Measurement Software in Construction

Keywords: development software, way of measuring technology construction, construction industry technology

3. 1 Introduction

The use of measurement software in building industry has focused on dimension and BQ since these two have been the predominant core activities of work. However, even as we are aware today, the utilization of computers can be employed to numerous different situations. This section will review the application form and top features of measurement software in local development companies. The common program functions of dimension software such as way of measuring, cost estimation, tender document planning, BQ preparation and the like will briefly defined in the first sub-chapter.

In addition, case studies of way of measuring software available in market whether local or foreign will be conducted in this chapter. This chapter will provide the key features or modules of the Microsoft Office Excel 2007, CATO Collection, BinaLink, Buildsoft, WinQS, PriMus-DCF and PriMus REVOLUTION in additional information. The positive or negative effects of dimension software on local engineering industry will be discussed and completed by few review analyses additionally. A listing of this section will be offered in the last section.

Questionnaire will be drafted predicated on this section to meet up with the last two aims of the research which will be the extent of measurement software application and the resulted effects from it in local construction companies.

3. 2 Application and Top features of Dimension Software in Local

Construction Companies

Measurement software were created and developed to assists the tasks and obligations of QS job in a structure companies with minimal time and higher precision. Software functions of way of measuring software enable to execute the next:


Measurement is the primary activity that any quantity surveyor partcipates in during the stage of tender planning. Curren (1987) advocates that computer can evaluate quantities automatically and it is more accurate compared to measurement done physically (cited by Lim and Ong, 2008). This goes to show the use of personal computers is vital to the number surveyor as it helps in reducing the time needed for taking-off quantities.

Cost Estimation

Ahuja and Campbell (1988) described that cost estimation is prediction of possible cost incurred for a proposed engineering project. It really is a complex process and has been referred to as both an art and also knowledge. Estimating is usually carried out by variety surveyor or estimator with respect to contractor with the try to forecast the sensitive total to be included in the BQ before submitting the sensitive. The purpose of the cost estimation is to obtain the expected cost of a project in varying degrees of accuracy at different phases of project. Cost estimating software will enhance the accuracy while estimating the building cost and verify the implication of preliminary cost design.

BQ Preparation

Computer systems are used to facilitate this process by automatically minimizing two times keying work and thus saving plenty of time. In term of BQ creation, Microsoft Excel is trusted for doing taking off and preparation of BQ. Traditional spreadsheet dimension sheet have the ability to reduce the burden of timesing and squaring as well as checking of the two steps (Hamid and Chong, n. d. ). BQ creation involves an extended and tedious process. Nigel (1978) has posted out eight major steps in creating a BQ as below:

  1. Measurement of Quantities
  2. Timesing and Squaring
  3. Checking of Timesing and Squaring
  4. Abstracting
  5. Checking of Abstracting
  6. Preparation and Checking of Draft BQ
  7. Preparation of BQ and Checking
  8. Final BQ

Tender Documents Preparation

The phase of planning of the sensitive documents is really important, as it can determine the terms of the sensitive procedure as well as the terms for execution of the contract. Kovari (n. d. ) observed that seven documents will be provided in sensitive documents prep and the format of it could be saved in to the storage area of the computer systems as shown below:

  • Advertisement for Bids (Notice to Contractors or Invitation to Bet)
  • Draft Contract including type of agreement, general procedures or basic conditions and special provisions or special procedures.
  • Statements of Work, Services and Tech Specifications
  • BQ
  • Schedule of Execution
  • Bidding Schedule
  • Approved Drawings

Project Cost Control

Cost control starts at inception, when guide prices or indicative costs will be required through the stage when an early price estimation is prepared and the sensitive process carried out by the companies through the ultimate completion and agreements of the final account for the job. The architect or engineer would want to consider alternative solutions that meet up with the client's overall seeks and objectives during the various stages of design. The number surveyor will offer cost advice for the comparative design solutions of the choice materials to be used and also advice on the cost implications of the look morphology and procurement. Cost control does not stop at sensitive stage but carries on up to the contract of the ultimate account and the issue of the final license for the works. Hence, cashflow estimating software permits volume surveyor record and calculates the particular date driven effectively and faster. Additionally it is providing an improved monitoring on the building process (Ashworth and Hogg, eds, 2007).


In practice, the agreement normally is to be paid by employed a sum on bill as the building work proceeds. Before the Architect issuing a license, quantity surveyor must make an interim valuation (Lian, 2009). Interim valuation can be executed utilizing the BQ programme as databases usually. The main items to be looked at when valuing the words area as following:

  • Preliminaries
  • Main Contractor's Works
  • Variation
  • Unfixed Materials and Goods
  • Statutory Fees and Charges
  • Nominated Sub-Contractors Works
  • Nominated Suppliers Goods
  • Fluctuation in Costs of Labour, Materials
  • Retention

Final Profile Preparation

According to Ashworth and Hogg (eds, 2007), nearly all construction projects lead to a final cost that is different to that decided by your client and service provider at commencement of the engineering works. The computation and agreement of the final development cost, the ultimate bill is usually of the most importance to both the employer and contractor. Therefore, get-togethers to the contract need to ensure that the ultimate account incorporates a fair valuation of the works carried out. Within lump total contract arrangements the purchase price agreed by the client at commencement will normally require modification for several issues including modifications, provisional measurements, provisional amounts, fluctuations, and promises. Thus, quantity application software will sort, store and analyse the capability and score the goal of time saving.

3. 3 Circumstance Studies of Dimension Software Available in Market

Anything and everything can be computerised nowadays. It is unavoidable that the sophisticated task of measuring quantities off drawings or taking-off has progressed into the digital world. ICT is becoming a strategic property for any company to deliver business improvement in the AEC industry. Hence, QS organizations are encouraged to use the computer to execute traditional tasks. The following are some measurement software currently used in the marketplace.

3. 3. 1 Microsoft Office Excel 2007

Microsoft Firm is a software company located in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft is ranked 15th in the world's top 500 companies and its own operating software has influenced 93% of the world's desktop personal computers since 1991. Microsoft Office software encompassing a collection of e-mail, word-processing, spreadsheet and display tools dominates 90% of the marketplace and brings in $9 billion annually as a 3rd of the company's revenue (Corporate and business Watch UK, 2004).

Graduate University (2010) explained that Microsoft Office Excel is a software application that offers three specific processes for taking care of data such as spreadsheet, databases or graphing. The primary feature, spreadsheet is a number crunching tool allowing for sophisticated calculations such as costs, budget, inventories or any job that is numerically focused. The database and graphing functions enable selecting, retrieving, observing and charting data that is included within the spreadsheet mode.

According Microsoft Organization (2010), Microsoft Office Excel 2007 is a robust and trusted tool that helps people analyses information to make more prepared decisions. There are the top 10 10 ways in which Office Excel 2007 can help users create spreadsheets and analyse, share and manage information more effectively as shown below:

Office Excel 2007 features the Microsoft Office Fluent interface to help users find powerful tools when users need them.

Import, organise and explore large data units within significantly broadened spreadsheets.

Use the completely redesigned charting engine in Office Excel 2007 to connect users' research in professional-looking graphs.

Enjoy improve and powerful support for dealing with tables.

Create and work with interactive PivotTable views with ease.

"See" important tendencies and discover exceptions in users' data.

Use office Excel 2007 and Excel Services to help show spreadsheets more securely with others.

Help ensure users or users' organisation use the most up to date business information.

Reduce how big is spreadsheets and improve ruined file recovery at exactly the same time.

Extend users' business intelligence assets because Office Excel 2007 provides full support for Microsoft SQL Server Evaluation Services.

3. 3. 2 CATO Suite

Causeway Solutions was established in 1998 to provide its customers throughout the uk with a range of competitive software products and services. It is a fast growing organisation currently employing in the region of 200 people and is the primary software developer for the building industry. From feasibility to final accounts, cost management pros are faced with ever before tighter deadlines in which to deliver accurate cost information (Causeway Systems Ltd. , 2008).

The CATO Suite has been developed with the close participation of the occupation and provides powerful support to the QS professional. The launch of CATO Venture is an chance to execute a step change in their business processes effectively to provide their staff with a QS desktop. The creation of BQ and cost strategies in a controlled environment providing information can be relied upon and used to create a data source for future jobs and importantly reports stated in a regular manor for clients (Causeway Systems Ltd. , 2008).

14 types of modules of the CATO Suite offer an affordable solution that can be managed and designed to company requirements are (Brochure of CATO Suite):

  1. CATO Full Contract
  2. CATO Management Contracts
  3. CATO Quickest
  4. CATO CADMeasure
  5. CATO Earthworks
  6. CATO Cost Planning
  7. CATO Cashflow
  8. CATO Report Register
  9. CATO Procurement
  10. CATO E-Tendering
  11. CATP Job Controls
  12. CATO Cost Management
  13. CATO Whole Life Costing
  14. CATO Rates

CADMeasure is a multi-purpose dimension tool that permits users to measure from electronic drawings with unprecedented correctness. It provides a simple to use CAD based mostly on-screen professional way of measuring facility, ideal for all sorts of measurement from the most complex 3-dimensional building thing model to the easiest sketch (Brochure of CADMeasure).

The features of CADMeasure are:

  • Easy to use through familiar draw down selections, toolbars and dialogues.
  • Local or network versions available with concurrent licensing.
  • Access to all or any non-editing AutoCAD orders during measurement treatment.
  • Comprehensive on-line help system.
  • Full Audit trail with automatically annotated drawing record.
  • Suitable for a range of different users including those involved with property, construction, manufacturing, medical and retail sectors.
  • Ability to store and record complete dimension history in line with design changes.
  • Dynamic hyperlink between measurement and pulling content.
  • Available both as a standalone solution as well as for use with existing installations of AutoDesk products including AutoCAD, MAP 3D and Architectural Desktop.
  • Drawing integrity maintained.
  • Improved dimension integrity via new XML extendable.
  • Supports distant software development for effective multi-user implementation and improvements.

3. 3. 3 BinaLink

Bina Link Solutions Sdn. Bhd. is a company developed by Malaysians who are familiar with local benchmarks and procedures with the aim of providing IT solutions to the engineering industry. The business founded by experienced workers of the engineering of the structure and IT industry. The business staffs have vast experience employed in consultants' and contractors' surroundings. They engaged themselves in the swift advancement of computer development and consumption in the engineering industry within the last two decades. The introduction of the company's programme is completed by vibrant and knowledgeable staffs that are conversant with the latest in IT (Bina Hyperlink Solutions Sdn. Bhd. , 2006).

According to brochure of BinaLink, there are 9 types of modules are:

  1. BinaLink BQ Module
  2. Binalink Tender Module
  3. Binalink CAD Measure
  4. Binalink Sensitive Comparison Module
  5. Binalink E-Tender
  6. Binalink Preliminaries
  7. Binalink Worksheets
  8. Binalink Improvement Payment Module
  9. Binalink Final Account Module

The BinaLink BQ Component is an enjoyable progressive system especially developed for use as an excellent tool for the preparation of BQ and building costing. It is produced by Malaysian experts on a familiar Microsoft Windows platform to suit a standalone or networking environment. In addition, it will be unique local working methods and affordable system (Brochure of BinaLink).

The key top features of BinaLink BQ Module are:

  • Standard BQ Libraries
  • Mutiple Column BQ up to 3 columns
  • Lump Amount Bills
  • Project Conclusion Reports
  • Direct Way of measuring Method
  • 2 Dimensional Worksheet Measurement
  • Formula Worksheet Measurement
  • Rebar Worksheet Measurement
  • Flagging Studies for Sub-total Quantities
  • Resource Reports
  • Built-up Rates with resources, price and learning resource databases
  • Mark-up Reports
  • Gross Floor Area Way of measuring for Elemental Cost Analysis
  • CAD Measurement Facilities with Direct Linking to Worksheet (Optional)

3. 3. 4 Buildsoft

Buildsoft is an Australian company with its hq in Sydney. Buildsoft was set up in 1985 to develop and market software applications for the building and development industry. The company staffed by an enthusiastic team with a long time of practical experience in the building industry. In Australia, its products became the industry standard and today exported to 20 countries. The company have a go for network of accredited overseas distributors and over 5000 worldwide users. Because of this, Colleges and TAFE schools in Australia as well as chosen Universities throughout Asia and the United Kingdom are educating its products as the accepted standard (Builsoft, 2009).

Products available are:

  • Offsider Estimating
  • Global Estimating
  • Subbies Comparison
  • On-Screen/Digitizer Take-off
  • Digitizer Board
  • Scale-Link USB
  • Maths Mate

Buildsoft Global Estimating can be an estimating programme that has been customized for commercial use in the building and engineering industry. BQ or thorough Estimates and Cost Plans will be produced. It designed generally for use by commercial building companies and professional volume surveyors. It is also including features which ensure it is found in other industries where estimating is necessary.

The main top features of Buildsoft Global Estimating System are:

  • BQ
  • Composite Rates
  • Libraries for Explanation & Rates
  • Tendering Function
  • Multi-level Mark-up Function
  • Estimating Functions
  • Job Analysis
  • Cost Analysis
  • Quality Analysis
  • Measurement - Computation Sheet
  • Interim Valuation/Progress Claim
  • Tender Contrast System - SCP Module
  • Buildsoft REMOVE System (BTOS) - CAD Dimension Module
  • Buildsoft Online Tendering System (BOLTS)

3. 3. 5 WinQS

Advanced Cost Engineering (AEC) Solutions cc was made in June 1996. It really is involved in the system design, the marketing and the support of the WinQS system which, over a decade is continuing to grow to be the most widely used QS system and got more than 3000 qualified systems installed in Southern Africa as well as internationally nowadays. The WinQS software is continually being upgraded and new modules written to provide alternatives for quantity surveyors and companies. WinQS offers a complete QS system with on-screen take-off aspect, It provides an ease on pricing scheduled to multiple pieces of price may be stored for every project and be copied, multiplied and choose for use in Charges production, estimating, valuation and others. The system top features of WinQS will be shown in Table 3 (WinQS, n. d. ).

WinQS is a complete QS system for:

  • The Creation of BQ Documents
  • The Creation of Quotes Documents
  • The Calculation of Regular Valuations
  • The Cost Evaluation of a Project
  • Joint Building Contracts Committee (JBCC) 2000 Certificate Module
  • Contract Price Modification Calculations
  • Tender Analysis
  • Financial Review
  • Costs Reports

Table 3: The system top features of WinQS (WinQS, n. d. )

3. 3. 6 PriMus-DCF and PriMus REVOLUTION

ACCA is the Italian leader in the Building Industry Software. ACCA is a reference point in the field now to covering an unparalleled range of solutions and distributing the programs which are the standard for the industry. Founded in 1989, ACCA grew quickly thanks to its products, well-known for their usability and their firmly innovative inspiration. This company is ISO 9001:2008 quality management system certified. Therefore, the company framework will ensure to boost constantly the techniques and activities interacting with customer's needs and satisfaction (ACCA software, n. d. ).

PriMus-DCF is the BQ software for working straight with Internet Explorer. It is more transparent, nearer to your natural and standard way of working and considering, and therefore easy to control with the EVERYTHING YOU See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) school of thought. The File Computation Format (DCF) standard presents a trend in the building software world commencing the essential data sharing strategy. Users can simply transmit BQ and quotes documents and everything in users' document will be within one unique data file, no heavier repository structures but just a small size compressed file. With PriMus-DCF, everyone can start a DCF document and work on it openly (ACCA software, n. d. ).

According to ACCA software (n. d. ), PriMus REVOLUTION allows integrated development and handling of most estimating or job management documents, modified with the latest regulatory rules with the automatic generation of:

  • BQ (forecasts, ensuing costs, work variance surveys, final accounting, quantity estimates, demands for proposal, labour incidence estimate, etc. )
  • Measurement Book
  • Accounting Register
  • Cost Summary
  • Work Improvement Statement
  • Payment Certificate
  • Steel Encouragement Pubs Requirements Book
  • Price Lists
  • Comparison Stand (for work variance surveys, assessment of work progress statements, contrast of multiple design assumptions or proposals, etc. )
  • Weekly Lists of Individuals, Equipment and Costs
  • Forms (completion of works, beginning of works, suspensions, resumptions, execution, etc. )
  • History Management

3. 4 Effects of Way of measuring Software on Local Construction


According to the conducted study of Lim and Ong (2008), the dimension software continues to be not broadly use or completely utilised in calculating quantities for prep of BQ or other scope usages in local structure industry although most of the companies own it. Predicated on the opinions from the review, the common problems associated with dimension software are:

  • The use of such software requires learning and keeping in mind many procedures
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Need to teach new staff to utilize the software

Using measurement software to take-off variety requires the taker-off to execute transferring of natural quantities from one software into another either digitally or personally to produce the quantities in the BQ format as compared to the manual method. Newer technology is being developed which allows seamless transfer of volumes from measurement software to the customised software for the prep of BQ. However, not all measurement software has the complete package of measuring and BQ creation software.

Most of the companies which using the measurement software would have to spend money and time to teach existing and new personnel to use the program before it can be utilised efficiently. The necessity of training also indicates that the training of quantity surveyors has not focus on this skill, as it has never been required. Nevertheless, a change to the education curriculum is necessary to produce QS graduates that are skilled in using dimension software now. The study also noted that it's difficult to check the measured amounts if the way of measuring is performed by using measurement software if weighed against the manual method. In fact, only staffs that are skilled in using it would be in a position to check the volumes easily.

Besides, the review also attempted to determine the features of measurement software as the next:

  • Higher accuracy
  • Ease in editing the measurement
  • Increase velocity of measurement
  • Easy to measure
  • Reduction of Workforce

Most of the firms arranged that utilising measurement software in dimension of amounts produces high correctness. Measurement of volumes straight from digital format drawings cleans away the necessity to reproduce drawings in writing. Wheeler (1992) explained that duplication of drawing on paper will certainly reduce the accuracy of the drawings and measurement scaled from newspaper will further erode the accuracy and reliability (cited by Lim and Ong, 2008). Addititionally there is eliminated to faults due to real human error in reading the sizing off scale guideline and saving the dimension on paper or spreadsheet record.

Measurement software permits easy digital editing of quantities measured. It is because it covered function such as block, entity area, backup, paste, delete and undo as any other software that accomplish the editing process. In addition, application of measurement software will escalates the speed in measuring quantities when compared with manual method. This is due to the ability of the software to generate quantities. Recollection of computer also allows a program of instruction preserved and transforms it into fully automatic, after that it simplifying the works.

Finally, workforce required to measure volumes could be reduced by using dimension software. Most QS businesses have reduced the number of technological assistants specialising only in measurement of quantities in keeping practice. By using technology, the way of measuring work is now easier and faster however the skill needed in addition has evolved to a higher level consequently.

3. 5 Summary

This chapter is approximately the current software and top features of measurement software and its impact on the building industry. Because of many business techniques are actually almost completely computerised and the trend is toward a larger computerisation of the rest of the processes, there might be a market in the use of dimension software for QS to carry out the works such as dimension, taking-off, BQ development, etc. more efficiently and speedily. This research also found that Microsoft Office Excel 2007, CATO Suite, BinaLink, and Buildsoft will be the common and popular way of measuring software have been used in local market.

Although there are range measurement software provided on the market and adopted in building companies, this research discovered that QS is apparently mostly of the professions that contain not been profoundly altered by the application of the technological progress proposed by digital trend especially in a producing overall economy like Malaysia. The largest impact of measuring software on QS practice had been on enhancing the quickness and efficiency of professional services. Information flows in development would increasingly be made electronically and a variety of measurement, estimating and costing procedures also would be done through the use of software programs.

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