The Best Free Softwares used in Construction Engineering
In modern days, construction engineering has left the drawing board and went inside the computers and even in mobiles. Nowadays we use various software applications to design, draft, detail and render the architectural models and building components. These are basically one or more digital tools designed to help with the various phases of constructing a structure and increase efficiency, accuracy, and productivity.
Various software applications are available online which can assist with your construction project. From designing the buildings to cost estimating and even workflow management - these applications have endless uses. Granted that most of these softwares don’t come cheap. Most of the professional construction and architectural software are quite costly - either by monthly subscription or by a hefty one-time payment. However, there are some pretty nifty alternatives available that are completely free to use.
Since the use of software has become indispensable with the construction industry, and every manager wants the cheapest solution possible, let us have a look at what free construction software is available today and what are their uses.
A free web application for construction cost estimation and budget prediction, Estimate is also open-source, making it open to upgrade by the community. It calculates a project’s potential valuation, thereby projecting it’s probable cost. It can also report and archive all data about a construction project. You can manage your database of suppliers and clients and generate bills of quantity. You can also upload documents in it which for later use Estimate can archive or report on. Up to 200 users can operate this software simultaneously.
A scaled-down version of the On-Screen Takeoff, the Plan Viewer is a drawing viewer useful in cost estimation and performing takeoffs. The software can operate on PDF, JPEG and DWF files, and you can perform various measurements on them, including linear distance and counting. The software can also annotate the document by using texts and highlighters. However, the free version of Plan Viewer will not let you save your work.
This is another document viewing and annotation program. For estimation purposes, this software can come in very handy since it can perform markups and takeoffs. It supports camera rotation, multiple types of measurements, annotation and highlighting, and document calibration. Vu360 will let you export your work to Excel or XML files.
How cool would it be if there was one single cloud-based application connecting the constructor team hierarchy from top to bottom? Fieldwire enables just that. Connecting engineers to foremen to the workforce, this software lets you share blueprints and other documents throughout your construction team. Every endpoint user can add comments or photos to the project flow and it also supports scheduling. With Fieldwire, your team can track project progress by time, control quality and review inspections. This powerful project management tool allows users to use the punch lists, automatically links sheets, and to handle and distribute blueprints and much more.
Another great free construction project management software is OrangeScrum. It also comes with integrated support for task management and collaboration. Like the above, OrangeScrum will let you distribute necessary digital resources throughout your team and get responses on project progress. It comes combined with team collaboration and time tracker, alerts, and various kinds of charts and status visualization. Realtime project status updates are also supported by this application.
Interlinked to and derived from the Craftsman Book Company Pricing Database, iScope is a construction cost estimation software that is gathering popularity steadily. Targeted for small to medium constructors, the application can input images and photos and automatically calculate the costs of the project depending upon what dimensions you had selected. This nifty tool is also smart enough to project expected overheads and profits, and also allows you to define a percentage or amount margin. It can drastically reduce your data entry needs when estimating construction costs by using macros. You will be able to generate reports, cover letters and time-stamped footnotes.
There are other software and web apps available for construction engineers and architects that are free, but these six do stand out from the crowd for their effectiveness and potency support.