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403 posts

Ultimate Geek

#193667 19-Mar-2016 18:08
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Hi all,


I would really like to hear from any QS / Estimators out there, specifically in HVAC industry to discuss what estimating software they use. The primary purpose of the software is not as much the estimating part, but more the materials takeoff. I am interested in HVAC ductwork and pipework only, please understand that estimating software used mainly for architectural (carpet, walls, hardware, painting, etc) or civil works (excavated volume, etc) are of no use, I want to discuss HVAC sheet metal duct and steel / copper pipework only.


As I said, the main purpose is to be able to generate a materials takeoff from PDF drawings.The drawings are sometimes scanned, but I am sure that any software you use would have a feature to allow you to set the scale.


Even more importantly, is anyone out there using CostX for HVAC duct and pipework take offs?


The company is planning to get CostX (which we will have to start to learn and use!) but I personally believe it is rubbish for HVAC due to sooooo many limitations in how the takeoff is presented, and additional manual entering and typing you need to do in Excel afterwards, as it won't export a duct take off to show sq.m., which is the primary goal of the take off. I need to be able to see in the take-off separate quantities (size & meters or sq.m. for fitings) for straight duct, fittings, insulated (internal, external, various thickness, etc).


Youtube made me like FastDuct instantly, but I am not sure if there is an agent in NZ? Local support would be important for the company, I do not believe they will just buy software from anyone on the other side of the world (being that UK, USA, etc)...




Kind regards,

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270 posts

Ultimate Geek


  #1516155 19-Mar-2016 19:00
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I have never seen a software package 'off the shelf' for what you are after.


You would be better to create a simple database based on your duct types and sizes, with a list associated with each type, which could be generated as a report.


There are a lot of variables even the simplest duct work i.e. materials of construction, thickness of sheet metals used, flanged flexible joints vs. welded joints, support types, insulation requirements...







Michael Skyrme - Instrumentation & Controls

403 posts

Ultimate Geek

  #1516186 19-Mar-2016 20:06
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Hi Mike,


many thanks for the reply. Generally, an Excel spreadsheet is used and the estimator measures with a ruler off the drawings then enters (manually) the type, dimensions and length. If you have few minutes, have a look on Youtube at one of the tutorials for FastDuct to see what this soft does. No hand measuring, and the spreadsheet is generated automatically. Highly customizable data base, to make available all the options you mentioned.



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