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The Best Construction Estimating Software – Candy – A User's opinion

Estimator working on construction plans

With more than 14 years’ experience in the field of estimation, I have used a variety of estimating software but Candy is the best choice between currently available competitors in the market. It gives all the unique features that are required to produce an accurate and competitive bid. Anyone who has a good command of MS Excel can learn it in a couple of days and can use it efficiently.

Below I have listed the features that distinguish Candy from other available options in the market (features related to estimation only). The purpose of this Article is to share the experience from user's perspective for those who are considering buying an estimating software. My network is requested to share their thoughts, experience and more features I may not have listed.

  • Bill Importing: 

    Candy allows to import a variety of data from excel spreadsheets which is not limited to standard BOQ columns i.e., item, description, unit and quantity. We can assign Price codes, task codes and pricing remarks in MS Excel for complex and lengthy BOQs and all this data can be imported to Candy very efficiently. In addition, a priced BOQ can be imported to Candy with plugged rates (labour, material, sub-con).
  • Production Coding: 

    Candy enables crew compositions to be developed, with appropriate productivity rates. We can calculate the corresponding man-hours for each activity by assigning production codes. Crew composition criteria is limited to 7 skilled workers which I believe is not enough, developer should increase this limit to at least 20 workers.
  • Packaging of Different trade: 

    Task coding in Candy is a unique feature that is not available in many other estimating software. It allows the packaging of similar components in order to present in the management report. Standard factorization can be assigned to compare the rates with previously submitted tenders.
  • Resourcing Libraries:

    In Candy, an estimator develops and organizes resources depending on his level of expertise. Estimators can develop complex resource up to 9 levels.
  • QTO: 

    CCS introduced a Candy QTO feature in 2018, which allows 2D and 3D on screen calculation, with the same Candy license. PDF and JPG drawings can be imported to the software and users can link the take-off with appropriate BOQ items in the pricing section.
  • Macros: 

    A very rich feature, that works like visual basic in MS Excel. Estimators can record complex activity that they repeat most often with appropriate shortcuts and later it works with a single key.
  • Incorporating Addendum: 

    Most often, we receive the addendum where client changes the BOQ. Candy works like Excel for the incorporation of any change in the file.
  • Alternative Tendering: 

    Candy allows us to carry out all the pricing in one estimate while maintain up-to eight different estimates. We can develop alternate estimates by using the same file. This is very useful feature when producing the VE estimates.
  • Tender Finalization: 

    We do the factorization in MS Excel but Candy allows us to do Tender finalization by considering the premium (profit margin) or rebate factor with in-built feature called “Mark-up”. Estimators can produce the selling price directly through the software and add it the client BOQ.
  • Worksheet Complex Level: 

    Candy enables the worksheets up-to 9 levels, and we can break a unit rate into 9 sub-categories. For instance, masonry boundary wall is a composition of earthwork, footing, columns, beam, masonry, rendering and painting. We can price these entire elements by assigning a single macro price code.
  • Global Variable: 

    Variables like productivity rates, factor of wastage, commodities, etc., are very important for each tender. An Estimator will change them depending on the nature of project, region and type of contract. Global variable feature in Candy allows estimators to change these variables directly in the specified list while changing all the worksheets and rate build-up accordingly.
  • Sub-con Adjudicator: 

    We do the vendor analysis in MS Excel but this feature enables the users to draw the comparison in the software and link it with the relevant price codes. Later we can select/switch to any of the vendor from the Adjudicator while changing all the appropriate price codes in the estimating section.
  • Interface: 

    A variety of interface customisation is available in Candy. Users can add or remove columns depending on the requirement.
  • Variety of Report: 

    Dozens of in-built reports are developed to meet the user’s requirement. Estimators can further optimize the reports by using customising feature.
  • Filtering: 

    Candy allows many types of filters, user can find a particular item of complex BOQ by searching basic information.
  • If, And & Product Function: 

    Very interesting and productive functions that work like Excel.
  • User Friendly: 

    Candy is designed for Estimators by Estimators and this is the reason that Estimators find it very user friendly. Anyone with basic computer knowledge can learn and adopt it. I have used other estimating software but Candy is more user friendly. I did not take any specific training or demo; the user manual is enough to learn the basic features. Furthermore, I have trained many of my colleagues within couple of days and now they are operating it in a professional way.
  • Customer Support:

    RIBCCS representatives are always at the disposal of their clients; I have witnessed their response during the lockdown of Covid-19. RIB CCS provided the temporary licence to each user and kept updating until we returned to our offices. Each time they ensured that the temporary licence is working fine by calling directly on the mobile number provided by the user.
  • Product Update: 

    As the technology is getting to new heights, developers are keen to upgrade their products by introducing new features. RIB CCS has added many convincing and productive features in past couple of years and demonstrated the relevant benefits by giving online webinars. RIB CCS arranges webinar on monthly basis in-order to give the training of newly added features.
  • Global Reputation: 

    RIB CCS occupies a majority of the gulf market and most of the prestigious organisations like, Bechtel, ACC, CCC, NESMA, AL Mabani, Kabbani, Alec, El Seif, etc., are using it for over a decade.
  • Conceptual Estimating (Class-5) 

    There is not in-built feature for conceptual estimating in Candy. User can develop the worksheet depending on their expertise but developer should introduce an in-built feature for conceptual estimating which will enable the user to create the preliminary or conceptual estimate for similar nature.
  • Capterra Reviews: 

    Please read Candy reviews on Capterra.

Written by: Ismail Gultasab

Lead Estimator at El Seif Engineering Contracting

Published 8 April 2021 https://www.linkedin.com/in/gultasab/

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