The initial situation
Either all the offers that have yet to be calculated are piling up on your desk or there is absolutely nothing to do. As a contractor you should be familiar with this kind of situation.
Of course, determining the quantities for the respective plans must then be done sometime in between and you don’t have all the prices you need at hand, too. The phone call with the subcontractor is troubling you a little and you decide to better add a security surcharge to their price. You have your assistant put together the quote and this time, you even manage to skim through the text before the meeting to discuss the offer. The builder starts your conversation by mentioning that the bathroom must be redesigned and that they need to know the prices for the heat pump and the passive house windows before signing the contract.
If all this sounds familiar, you might also know the situations when you realize in the middle of a project that the cantilever plate under the bay window (which became part of the job again after redesigning the house for the second time) was forgotten, just like the second entrance door leading to the garage. To top it off, your surcharge for the passive house windows was well estimated, however only with respect to the “normal” window from the initial planning. Unfortunately, the builders have opted for higher windows.
Although you know that you can certainly sell a part of that to the builders afterwards, the good profit margin is gone.
By entering the planning data in Vi Plan, you have already completed the job of determining the quantities. Rest assured that forgetting e.g. the cantilever plates or entrance doors is a thing of the past. You can live perfectly well with the situation that your contribution margin calculated during the tendering stage is enhanced by contract award savings. Due to the consistency of planning and cost calculations there are no longer any offers yet to be calculated piling up on your desk.
In retrospect, it was simply the best decision to use your employee’s saved time to teach her how to plan houses with Vi Plan (since she no longer has to write quotes, as those are, just like the tenders, the automatic results of the calculation). Now, you increasingly use your time for sales and to work on your company (and therefore simultaneously on the cost calculation).
Thanks to the direct 3D data transfer to your timber construction program, the stressful situation during the preparatory work and construction design has significantly eased off. The need for an increase in staff is eliminated through outsourcing the building applications in peak times to foreign architects.
How it works
The design is always the basis of the calculation. It delivers both masses and quantities as well as information about correlations used for the calculation. A cantilever without a basement on the ground floor is recognized automatically as are roof or wall connections, valleys or walls that are not precisely on top of each other.
The cost calculation for the project is generated with one click. At this point, you can decide whether you want your own specifications (dynamic specifications) for planning, or if you want to work with standard specifications. The dynamic specifications ensure that everything you offer the customer, will be described dynamically. If you opt for standard specifications, the only things described in the offer are those that differ from the standard including the respective additional charge / price reduction.
Both methods are excellent strategies for quotes. You can either decide to principally use one variation or use both depending on your customer. The functionality to create more than just specifications is ideal if you offer extensions, alterations or refurbishments in addition to new construction.
Also, the price list can be selected for the calculation. You can generate an unlimited number of price lists. Depending on the respective specifications, the price lists can be either released or blocked.
You can work with freely definable surcharge schemes for each price list. This way, you can offer one and the same service in a new building and charge a different sales prices than for modifications - for example, because of other overhead allocations. Other interesting options are to create price lists for manufacturing costs and lower price limits.
Thanks to numerous price maintenance functions, working with multiple price lists usually only leads to a slightly higher price maintenance effort.
Different construction stages can be selected per floor, which define the basic scope of the offer. Whether "turn-key", "starter house" or "timber construction" – there are no limits to your flexibility. Construction stages defining a floor as 'stock', are as just as feasible for e.g. heightening existing properties.
You can limit the basic scope of the offer through personal contribution packages at any time. A function that is useful for building owners who want to know exactly, which service is worth investing their time. Often the "credit note" granted for the personal contribution is the decisive factor here.
The service packages are used to extend the basic scope of the offer. Typically, they are used when only a "basic framework” is offered initially. The services of the sub-contractors are offered to the client in the form of clearly structured packages.
Flexibility and individuality are certainly factors that help you as a timber construction company stand apart from the big providers of prefabricated homes as a construction company. Right at this point, our industry model “Timber construction” supports you tremendously.
It includes almost all currently used materials and designs such as timber post thickness, planking material, insulation or the complete interior work and building equipment. Our industry model is up to date and therefore provides an excellent base for your customizations. Especially the included "turnkey construction" enables you to provide your sub-contractor with precise specification about what they are supposed to offer you.
The control level where you specify which design and which materials is offered to your customers, is called optional equipment.
The basic idea here is that once you have made the most common designs your default settings, you only have to adjust some specifics. Despite all its flexibility, operating the software is completely self-explanatory. It automatically displays only the control elements relevant for the project, which are all provided with a detailed manual
If you have set the designs requested by the customer, the calculation follows. Here, the price for the house is not calculated once but several times. The result of the calculation is therefore usually not one price, but a complete price overview.
When the data of the prospective customer have been collected, the complete offer can be generated with a click. It reflects the details you set to a 100 percent. If you select the dynamic construction specifications, you will get an offer taking up many, many pages in which each detail is automatically depicted, such as exterior planking, timber posts, insulation, interior planking, installation level, etc.
If you opted for a standard construction specification, the offer consists of considerably fewer pages on which all deviations from the standard incl. additional charges / price reductions are described. The necessary quotation texts are of course included in your industry model “Timber construction”.
You can customize these text as well as the calculation contents to suit your needs. Vi Report, whose interface, structure and operation conforms to the conventional word processing programs, allows you to adjust the offer drafts included in the industry model to your individual needs and to create additional templates if needed.
Just like the offer, the tender will be automatically created as a result of the calculation. The output tender can either consist of short and long texts sorted by crafts or summarized. You can control whether the calculated prices are displayed individually or in summarized form by a click - just like you can control the output of the floors.
Since the calculation is generally structured based on the floors, you will receive not only the total quantities, but also the partial quantities of the individual floors. Optionally, you can to ensure - especially for subcontractors’ trades - that not all positions are displayed in the tender. Usually mainly complexity allowances are excluded from the tender.
The material master
Unlike with the contracting trades, you will be working with a complete material calculation in the timber construction. The items thus automatically resort to the material management through your BOM. The majority of the relevant items in the industry model “Timber construction” is already provided with BOMs. They can of course be changed recreated by you.
The materials each have a purchase price and in combination form the total material price of the item. If you adjust e.g. the price for the m³ solid structural timber, the material prices of all items where solid structural timber is used automatically change accordingly. Usually, the material master from the commercially leading system is used, or it is adapted to this system. Price maintenance is then only executed in the main system and is imported to Vi Kalk. Numerous import and export functions are available for this.
Time target lists
All services that you perform with your own staff, are calculated via time targets. In the industry model “Timber construction” the time target lists are already stored in the area timber construction and preparatory work. The existing structure is based on the conventional work processes. In the time target list, the item is allocated the necessary wage group incl. the target times. These resort to the wage group management and the hourly wages stored there.
It is up to you whether you calculate with medium wage, or - as our default setting - with hourly rates for foreman, master craftsman, journeyman and helper (again divided by company and construction site) is up to you. The complete time evaluation of each construction project is available as a result. Here, you can resort to various output variants such as the summarized wage group or the individual work processes.
The balance sheets
As a result of the calculation, the full range of balance sheets is provided. These include the multistage surcharge schemes deposited by you that allow you to specify the level of detail of the analysis. Besides the classic balances, the sales balance incl. any land and incidental site costs are available to you.
Supplementary budget calculation
Often, changes in planning, equipment or the scope of the order are made after an order was placed. After modifying the offer of an order, you will find yourself in a different calculation mode. In order updating everything is checked against the latest order status and any difference is automatically displayed. This applies for redesigning the house as well as changing the furnishing details and the offer scope. The supplementary offers are of course also automatically generated just like the "normal" offers.
Vi Price maintenance
Obviously, there can’t be a calculation without prices. Upon delivery, our industry model “Timber construction” contains current medium prices. Even if you can use these prices as an excellent basis for comparison, it is only a matter of time before you need prices directly from your subcontractors. So why not using the correct prices from the beginning and from 2-3 businesses for each trade? Precisely for this purpose, we have developed our online service Vi Price maintenance.
You can upload the tenders from the calculation directly to the internet service. Here you enter your subcontractors once. From this point forward, the system automatically informs the subcontractors of new tenders, reminds them of deadlines and alerts them if their prices are too high. It must also be mentioned that in Vi Price maintenance you can compare tenderers, find the optimal tenderer and can carry out any medium price formations.
Your path to the future
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. To set up your calculation based on the industry model “timber construction”, this step consists of visiting our calculation seminars. There you will learn the system of calculation and/or how to set it up.
Experienced swp coaches - usually these engineers have worked as quantity surveyors for years – accompany you in this endeavor with the intensity of your choice. From setting up the system by the coach and customizing it together to remote support via regular conference circuits: basically anything is feasible. It should simply suit you and your business. It remains up to you which level of support by our specialists you choose..