While some software developers address all members of the construction industry, ConEst Software Systems writes project management and estimating software for electrical, low-voltage and data-cabling firms.
The company's flagship IntelliBid is available in Lite, Plus, Pro and Design Build versions; Lite users can, as needed, add modules available in the richer applications. All four versions include a database of more than 100,000 electrical, data cabling and low-voltage material items with 45,000-plus pre-built assemblies. (The IntelliBid Feature List offers a comparison of the four versions.)
IntelliBid Lite provides all cost estimating tools on one takeoff screen. The database can be searched by item description, manufacturer's catalog number or IntelliBid's item number within takeoff or the manufacturers' database. The Quotation Analysis feature, also known as Best Buy, automatically reviews each vendor's quote and price and highlights the best quote, which then can be broken down by material, quote, equipment and sub-contractors, according to ConEst Software. Since IntelliBid includes a direct, online communication to a number of participating supply houses, electrical contractors have instant access to current pricing, the vendor said. In addition, IntelliBid includes Trade 3rd Column prices and lets users import their own vendor pricing into a custom-priced material database. Finally, labor units are tracked in six customizable columns.
IntelliBid Plus includes all the functionality of IntelliBid Lite and adds several features.
Smart System Technology takes estimating information, then calculates and compares data for accurate labor and material requirements.
IntelliBid Plus features built-in NEC tables and automatic adjustments to labor rates to enhance accuracy and efficiencies in labor and cost, according to ConEst Software. (NEC stands for National Electrical Code.)
The software's Smart Substitution feature, meanwhile, automatically resizes the installation -- for example, from EMT to MC cable or copper to aluminum conductors -- according to code requirements, using the NEC tables.
The application's Power Tools feature eliminates the need to factor labor units as an installation's level of difficulty changes. Instead, this electrical estimating software automatically calculates the correct labor rate, depending on the job's difficulty or skill requirements, according to the vendor.
Likewise, the Advanced Breakout feature lets a contractor automatically produce mini-bids for potential changes, such as adding or deducting installations, to a customer's original bid or contract. The software prices the revised installation based on the take-off, rather than unit pricing from assemblies; determines real costs with four price breakdowns; analyzes the average unit price; calculates the real price from actual costs, and generates add and deduct after-prices, according to ConEst Software.
IntelliBid Pro includes everything in IntelliBid Plus and Lite, as well as additional features that allow electrical contractors to target even the largest bids.
The Zonal Cavity Lighting feature calculates fixture requirements using foot candles, room dimensions, wall and ceiling color reflectants and fixture depreciation, according to ConEst Software.
This electrical estimating software also integrates with Accubid's CADtakeOff, meaning all material item counts and measurements are transferred from the CAD system into IntelliBid for estimating procedures.
IntelliBid Pro includes Temporary Assemblies, which lets estimators create an assembly for a particular installation in takeoff, which then can be deleted or added to the permanent database for potential use with future bids.
IntelliBid Pro's Change Order feature, which links to ConEst's construction project management software, JobTrac, allows estimators to create a cost estimate within an original document without opening and tracking a separate job. When linked to JobTrac, contractors can track and change the original contract. Just as IntelliBid Pro links to other applications, this electrical estimating software also enables multiple estimators to work on the same bid simultaneously without merging job files. Users also can access the software remotely using Citrix or PCAnywhere.
In addition to the capabilities of IntelliBid Pro, IntelliBid Design Build can calculate lighting requirements and electrical formulas, such as load, motor, voltage drop, and service and feeder calculations. The software includes current NEC tables to ensure precise calculations. Finally, integration with Autodesk's AutoCAD means that all material item counts and measurements can be entered from AutoCAD into IntelliBid, according to ConEst Software.