The Evolution of Construction Estimating: Efficiency in 2019

The days of construction estimating by way of spreadsheets and paper bids is mostly a thing of the past

In fact, analog calculations have been on the run since the 1980’s, it’s only recently that subcontractors started getting on board.

The construction industry has come a long way over the last 40+ years. This infographic from provides a brief history of construction estimating technology. Here’s the breakdown:

    • Pre-1980s: Estimating was done entirely by hand – and so was recording. On bid day, sub-contractors would fax or phone in their bids and estimators would write them all on paper.
    • 1980’s-1990’s: Spreadsheet software was introduced to help speed up cost tabulation. However, at the time, that type of technology was expensive (and companies were reluctant to change) so adoption of it was low.
    • Today: The internet and what’s known as “Software-as-a-Service” has provided many more affordable cloud-based technology options like Thunderbolt Pipeline; options that do more for subcontractors and estimators than just cost calculation.
    • The future: By 2025, Building Information Modeling is expected to take off, resulting in “faster and more precise estimates.”

Construction Estimating Efficiency in 2019

Estimator tasks like keeping up to date project calendars, calculating and submitting bids used to take days, but with the cloud-based technology of today the role of the estimator is changing.

      • Efficiencies in today’s construction estimating systems allow estimators to process more bids. Estimators might not even meet the GC or walk-through the job-site. There are less phone calls, in person conversations and personal relationships built today than years ago. So, it’s often the case that estimators can’t get a good gut feel for a project. Today, estimators can tap into something better than gut feel – data. Using software like Thunderbolt Pipeline an estimator can access historical bid data segmented by job type or GC to arrive at an estimate that is calculated with a competitive advantage.
      • Demographic changes in the construction estimating workforce are driving a push into software solutions. The Millennial work force is a generation that has used technology for their entire professional career. The precedent is set for them that information is just a few clicks away or can be when using the right tools. Construction companies recruiting this newer generation workforce are investing in digital solutions to take the place of old processes because they recognize information technology is native to the Millennial generation.
      • Construction estimating requires a lot of mathematics, but before an estimator can calculate anything the data must be gathered from a lot of different sources. Estimators are often pulling details from drawings, blueprints, and pictures of the project. Using cloud-based technology like Thunderbolt Pipeline, estimators have a single location to store and access hard copy documents or links to dropbox folders and invite to bid systems.

Implementing technology like Thunderbolt Pipeline will have you asking yourself why you didn’t do it sooner – and how you ever operated without it. As an estimator, being more productive and able to better manage your workload will only lead to a profitable, successful job every time.

It’s time to jump ahead to 2019 and experience everything  cloud-based construction estimating technology can do for you.



By | 2019-04-05T13:24:16+00:00 March 29th, 2019|Technology, Thunderbolt University|