Each year we release hundreds of platform enhancements, aiming to improve our customers’ experience and ensuring Countfire is ahead of the game when it comes to automated estimating.
In this blog, we take a look at our top stand-out features and improvements over the past year and explain how they can help you create faster, more accurate estimates.
Let’s start with what’s new in Takeoff, and one thing’s for sure - working with drawings is now easier than ever:
Compare and overlay drawings
Perhaps one of the biggest game-changing features we added to Takeoff recently is the ability to compare and overlay PDF drawings.
The comparison function essentially enables you to visualise differences between drawings with the original drawing shown in red, and blue showing your revised drawing. Any similarities are displayed in black which makes the differences stand out.
The overlay element, meanwhile, allows you to see drawings from different disciplines on top of each other. For example, you could overlay a containment drawing on top of a lighting drawing and see the containment routes so you can easily measure lighting cables.
Stitching multiple drawings together
Another handy and much-requested feature in Takeoff is the ability to stitch multiple drawings from the same discipline together to make a floor plan.
This helps to ensure nothing is counted twice and is particularly helpful if you need to exclude items from any overlapping floor plans when you draw out your zones.
Replacing PDF drawings and more advanced background control
As many estimators know, receiving revised PDF drawings and amendments when you’ve already begun your takeoffs can be frustrating. But thankfully, we added a time-saving solution to mitigate this - the ability to replace drawings within a takeoff.
Now when you receive revisions, you have the option to swap out existing drawings for their new versions, while keeping all underlying work and the structure of your takeoff the same. Very handy!
We also updated the controls available in order to customise what gets classed as background in Takeoff - another super useful function when working with PDF drawings.
Previously, the colour grey would automatically be classed as ‘background’ by default which could prove a problem if you came across the odd grey symbol here and there.
So we added the option to remove everything that is classed as a background (including defaults) and start from scratch. This gives you reassurance that no symbols have been accidentally hidden, and you can be extra confident in the accuracy of your final counts.
Copying measures and zones between drawings
We also added the handy ability to copy measurements and zones between drawings - particularly helpful when you have multiple containment drawings with the same layout. All you need to do is copy the measures and zones from one drawing and paste onto another within the same discipline. Another simple but effective way of saving you time.
As we continue to evolve Estimate into a true end-to-end estimating solution, one improvement we made this year was the much-requested ability to duplicate estimates.
This is a really convenient addition for when you need to create variations of estimates for alternative tenders or performing value engineering.
Improvements to the kit editor and the addition of the product catalogue
This year, we also took the opportunity to tweak the design of the kit editor so it’s more user-friendly. The kits and products within were also upgraded to enable new functions, such as the ability to clone them.
This enabled us to pave the way for the exciting release of our product catalogue. This contains a list of kits and products that are used within your estimates and it allows you to centrally delete or amend items such as their price.
You have full control over your catalogue and product pages, including the ability to sort and filter items, find and replace items, edit kits (such as labour hours and quantities) and create kits.
Adding overhead, tax, discounts and uplift
Another significant release that went live in 2022 is the overhead and tax functionality.
You can now include these columns when working on your estimates which can be done by setting default values via the menu or individually on products.
Additionally, you can also add discounts and uplift within your estimates which gives you increased flexibility when providing narrative to commercial estimating decisions.
What’s in store for our customers in 2023
The team are already working on some more nifty improvements, and we’re excited to give you a sneak peak at a couple of new releases we’re working on for 2023.
We’re looking at incorporating the ability to add notes to drawings in Takeoff. This is something a lot of our customers have been asking for, and will be a super helpful addition to the app. So for example, you might include a note on a drawing as an important reminder. This will ensure there is a clear note on the drawing outputs for you to view.
In Estimate, we’re also improving the controls for arranging and selecting columns making working with views much more user friendly.
Keep an eye out for these updates and more to come over the next few months.
For those who haven’t yet seen the benefits Countfire can bring to your business, you can try it for free.