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#007 QS Software Systems 💻

Updated: Oct 17, 2021

Hello friends 👋

I hope everyone is doing well and adjusting to the “new normal”. This week I want to talk about my experience with the software that I tend to use as a QS and I want to know what you guys are using too!

Microsoft Office: This is a pretty obvious one, I am sure everyone in the world uses Microsoft tools in some form or another. a) Outlook – Emails. Lots and lots of emails. Pretty self-explanatory at this point. b) Word – Used for reports, minutes and bid writing. c) Powerpoint – Presentations. Another self-explanatory one. d) PowerBI – A relatively new tool used for creating dashboards and pretty graphics. e) Onedrive – Love this – Office 365 gives you 1TB of free storage, I usually collect as much information as I can from textbooks to benchmarking data. f) Excel – Where do I start with Microsoft Excel. In my 3 or so years as a QS I have found Excel to be a wonderful tool and an absolute pain in the a***. QSs tend to use excel for everything and anything. And I mean literally anything. You will find that people are writing up reports in Excel … HAVE THEY NOT HEARD OF MICROSOFT WORD?!?! Excel is still used for most things including creating preliminary estimates, detailed bills of quantities, cash flow projects, pricing documents, and interim valuations. Everyone knows that Excel has limitations – i.e. it's prone to error, random crashes and loss of data. New tools are emerging every day which seek to move the QS workflow away from the excel environment. Despite this QSs and the construction industry as a whole seem to be very resistant to change and do not like moving away from what they know. This could be because they can’t be bothered to learn a whole new software or because they don’t have the time and the fee-earning pressure means they would rather use existing tools and dedicate that time to earning some money. I don’t know what the answer is but as many consultants and commentators have noted – the construction industry is ripe for technological disruption.

CostX: This is a tool that my firm has started using to remove some of the QS related elements from the excel environment. This is my tool of choice when preparing estimates for clients. CostX is an all-in-one tool for measuring off drawings and producing estimates. It’s quite a valuable tool because it allows you to link your measurements directly to a cost plan. Extremely useful for senior staff who have loads of juniors measuring for them. It allows them to directly check the work and amend quite easily. The software is not perfect, however, but I will do a detailed review in the future.

CATO (CAD Measure): Before I was trained on CostX I was using CADMeasure. I still use CADMeasure for quick measures as it's very easy to load up a drawing and take off some quick areas and lengths. With CostX on the other hand you have to set up a whole job hierarchy which is very annoying. Still a good tool to have nonetheless. There is an associated software called Causeway which allows you to link measurements and write up bills – but I have no experience with this!

ProjectWise – ProjectWise is a BIM repository that tries to contain all files relating to the project. When it works it's very useful and it helps bridge the gap between the QS and the project design team. ProjectWise has loads of add-ons so it can be quite pricey for small firms to utilise. Once it is set up it's relatively easy to use, but it's also relatively easy to cause issues. I was once on a project where I had to access and download some files, but I accidentally downloaded the wrong one which caused some sort of security breach … I like to think I’m pretty good with new systems but ProjectWise requires some base training just to understand how to navigate it properly.

That’s it for today folks, have a great week!

Interesting Links 📌

  1. 📚 Books: How to Build a Car – Adrian Newey – A really insightful book into the mind of Adrian Newey – the Chief Technical Officer of the Red Bull Racing F1 team. If you have any interest at all in racing, design and high stakes – please read this book.

  2. 🔉 Podcast of the week: Still on the theme of F1, this week I listened to Nico Rosberg interviewing Toto Wolff who is Team Principal and CEO of the Mercedes F1 team. Toto is at the helm of one of the most successful F1 teams ever and his approach to leadership, managing complex situations and decision making is incredibly interesting. You don’t need to be interested in F1 to watch this – if you like learning about geniuses and high performers, Toto Wolff is one of them.

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