Construction cost estimating: popular tools

December 17, 2019
construction cost estimating tools

Ensuring that a construction project is staying on budget is a vital role for a construction manager. In order to accomplish this task, every construction manager needs to know how to estimate: if the initial estimates are not accurate, the downstream effects could jeopardize the entire project.

Fortunately, many tools exist that can be utilized to assist with construction cost estimating. Many of these tools are integrated with project management software, to incorporate cost estimation into any construction project.


Buildertrend is construction management software that includes robust estimating options. When creating a proposal, the software includes the option of uploading existing information from various partner programs or using a built-in template. Templates provide a starting point for a project – they provide pre-filled cost codes and descriptions, with the ability to modify those items. Quantities, unit costs, and percent mark-up are also easily modifiable. Built-in budgeting tools also allow for quick comparison between estimates and actual spending.


Esticom is a cloud-based construction takeoff and estimating software. The web-based application allows you to access project information at any time from any location. Another benefit of a cloud-based program is the ability for staff to view estimate information and make updates in real-time, while still having a single documentation trail. Esticom also includes material and labor databases with pre-built and customizable assemblies; labor and material cost calculations; and built-in estimate templates.


RSMeans Data Online is estimating software that provides cloud-based access to local costs for construction products. On top of standard estimate information, users can enter a zip code to pull together an estimate that is accurate for the specific location of a construction project. Using predictive analysis, RSMeans can project construction costs up to three years in the future. Also included is a built-in square foot estimator for large-scale projects.


GCEstimator and WinEst are two estimating solutions offered by Trimble. GCEstimator is a suite of software for estimating and takeoff, with WinEst being estimation tool. The software allows for multiple estimators to work on the one estimate at the same time. A flexible spreadsheet format is used for creating, adjusting, and presenting estimates. A history of audits for every item in the estimate allows for easy tracking of changes made, and estimate views can be customized for project-specific needs.


CoConstruct is a project specific for custom home builders and modelers. The program includes single-entry estimating, tying estimates to specifications, selections, and budget. It can also be integrated with QuickBooks. The estimate created in CoConstruct connects to the budget, and when integrated with QuickBooks, can provide “actuals and projected cost-to-complete”.

Capitol students studying construction management take courses in project management, accounting, finance, estimating, and management of field operations to ensure they are able to address all of the financial complexities associated with the field. 

To learn more about Capitol’s degree programs in Construction Management and Critical Infrastructure, contact