Facets about the Products
There are a lot of software solutions for companies and firms who want to make a difference in the construction and building industry. Among those great software solutions, Build Soft and Cost X seem to be one of the top contenders and that’s why we are going to see what their strengths and weaknesses are.
First on the line is Exactal’s premiere software, Cost X. One of the greatest features you could expect from this product is that it enables its users to easily make 2-dimensional measurements without requiring CAD software products. It is also known for its compatibility to be used with BIM via digital design for accurate estimation of quantities and costs, from Exactal (n.d.). At first glance, this product may be the perfect software partner for a growing business.
Let’s tighten up the competition by listing some of the features Buildsoft has on its box. Usually, Buildsoft software products are used in Australia. However, due to insistent demands from subcontractors, TAFE colleges in Australia and other business owners, they expanded their software coverage into 20 countries, found on Buildsoft (n.d.). Buildsoft has a lot of products that could address both generic and specific tasks of a construction firm. According to Marren (2011), its capability to estimate accurately is one of the most recommended by its users. However, there are also some other specialized features that they might boast about such as the digitizer boards, offside estimations, global estimations, etc.
Technological advance of Build Soft and Cost X
Exactal, the owner of the Cost X products was established in the year 2003 as simple estimation software from the construction industry only. Cost X was July 2004; almost a year after Exactal was established.
The story of Buildsoft is unique in its own way. Buildsoft was established earlier compared to Cost X. It was founded in the year 1985 as a developer of software for computers that are being used for the construction and building industry. Across the years, Buildsoft was able to successfully develop different products from easy to learn systems customized for subcontractors and smaller-scale construction businesses up to the complex and comprehensive software products for large-scale commercial construction companies that usually user multi-user network features. As years passed, Buildsoft products became known for their ability to make it easier for construction firms and surveyors to make their take-off through logical procedures and interventions.
New Products of Cost X and BuildSoft
With years of experience and research, Cost X was able to generate a wider diversity of products. Cost X, Cost X 2D, Cost X Takeoff and the most complex of them all, Cost X Takeoff 2D.
On the other side, Buildsoft was also able to formulate more complex estimating software solutions for construction firms and are listed as follows: Offsider Estimating, Global estimating, Subbies Comparison, On-screen or Digitizer take-off, Digitizer Boards, Scale-link USB and the Maths Mate. All of these products contain very similar to very distinct features from one another.
System requirements and Features of Cost X and Buildsoft
Cost X System requirements (Techweb, 2011):
1. Windows 2000 Professional/Windows XP/ Windows Vista
2. CPU Speed with Pentium IV 3.2 GHZ
3. Network bandwidth at least 100 MB (1 GB recommended)
4. 256 MB dedicated Video Graphics card is recommended but not required.
5. At least 512 MB RAM is required (2 GB recommended)
6. 500 MB disk Capacity (10 GB recommended)
Perhaps the most remarkable feature that we could expect about Cost X is that it provides one of the simplest interfaces that an individual could find whenever he wants to transfer and extract dimensions from CAD files. Another thing about Cost X is that it allows its users to have joint building and estimation projects with other projects that are either created by them or by other users. So basically, it allows more room for brainstorming and sharing of new building ideas (SRD, 2008).
BuildSoft System requirements from BuildSoft (2011):
1. Windows XP/ Vista/ 7 (32-64 bit)
2. 1 GB RAM for XP and 2 GB RAM for 7 and Vista
3. CPU Speed 1.7 GHz
4. 128 MB Graphics Card (NVidia or ATI)
With regards to BuildSoft features, it boasts of an added functionality to formulate an accurate preliminary or a committed budget (BuildSoft, 2011). It is important for the estimator to know these values because prices could either increase or decrease easily even with the slightest change. Additionally, BuildSoft can be a very helpful tool for large scale construction projects because of its Critical Path Method Scheduling or CPM feature. It technically enables the user to see reminders and outlined scheduling of activities that needs to be done (2020 Software, 2011).
Issues about Cost X and Buildsoft
In general, both of these 2 competitive software solutions for estimating costs have the same issue that they need to face; the never ending issue about accuracy. No matter how integrated a specific softwaresolution is, the values inside it still cannot be changed easily, even with regular updates, especially with the fast rate of inflation and deflation increase these days due to economic factors. With this in mind, it would be wise to double check everything first, especially the price, before coming up with the recommended and final estimation values.
How BuildSoft and Cost X are relevant to the Construction Industry?
Without products like Buildsoft and Cost x, construction firms and businesses, most especially subcontractors who have budgeted resources, will find a hard time managing their finances and making both ends meet. It’s really hard to organize resources especially if you do not know how large your expenses could be. Additionally, these 2 software solutions are effective means for the construction industry to plan more effectively, therefore reducing the errors and risks that they may encounter.
Based on the idea about cost-benefit analysis of Reh (2011), talking about the price of a software product or any type of product should never be skipped. Some software solutions can cost a lot depending on the type of quality and functionality they could employ. With regards to the capabilities of both Cost X and Buildsoft, it can be safe to think that the benefits far outweigh the costs although acquisition of Buildsoft products are not very recommended for smaller scale construction firms because of their slightly higher prices compared to Cost X.
Andrew Marren, 2011. Testimonials. Building an industry from the ground up. Available at: <http://www.buildsoft.com.au/content_common/pg-testimonials.seo> [Accessed August 2011].
BuildSoft, n.d. Company Information. [Online] Available at: <http://www.buildsoft.com.au/content_common/pg-company-information.seo> [Accessed August 2011]
Exactal, n.d. Company. [Online] Available at: <http://www.exactal.com/company/about> [Accessed August 2011].
Exactal, 2011. Cost X System Requirements. [Online] Available at: <http://techweb.exactal.com/resources/printarticle.php?mod_app_name=incidents&article=105&URL=http%3A%2F%2Ftechweb.exactal.com%2Fknowledge%2Farticle.php%3Farticle%3D105&hidden=1> [Accessed August 2011].
Buildsoft, 2011. Buildsoft System Requirements. [Online] Available at: http://www.buildsoft.eu/en/faq[Accessed August 2011].
J. Reh, 2011. Cost Benefit Analysis Example. [Online] Available at: <http://management.about.com/cs/money/a/CostBenefit_2.htm> [Accessed August 2011]
SRD, 2008. Cost X Detailed Features. [Online] Available at: <http://www.srd.com.hk/costxdf.htm> [Accessed August 2011]
BuildSoft Pro, 2011. BuildSoft Detailed Features EBook. [Online] Available at: <http://www.buildsoft.com/features.asp> [Accessed August 2011]
2020 Software, 2011. Constellation Homebuilder System – BuildSoft. [Online] Available at: <http://www.2020software.com/products/Constellation_Homebuilder_System_BuildSoft.asp> [Accessed August 2011]