February marks the official release of Version 7.4 of Benchmark Estimating Software, the most advanced version of our software to date. Along with some great new additions, we’ve also improved some of our most popular features to make your estimating even faster and more accurate than ever before.
Summary of Version 7.4
Over 30 enhancements and new features including:
- New integration with “On-Screen Takeoff” for faster and more accurate quantity takeoffs and estimates, whilst eliminating the risk of data entry errors
- New “Application Service” module which can integrate Benchmark Estimating Software with your other mission critical business systems (e.g. accounting, ERP, CRM systems) to reduce double entry of data, save you time and improve operational workflows
- Improvements to “Auto Allocate” to help you to simplify your estimating further, resulting in greater automation of your estimating and significant productivity gains
- Over 30 new keyboard shortcuts make the software even easier to use and improve day-to-day efficiency
- Enhancements to “Progress Claims” to help you produce more professional Claims faster, for improved cash flow, while being more transparent with your Clients
- New reports
- Improvements to import/export features
- Support for the latest development framework from Microsoft, Microsoft .NET 4, offering improved user interface responsiveness and text clarity, for an even better end user experience.
Below is an expanded rundown on some of the major improvements.
New Features in Version 7.4
On-Screen Takeoff (OST) from On Center Software is a popular and easy to learn quantity takeoff system. In our capacity as an Integrated Business Partner with On Center Software, we’re pleased to be able to offer clients the ability to integrate OST with Benchmark Estimating Software.
The Takeoff Integrator works by allowing you to import a Bill of Quantities from OST directly into Benchmark Estimating Software. If you amend your Takeoff in OST after you have imported the Bill of Quantities, the Takeoff Integrator will allow you to view what has changed and update your estimate with new Items and/or updated quantities. Where quantities are changed, this integration will also update your cost for you automatically.
Application Service Add-on Module
The Benchmark Estimating Software “Application Service” module is designed to facilitate automated and customised integration between our estimating software and your other mission critical business systems.
The Application Service module can help your business overcome many common challenges in businesses today including:
- Having one source of Customer and Subcontractor/Supplier data and having this synchronised with Benchmark Estimating Software’s Libraries
- Having one source of financial Cost Codes and having this synchronised with Benchmark Estimating Software’s Codes feature
- Creating a consistent Budget format and populating your accounting/ERP/job costing system with a budget automatically from your estimate.
Overcoming these challenges and others helps to eliminate errors, saves you time having to re-enter data, improves operational workflows and helps you to improve job costing reporting which can also help to improve your estimating accuracy and profits.
Enhancements in Version 7.4
Progress Claims have always been a popular feature of the Professional and Corporate Editions of our estimating software. The ability to generate Progress Claims directly from Benchmark Estimating Software saves users time by allowing them to avoid retyping lengthy estimates and also cuts down on errors that can easily occur in spreadsheets.
Version 7.4 of Benchmark Estimating Software includes significant improvements to the Progress Claims module.
- You can now edit Item descriptions in the Progress Claim Input window without having to return to the estimate
- You can add comments to an Item in the Progress Claim Input window and these comments will flow through to your detailed Claim reports. This is a great way to communicate to your clients and make it easier to have your claims approved without the need for extra explanation
- You can flag a Progress Claim to indicate that “practical completion” has occurred. This will allow you to “release” Retention held based on user definable % or lump sum values
- You can flag a job as “Complete” meaning no more Progress Claims are required
- We’ve added a new Progress Claim Summary report that can be accessed from the Project Browser. It provides you with a 360 degree view of all Claim summary values for “un-complete” jobs.
Improvements to Auto Allocate
Auto Allocate is a useful feature for businesses who price schedules of items (Bill of Quantities) provided to them by their clients. With Version 7.4 we have made some useful enhancements to Auto Allocate to make it more flexible and assist in the automation of your estimating making your business more productive.
You can now tailor Auto Allocate so that it searches for matches in your Item Library based on the following options:
- Item Description ONLY (as it currently does in V7.3)
- Item code ONLY
- Item Allocation Code ONLY
- Item Description AND Item Code
- Item Description AND Item Allocation Code.
You can use the Administration screen to configure your default Auto Allocate Settings system wide or you can configure default settings on a user by user basis.
Over 30 new keyboard shortcuts added
More than 30 new keyboard shortcut keys have been added throughout our estimating software for some of the more common day-to-day features. We’ve also made existing shortcuts more consistent across the software.
Support for Microsoft .NET Framework 4
Version 7 of our estimating software is based on the Microsoft .NET Framework application development platform. Version 7.4 of Benchmark Estimating Software supports Microsoft .NET Framework 4, the current version recommended by Microsoft for application development.
Microsoft .NET Framework 4, together with our commitment to keep up with the latest development framework from Microsoft, translates into various benefits for our customers:
- improved overall application performance
- improved visuals with better User Interface responsiveness and improved text clarity
- better application memory management
- better interoperability with the Microsoft Office suite
- better parallel programming support for more complex operations including Three Point Estimating simulations.
Microsoft .NET Framework 4 is installed for you as part of your Version 7.4 upgrade.
If you are a client with an up-to-date Support and Maintenance and Agreement, you should be receiving an upgrade to Version 7.4 within the next week. If you are a client who is out of maintenance and would like to take advantage of the latest features and enhancements, please contact us and we can arrange a new Support and Maintenance Agreement for you.
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If you have any further questions regarding Version 7.4, please contact us
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