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Housing : November 2008
Software Feature supplier prices and read CAD (computer aided design) data. CAD programs are also multifunctional and can generate a bill of quantities right down to the last nail and an estimate as the drawing progresses. The capacity of CAD software packages can range frombasic standard 2-D drawingswhile others will create 3-D rendered modelswith the ability to do ‘walk-throughs’and ‘fly-bys’. ‘Many software packages come in modules,’says StephenGreenwood, HIA’sassistant director of technical, ‘so you can purchase only the functions you need or build up a total system over time.’ He also points out that some estimating packages include accounting/bookkeeping/cost control functions. Others cater especially for business owners who need to allocate time and material costs to a particular project, create invoices fromestimates, do financial administration and reporting, and keep track of cash flow. ‘Some programs have a payroll module available and can also include functions to facilitate reports required for the GST,’he adds. When considering the cost of a program, don’t forget to find out what hardware you need to run it. If you need to upgrade your current system, this can add a substantial amount to the final price you pay. CAD programs, for example, can be quite demanding when it comes to hardware requirements, but this may be off-set by the professional design plans they generate and which customers are expecting more and more. Many software vendors provide a hotline or on-site support service, so check whether this is available, if there is an additional charge for the service, and what period the service covers, Stephen says. Some vendors have an annual subscription and keep their subscribers up-to-date with improvements to the programand news bulletins which put you in touch with other users and facilitate networking. Constructor is an estimating software program for residential builders with a complete accounting system (including payroll) backing it up.According to Constructor, after being in the construction industry for two decades, it knows what builders need to help run their business. Backed by a completely integrated, easy-to-use accounting system, Constructor provides you with cost control and streamlined processes that they believe you just can’t achieve by mixing and matching other systems. Choosing the appropriate software for your business should increase efficiency and productivity, and take much of the hassle out of your day-to-day tasks And for the first time, you can see your company wages reflected directly against your project budgets. Combine that with a strong personal support network including one-on-one training and unlimited phone support, and you have the perfect business partner to take your business successfully into the future. Framework is a fully integrated client and workflow management solution which the company says will reduce Left: Framework offers specialised tools for point-of-sale, client management, and much more. Photo courtesy CSG Software 42 HOUSING NOVEMBER 2008