, showcases the features of the new release in the video below.

DESTINI Suite 2016 1.0 Means More Robust Preconstruction and Estimating Software

Beck Technology, Ltd. announces the release of DESTINI Profiler 2016 1.0, DESTINI Estimator 2016 1.0, and DESTINI Data Manager 2016 1.0. The three releases are part of the DESTINI suite of products and allow users to take commercial construction projects from preconstruction through construction completion while providing cost and estimate information to manage projects more effectively.

This release includes updates for speed improvements as well as innovative estimating features that give estimators the ability to provide robust information earlier in the project decision making.  “Our suite of software is part of the general contractor’s paradigm shift to being part of the building solution,” said Michael Boren, Chief Technology Officer at Beck Technology. “The most recent new features of the DESTINI suite offer our customers more information, better flexibility, and in-demand functionality.  At Beck Technology, we really listen to what the industry needs in an estimating platform and are able to deliver that vision because it aligns with our goal to make the construction industry more efficient and transparent.” Read more