Vella’s Find Certainty, Confidence to Overcome Civil Challenges

Eliminating the uncertainty and boosting confidence, Vella’s Civil Construction realise the benefits of Benchmark Estimating Software to take on the challenges, and the competition presented by the current market.

“I have been exposed to other people’s estimating software, I have been exposed to the outcomes of other people’s reports and I am glad that I am on board with Benchmark”, Michael Novikov, Project Manager, Vella’s Civil Construction said.

Family-owned business, Vella’s Civil Construction has been servicing the Central Queensland regions of Mackay, Whitsundays and Bowen Basin for over 10 years, specialising in Civil Construction Projects, Machinery Hire and Quarry Product Sales.

Finding a Better Way

Vella’s were using Excel and pencil to produce estimates and as a result they had multiple spreadsheets and without a database of resources, found it difficult to complete accurate estimates.

“We had uncertainty in our estimates that something might have not been calculating as hoped, even though we ran checks, we didn’t have the confidence in our submissions,” Michael recalls.

As the company’s estimator, Michael reviewed different software products and after an online demonstration realised straight away that Benchmark Estimating Software was right for Vella’s.

After face-to-face training in Brisbane and full support with implementation, Michael is now utilising the software for their full range of earthworks projects including supply and delivery of materials, roadworks and both residential and industrial subdivisions.

Knowing The Bottom Line

“You have to invest time to make sure your data quality within the software is right. Once you have built an item within a project, you can duplicate it to the item library for future use. Benchmark is very flexible,” Michael said.

Michael could not imagine going back to Excel, especially with the advantages and multitude of Benchmark’s reports.

“The ‘summary report’ provides our direct costs, with Excel it was difficult to get direct costs, with Benchmark you can see where the bottom line is,” Michael said.

With the current competitive nature of the market in the region, Michael recognises that other companies are bidding jobs below costs, and their business’s becoming not viable.

“Because we use Benchmark, we know where our bottom line is, the majority of our competitors don’t know this,” Michael said.

Utilising Advanced Functionality

To complete estimates, Michael utilises the Reporting functionality to see the total of direct and indirect costs and adjust percentages.


Once the job has started, the production rates function provides Michael a good production indicator, and the functionality of “setting up an item with variables” allows him to eliminate all the unknowns.


“Having the library with conditions allows me to easily add the ones I want by simply ticking them and bringing them in as project-specific conditions“, Michael said. “It’s good to check out the projects and work on them away from your server.”

Accuracy Instils Confidence

While not being in a position to quantify the savings realised, Vella’s is realising significant benefits from Benchmark Estimating Software, in particular, making their estimating more efficient and knowing where their bottom line is.

“You get accuracy and have confidence with your submission, you have the confidence that the price you put in is right,” Michael said.

Vella’s are planning to purchase another licence and when asked what his advice would be to other businesses considering Benchmark Estimating Software, Michael’s response was decisive.

“Stop thinking about it and get on board,” Michael Novikov stated.


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