We received a call from an old friend and seasoned Sr. Estimator who was having problems importing an estimate to Sage 300 Accounting. Problem: All the estimated costs were interfacing correctly to the JobCost budget except one cost code's Labor. Some of the Labor costs and hours showed up, but not all. Cause: Exporting multiple units from the same Job Cost Code and Category AND those Items flagged in the Database to "Send Units to JobCost" . In this case it turned out that two different Items in the same JobCost Phase and Category were using different units of measure Masonry Powerwash using the unit "hr" (hours) Masonry Block Install using the unit "ch" (crew hours) Solution: Changing the Items to use the same unit, (in this case changing the Powerwash item from "hr" to "ch") BEWARE HOWEVER: WHEN CHANGING UNITS OF MEASURE, BE SURE THE NEW UNIT IS PRICED CORRECTLY ! (most times the new Unit should utilize a different price) This needs to be done manually by the Estimator Happy and Profitable Estimating! Cheers, BC Got a Construction Software problem? Submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll try to answer and post in an upcoming Digital DryShack
Another recent call we received on the same trip to Alaska was from a distraught estimator in Hawaii. It seems that he had spent five hours on an estimate the night before, and when his ssession crashed at the end of it, the estimate seemed to have evaporated with it. He looked manually where he was sure he'd saved it, searched in Estimating Explorer, all to no avail. The solution was simple though less obvious to many of us than we might care to admit. The solution, How to Find and Recover a Lost Estimate in Timberline: I found it by using Windows Explorer, (not Estimating Explorer), by searching the drive where estimates are stored for the first 5 characters in the estimate file name. Sure enough we found it in a different folder from that which he expected it to be, fully intact with its total just as he'd remembered before the crash, not a byte of lost data. (And 5 hours saved, not wasted!) Takeaway: Try the simplest thing first. When looking for a missing file, spend about 5 minutes max looking based on where you think the file is. Then cut your losses and go straight to [...]
I received a question from an estimator while working in Anchorage last week, common to all estimating systems. The process is the same, regardless of whether your company uses WinEst, US Cost Success Estimator, Timberline Estimating, or any other software we know of. Example: you've selected an item from the database, such as 3-5/8" steel stud partitions with drywall, and you'd like to change the unit of measure from square feet to lineal feet, and insert the productivity based on LF. You've opened the Detail screen to make the adjustment, but the unit won't change. Why not? The solution: Close the Detail screen, and change the unit in the Takeoff Unit column first. Then adjust the Takeoff Quantity and Labor Production IMMEDIATELY! By definition, those values must be incorrect as you've changed the unit of measure. First, change the Quantity based on the appropriate conversion between the original and new Takeoff unit. Then reopen the Detail view and modify the Labor Productivity for the new unit. In Timberline Estimating and US COST Success you won't have to close the Detail view to change the Takeoff Quantity, but you will in WinEst. In all three, the Labor Productivity can be changed on [...]
In the course of our day to day activities we work with a variety of estimating software, and On Screen Takeoff is one that we see often at client sites. OST is estimating system "agnostic", that is, it works just as well for companies using Excel as it does for companies using Timberline Estimating, WinEst, and US Cost Success. OST is an efficient takeoff utility, but I find some companies taking extra time with each takeoff because they don't know how to use some of OST's built-in time saving tools. Here's a couple tips that will save you time using On Screen Takeoff: Use Layers, and assign nearly all Conditions to Default Layer. Then create and use just a few additional Layers. I recommend creating "Layer 2" and "Layer 3". (I'm personally not a fan of Layers named for Interior Walls, Exterior Walls, and other Condition-based Layers). Then assign some Conditions to these alternate Layers, as needed to clearly differentiate elements when the Takeoff screen gets cluttered. It's an easy matter to switch the Layer assigned to a Condition temporarily to either isolate, or show its relationship to other current conditions. (Simply doubleclick to open the Condition, and choose a [...]
I had an urgent support call last week from one of our Montana contractors who use Timberline Estimating. Here's the scenario: It's Bid Day, getting down to the last hour before the bid is due. The system kicked them out of the estimate, and when they try to reopen the file, they get an error the message: "Estimate is open on another computer or marked as Read Only. Yikes! The good news is that this is easy to fix. Here's how: Make sure EVERYONE is out of Timberline, (both Accounting and Estimating). This is important if you want the payroll checks to be correct next Friday! On the file where the estimate file resides, (usually the Server), open Services, and stop both the Pervasive Services. Then restart both. This 5-minute procedure will clear the "Read Only" flag and allow the file to be reopned. With this simple procedure, Steve & his team were back up and running in just a few minutes, to close the bid successfully. The bid market is tough enough out there without computer problems! Let us know if you have a question, and we'll answer it for you and post it here.