Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff - Technology - Contractor Talk

Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff

 
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Old 06-05-2017, 02:18 PM   #1
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Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff


We are a specialty Contractor that currently uses OnScreen Takeoff. Our Renewal will be early 2018. We have used Onscreen for years, but are starting to consider Planswift because there is software that will allow it to merge with our Accounting Software (Sage 100).

I am wondering if anyone out there has used different software and can compare / contrast between the different ones they have used.

Onscreen is Great, But I don't believe it is any better than Planswift. Having never used Bluebeam Revu, I am interested to know if it can work as a replacement for either. It has a TON of awesome options but I don't know if it has some of the functionality of Planswift/Onscreen.

I have looked at Stack and REALLY like the idea, However you can only have one user look at plans and their answer to that is: "Just have your customer use your login." which I don't like.

anybody have experience and can chime in?

Oncreen Takeoff
Planswift
Bluebeam Revu
Stack
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Old 06-05-2017, 02:51 PM   #2
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Re: Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff


I use planswift and find it so flexible, every time I use it I find more I can do with it.

I have tried onscreen take off but it did not have as many useful features from what I remember so would say planswift is better

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Old 06-07-2017, 09:26 PM   #3
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Re: Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff


Planswift is very easy to use and their customer service is impeccable. Another thing that I love about Planswift is their third party plugins that you can buy and use in conjunction with Planswift to give you a more efficient estimate. I know that there are some painting plugins available through Planswift's site, but I also found other sites that offer plugins as well. These are the ones that I came across:

www.estimatingplugins.com

www.takeoffplugins.com/
www.tradetekplugins.com/

I've personally used the Parametric Plugin that was from EstimatingPlugins.com, I found theirs to be the most useful.

Good Luck!
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Old 06-12-2017, 05:51 PM   #4
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Re: Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff


Does anyone use plan swift in conjunction with project management software?
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:38 PM   #5
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Re: Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff


I've been involved in similar discussions at a couple of different companies.

Depending on volume, I never felt it was critical to have my estimating software talk to the accounting software. Get a package that does one thing really, really well.

In commercial work, gut says we get about 10% of the work we bid (especially today). So, again depending on the job, it's not that big of a deal to set up the job in accounting, especially if you are a specialty sub.
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Old 06-13-2017, 07:01 PM   #6
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Re: Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff


I use the Planswift Plugin ,Project Management from Prime Estimating. Its great because you can use it directly in the Planswift Software.

I got mine from, www.estimatingplugins.com

Best of luck to you!
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Old 07-24-2017, 01:19 PM   #7
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Re: Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff


We've been using Planswift for about 2 years. We're a mid-sized design-build firm, we do whole house renovations, additions, and new construction.

My background prior to construction was fairly IT-heavy. In college I took some decently serious programming courses (Cobol, Java, even a course in Assembly 8086.)... my first jobs out of college I spent considerable time writing helper programs to make my life easier. This will be relevant in a minute.

Planswift seems like a good and competitively priced product at the onset. I'll give it that much. Like any advanced software, it has its strengths and weaknesses.

Pros:
* Very powerful with virtually unlimited assembly types and options
* Fairly lightweight program all things considered. You do need a computer with a very fast hard drive if you do large take offs, I recommend an SSD.
* Pretty easy to jump in and start digitizing
* Excellent scaling tools
* You can generate reports that do virtually anything
* It is par-excellence as a visual takeoff tool. The ability to work on one aspect of a takeoff and then hide that and work on another aspect is great. My accuracy is much better with it.
* It will smoke using a scale and wheel for speed and accuracy. I can do in a few hours what used to take me a few days.
* The trainers are great. This is important, because you're gonna spend an absolutely huge amount of time learning to use the program.

If that last bullet scares you, it should. My experience has been that jumping in and doing scaled measurements/counts is easy as pie. It's also ultimately not very helpful, because you're basically just using the program as an advanced digital version of an engineer's wheel and scaling tool.

The usefulness of planswift is in the assembly and report tools. Assemblies are amazingly powerful and we've gotten to the point where our take offs calculate down to the nail quantity. I've got hundreds of assemblies built at this point, and can't imagine going backwards.

Wrapping my head around assemblies was not terribly easy, and I am a very "Left-brained" individual. Once you get into parent/child hierarchies it gets complicated and not very well documented. It took me a couple of hours on the line with a trainer to figure out the snippets of code (Yes, code) to get the assemblies to do parent/child costing the way I wanted it done.

This brings me to negative #1... while Planswift is a very metadata rich program, the documentation of it is basically garbage and it's only intuitive if you can wrap your brain into the shape of a programming language from the late 80's. Fortunately, I studied programming languages like Pascal and Cobol and could accomplish this task.

Also, if you want to set up good and useful assemblies with YOUR pricing, you're going to have to learn and understand how to do it. Expect to spend at least a week or more (if you're not good at using a mouse and keyboard, a lot more time than that) setting up assemblies and parts.

Oh, and figuring out how to make Planswift implement per-job markup/margin multipliers is hilariously backwards, complicated, not documented, and not very intuitive. Why the developers didn't make this part of the program's native ability is beyond me.

(And our office runs ArchiCAD as our planning software. So when I say backwards and complicated, I mean it.)

OK, so setting those issues aside; the next thing you need to do in Planswift to make it worth the investment is get it to kick out reports that are more than gibberish.

Sadly, the reports that come natively with the program are useful like my best friend's ex-wife... they sit on a metaphorical sofa, drink all your booze, and spit out non-sequiturs all day long.

The good news? Planswift is capable of kicking out reports that can juggle, do cartwheels, and fix you breakfast in the morning.

The bad news? The program interface that Planswift uses is the worst thing since new coke. I used Crystal Reports a decade ago and it was better than this thing.

I mean it. The report customizer/creator is so godawful that after a few hours of poking at it I finally just called Planswift, gave the trainer my specifications on the phone, and then drank beer and watched him set the thing up. Eventually he told me that the estimate I wanted to generate to present to customers for quotes was going to take "a little bit longer" and he'd do it offline. 4 days later I had exactly the report I wanted.

Bottom line? Don't even try to learn to use the report customizer. It's a headache and you'll spend a lot of time coming down the learning curve so you can generate 4-5 reports and never use it again.

Oh yeah, training bills by the hour. Those reports ain't gonna be free to set up.

Last point? The joist tool really sucks. Like, bad. If you want to generate floor systems from pre-considered components that are pre-priced, you have to all but stand on your head to get that to happen. Oh, and write (or have a trainer write) several code snippets to get it to work.

All this may sound like I don't like the program. This is untrue - I actually like it a lot. It's hugely powerful and extremely customizable. But, you've got to be aware that there is going to be time-consuming and costly factors that go into getting it set up to where it's a useful tool that really saves time and money vs. a near on-screen scaling and measuring gimmick.

Also, there are a few Youtube channels that have fair to middlin' tutorials, especially regarding job properties. Watch those before you get on the phone with the trainers as it will help you form intelligent questions to ask.
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Old 07-24-2017, 02:39 PM   #8
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Re: Revu Vs. Planswift Vs. Onscreen For Takeoff


Great observations & comments.

For a number of years now I've been saying that you had better have a really good computer guy in your office. On some level, that person is more important than your field staff. Yes, you still have to have workers getting the job done, but you have to respond to all the massive amount of data you get, especially in commercial construction.

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