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WinEst FAQs

WinEst is a powerful estimating solution for construction firms. The robust database is hidden behind an easy-to-use Excel-like interface so estimators feel right at home. With WinEst your team can do manual and/or virtual quantity takeoff, examine work at any point in time, create what-if scenarios, summarize costs per category (including mark-ups and indirect costs), add default labor rates and equipment costs, and create project-type estimate templates to help standardize your department.  Read through the FAQs below and feel free to ask us your own!

Q:  With Enterprise Data Manager can you compare different versions of the estimates to see how the costs have evolved and changed over time?

 A:  Yes, WinEst has a built-in estimate comparison report.  So it will allow you to choose up to two estimates and do a variance report that will actually show you how that estimate has evolved over time.  This video explains how to work with EDM.


Q:  When will Modelogix include mark ups generated on the totals page in WinEst not as net allocations?

 A:  Today, we build models off of gross dollars, not net dollars, so when you bring a cost model into Modelogix today you would bring in your gross dollars which would be your direct cost plus your indirect and model off of those numbers.  At some point in the future you will have a markup capability that will also be part of the Modelogix software.

Q:  Who has made all of the assemblies?  Who developed them?  Are they ready-made assemblies already incorporated in WinEst or can the user make their own assemblies?

 A:  We offer a whole library of databases.  Some are WinEst developed databases with assemblies.  We also offer countless RS Means data.  And think of those databases as a starting point: while they are pre-configured as assemblies, it is assumed that you arere going to modify them.  You can modify an existing database and you also can create a completely new database from scratch if you choose.

Q:  Does WinEst have an integration with 3D takeoff software for earthwork or site work?

 A:  We don’t have a built-in integration there.  We are familiar with those tools from the general contractor’s perspective… we work with that cut and fill package to end up with a volume or total number of cubic yards of cut or total volume cubic yards of fill.  And so you’re really only talking about transferring over a couple of numbers to WinEst.

Q:  Are there Metric dimensions available throughout the program?

 A:  Yes, in any estimate simply right mouse click the takeoff quantity column or the takeoff unit cost and one of the options is to convert to Metric units.

Q:  While you are in the sheet view how do you get the grand total row in green along the bottom?

 A:  Each spreadsheet and each filter gives you complete control over colors and font.   The filter gives you not only control of the sorting and sequencing, it also gives you complete control of the look and feel of that filter.

Q:  Can you add a note or a memo to a full assembly or just one item at a time?

 A:  You can go to that sheet view and add a note and do it on the assembly level and get a little yellow sticky pad on the assembly header.   You can put the notes on any row in the spreadsheet.   Also when you are doing an assembly takeoff you can apply a note.

Q:  Will a variance report be created to compare two estimates in WinEst at a summary for example by heading structures?

 A:  Yes, and when you select two estimates to compare there is a third option which answers your question.  You select the two estimates to compare and then you can select from any of your pre-defined filters to do that comparison.  So you can actually do a very nice comparison at a summarized or rolled up view.

Q:  I noticed blank line items in the spreadsheet. If an item is in an assembly with zero quantity will it always show up on the spreadsheet?

 A:  No, that’s an option. You can choose to generate zero quantity items from the assembly or you can choose not to do that.

Q:  You had mentioned that WinEst items can support multiple work breakdown structures. However, in past versions of WinEst a base WBS tree was required to organize and manage items in a WinEst database.  Is this still the case or can the WinEst database support multiple WBS trees?

 A:  The database is organized by a hierarchical structure.  But WBS codes have been added to the product so you can frontload the items in the database with additional work breakdown structures. When you go to do your takeoff you can use your three level breakdown, four level breakdown… But because those items can come into an estimate pre-loaded from the database with those work breakdown structures, there might be some filters that are in my estimate that are already designed to take advantage of those work breakdown structures that are assigned to the items in the database. Meaning I don’t have to assign those work breakdown structures as I’m doing the takeoff. They were already in the database and they are already there for me to organize my estimate.

Q:  What can WinEst do to provide line by line estimate comparisons between alternates or locations within a given estimate?  What about line by line comparisons between different estimates?

 A:  WinEst includes a comparison report that will show you variances at any level of detail you choose just by selecting a couple estimates and telling the system which filter you want to use to perform the comparisons.

Q:  When you export the estimate information into MS Project or Primavera I noticed that dates are exported for each activity. How is this done if no dates were included in WinEst?

 A:  Simply select a project in either MS Project or Primavera and import the template list of tasks and activities into WinEst.   If you template import contains dates for those activities, you can estimate to that scope of work and push that information back to MS Project or Primavera. Watch the video below to see how we export to Primavera or MS Project for scheduling…

Q:  What are the possibilities of linking to BIM models to extract quantity takeoffs?

 A:  DesignEst Pro links WinEst to a Revit model.  We provide an environment that allows you to take your object and property library associated with a Revit model and associate it with your estimating database of items and assemblies.  We build that relationship and then every time we encounter that object ID, family name, etc.,  we know what assembly in WinEst that object is associated with and we can generate the takeoff automatically.

Q:  Can a single line item have a different job cost code assigned to the labor and material?

 A:  Today, it’s a single job cost code. However, you can create a work-around with the user defined fields that ride on an item record. So you would use some of the other user defined fields to assign a different labor cost code vs. the material cost code.

Q:  What database management capabilities does WinEst have to record or manage historical cost data?

 A:  We have an extremely powerful, unique tool to manage your historical cost data called Modelogix. You can watch a webinar on Modelogix or read through its own FAQs to learn more.

Q:  Can you carry out subcontractor comparisons using the system and then feed them into the estimate?

 A:  WinEst does allow you to update the WinEst spreadsheet from an external source like Excel so you can update the estimate with those selections done outside the system. In fact, it’s possible to take an entire estimate that was in Excel and bring it into WinEst and turn it into a WinEst estimate.

Q:  Is there a price adjudicator view for comparing and selecting subcontractor and material quotations?

 A:  We have a material price grid and we also have a subcontractor quote grid. You can enter any number of subcontractor quotes and then you can organize those quotes from low to high.  And then whichever sub that you select in that grid is the sub by name and price that will show up on the spreadsheet.  But whichever sub you select it will use that number and name to populate the spreadsheet and the same kind of grid is true for material quotes.

Q:  Are the production rates standard in WinEst? How reliable are they and where is the information coming from?

 A:  RS Means data comes from McGraw-Hill research.  It gathers that information about productivity rates and pricing and stores them in the database.  They do that through research across the country and city by city.  We encourage users to replace values in the WinEst library with their own information.  This is where your company’s IP really shines and adds tremendous value.  This video shows how you can organize the labor rate tables and equipment rate tables in WinEst…

Q:  Are the licenses rented per year or are they bought and what are the maintenance costs if any?

 A:  They are all done on a perpetual license basis and the maintenance cost is 18%.

Q:  When different estimators are working on different pieces of the estimate simultaneously what are the permission levels according to users?

 A:  We really only have two permission levels. We have an administrative user and users with user IDs. But the way the system works is if I have 4 people working on an estimate, first of all they have to have permission to even get in to the estimate.  If they have permission to access that estimate and they are adding items or assemblies to that estimate — even though the other users can see those items and assemblies in the estimate — they are locked down to that individual user that contributed them to the estimate.  If I want to give someone else the ability to change or manipulate those items, I would need to change the ownership of those items to another individual who has access to that estimate.

Q:  What are the main advantages of Master INI and config files?

 A:  We can do some nice things with the config file.  For example, a company can customize the toolbar and filters.  We can also make certain our reports look the same.   It really allows customers to manage the way people work and operate with WinEst across an enterprise.

Q:  If you were to name one or two advantages of using WinEst vs. Timberline or MC2 what would they be?

 A:  If I were buying two licenses or fifty licenses one of the biggest driving factors would be R&D investment… what have you done for me lately?   What’s very important when you’re talking about purchasing an estimating system and training your people — it’s a significant investment and you need to invest in a system that is going to stay current with industry needs.  Determine which vendor is responding to the market and determine which vendor is going to take care of you not just today but three years from now, five years from now.

Q:  When we go to measure quantities from a drawing does it always have to be on the initial drawing? What happens if we get a revision to that first drawing and we want to use the second drawing?

 A:  You can load as many drawings as you choose into either Virtual Takeoff the WinEst developed 2D takeoff tool and I know for a fact you can add as many drawings into OnCenter’s project as well. If you are using Virtual Takeoff there is a drawing drop down table and you can navigate to those different drawings and do your takeoff from any one of those whether it be revised drawings or the original.

Here are even more resources to help you learn about WinEst:

WebinarIncrease Your Competitive Advantage with WinEst Estimating

VideoWhat Keeps Estimators Up at Night?

ProductWinEst Estimating