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Program That Works Out Building Material

I have a client that has a company that builds houses and sell hardware. The client needs a program that should do the following: If he gets the plan from the architect then with the program he wants to work out the amount of materials to be used and he then wants to qoute the customer. Please help the number of points is all i get left.

Thanks
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gnoble786
Asked:
gnoble786
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Are you suggesting some sort of application that would extract the material requirements from the paper drawings. Afraid that is not possible. There are hundreds of estimating programs out there such as:
http://www.uniteddesign.com/excel_spread.html
http://www.bid4build.com/
http://www.eolnow.com/
but the main skill is doing the "take offs", calculating the amount of material for each component. These programs help to organize you in a logical fashion, and allow you to adjust profit margins and segregate labor costs with material costs for each part of the job, but there is still a lot of manual work required.
There are inexpensive programs that will actually do reasonably accurate take offs for you such as those sold by Broderbund:
http://www.broderbund.com/jump.jsp?itemID=1637&mainPID=1637&itemType=PRODUCT
But you have to draw the entire house first, with the program, so that it can do the calculations for you.
As for costing the job, with residential, once the take offs are done, your local building materials site will do up the materials costs for you.
There are some excellent well know references for calculating labor such as Walkers Building Estimator's Reference:
http://www.frankrwalker.com/items.htm

I would suggest visiting:
http://www.markupandprofit.com/
Excellent fellow/site for guiding you as to how to approach jobs, estimating, managing the job itself, and assuring you make a profit. There are links to books, software and videos for financially managing jobs.
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Rob WilliamsCommented:
Thanks gnoble786,
--Rob
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