Good Investment for Estimators
The online version is great. I like not having about 4 tons of outdated cost books in my file cabinet. I like being able to see what an estimate would cost in the past just by changing to an older data set. The SF cost estimator feature is really good. The one complaint is the structural types to choose from never quite matches what we actually build here in Utah. It seems it is very "east coast" oriented. The cost gets pricey if you want something different than their preselected data set packages. I don't like the fact you can't just pick and choose data sets ala carte. I also wish the formulas would export with the SF cost reports. I waste alot of time recreating links and formulas after exporting to excel.
I like that it has just about everything you would need to price out for all types of construction.
Sometimes as an estimator you use your own template and you use RS-Means as a resource for costs and product descriptions. The software doesn't allow to right click copy and paste text feature so I have to jump through alot of hoops to export the estimate in Means to an Excel report and then copy and paste from there.
Review of the pros and cons of RS Means Online
In general, I have had excellent experience with Means. I feel confident in their prices, wages and factors for various areas of the country. I live in Mexico so would love to have a Spanish version.
the scope of the cost items is very extensive. The wage rates are very good and the crews are excellent
they should have versions for Power Plants, Refineries, Mining and Metals and other large types of projects. They should also design it so that there would be a industry standard type of estimate report.
Means used to have a Spanish language version. They should continue with this version.
Great for Heavy Civil Industry
As far as cost estimation goes, this is the most widely used tool in the industry for a good reason. I have found that in some cases, the cost estimates tend to be lower than bids from contractors.
The best feature is being able to save job specific cost estimations that can easily be transferred to a similar job in a different region as needed. Local adjustments are available for even remote places in the United States.
The user interface can be a bit challenging to get used to. There are some acronyms that are not explained and require a bit of digging to find.
Small Architectural firm review of RSMeans Data Online
As an occasional user (maybe once a month); it is difficult to use this any more than is absolutely necessary. As it is, with each use, I still pull the information out into my own "summary" and present it to clients from my custom spread sheet. I basically find myself using it like a Means "book" and not taking advantage of it as an "electronic" system. Currently, my experience requires a lot of extra time just to get the final data into a usable, transferrable, understandable format.
Depth of the cost data is impressive.
Ability to "modify" and customize into "assemblies" is powerful.
Software keeps a "running tab".
Customization seems very proprietary and cumbersome.
Experience is required to learn the language and "assignments" of materials to categories and assemblies.
Pricing adjustments seem to require being in Excel at which point, that specific work is not "saved" to the program.
RS Means at our Firm
We provide our customers with budgetary estimates during our design processes.
Ability to line item choose from all RS Means disciplines we subscribe to. Ability to customize our output reports. RS Means have the majority of the systems that we need to provide accurate budgetary estimates.
I administer our RS Means account, but I very, very seldom use it myself. As the account admin, I am forced to be one of the user accounts; therefore, I have to allow staff to log on with my e-mail and password to use the online cost estimating. We have determined that we do not need more than two simultaneous accounts and our preference would be to assign the licenses to who needs them, when they need them. I can do that with the non-admin license, but not with the one assigned to me. I’d prefer not to have staff logging on as me (administrator).
RS Means Online Evaluation / Comparison with Costworks CD Version
Using the Online version takes more time than the CD version and the lack of ability to tailor the costlist view in the Online version when compared to the CD version is a significant deficiency that I hope can be modified.
I like the ability to access my estimates from any location with a good internet connection.
The online version does not permit "tailoring" of the costlist window at the bottom when completing an estimate. In the CD Version, you can hide columns that are not needed without having scroll from right to left in the costlist screen. Additionally, when you enter Notes in the CD version, they are displayed and it's easy to copy notes from one line item to another. The online version is cumbersome when entering notes and after closing the note, you can't see it without opening the note screen again. If the costlist display screen in the Online version can be modified to allow Users to tailor what they see and to display the notes once entered, this will SIGNIFICANTLY improve the User interface.
With the web introductions and walk-throughs it makes it easy for my engineers to look up what they need, fast and efficiently.
I, to be honest, have never used the product , but with the initial tutorials that we got last year with the 2019 version the engineers seem to be totally satisfied with this product.
Uses for SF estimating
Good - experience - but sometimes too much data to be able to see the outcomes clearly
updated costs by region - you have quarterly updates
Does not have a substantial SF cost database that would be helpful in ROM estimates
Does not have all the items we encounter on federal construction jobs
RS Means Data is helpful and an industry standard
Current issues in scrolling through the data and entire screen scrolling with your search scroll
There are a few things that make this program very frustrating to work with. The biggest issue is trying to scroll through the data after you search for something. Say "Doors" the database has like 1000 items that are related to doors and it will generate the first 40 or so items in the screen but when you go to scroll down in the window to see more - it takes a while for the new data to generate - and I have a fast connection 100 MB/S so it is not the internet. But that is not the issue - it is the fact that if you scroll too fast and the website has to search for more data, then the entire screen scrolls up and you have to continuously grab the bar and scroll back down. It happens also when you scroll up the entire screen will scroll down and then you have to scroll back up... The other issue is the width of the columns - the allow you to size the columns that way you want them but the column bar is like one pixel wide and for you to point your mouse at exactly the right location on the screen to get the column bar to size the column takes FOREVER !! I have wasted like 6 hours out of 300 trying to resize the columns - the problem is that you can not see the material, labor and equipment prices until you either resize the columns or continuously scroll to the right and then you have to scroll back the left in order to check the item that you want to add to your project - so it is continuously moving back and forth and up and down - NO GOOD
Great data, excellent product database, great Square Foot model, I have the full blown professional version which comes with unit prices, assembly prices and square foot models for all types of buildings for all divisions for all locations throughout the USA. By zip code, you can set the labor type - union or open shop ...
Too costly - I paid $$$$ for the full blown version and it is missing some components. Such as LED light fixtures SF costs. Columns are hard to adjust. The layout of the website is not user friendly. To create a SF Model is not user friendly at first. It needs to be more intuitive, and easier to follow. The first thing you have to do is name the project in order to generate any kind of data out of the SF model - well the Name Cell is way down the bottom of the web page - and not up near the top - so if you select the type of building you want and size etc -- it will not generate a SF model .... I have been using RS Means for over 10 years - I started using it in 2004 and they had CD versions then they came out with one license agreements for a server type version - then it was named Costworks - I truly loved the CD version of RS Means Costworks - The best part of having CD is if you lose internet you are not out of business like I was the other week!!! For over 8 hours I had no power in my house therefore no internet and using a Hot Spot does not do the trick when you are searching a database with over 30,000 items....
Great Database but Lacking Functionality
Overall RSMeans Online is a great tool with a wonderfully complete database for vertical building construction. However, there are limitations with user interphase that limit its functionality and complicate the estimating process unnecessarily.
The database of materials and labor is second to none in my opinion and I like that the program includes the square foot estimator and life cycle cost tools.
The ease of use when developing estimates and square foot models is lacking, and could use some revisions to allow for more functionality. It would be nice if in the square foot model you could adjust the quantity without having to swap an assembly, and it would be good to also have the ability to delete multiple line items at a time when revising the model to best fit the building application. Additionally, it would be helpful if you could define more of the characteristics of a building (i.e. wall construction vs finish, roof construction, roof material, window type, etc.). Within the estimate area it would be helpful if all of the different sections (CSI format, Uniformat for Commercial New Construction, and Uniformat for Facilities Maintenance and Repair) all exported with the same columns and data. Most of my clients like to have their data in a specific format that is not RSMeans export so creating a template is difficult and can be time consuming.
Estimating for Computer Dummies
I have been using RSMeans since 1984. I started in college with the book, then eventually to a CD, and now online. My business could not survive without it. Its is the best program on the market. I have tried other programs as samples and they cannot compete with RSMeans. And as to technical help, RSMeans is the best I have ever dealt with, if you have a problem they are great with helping you.
It makes my estimating easier and faster. It would be impossible to estimate a project without RS Means. Its also gives me an advantage to check subcontractors quotes. In addition, I can bid projects in different areas around the country, which has open vast business opportunities in the construction industry that I would not be able to accomplish before I had the program.
I wish program had virtual "Cortana" like Microsoft. Sometimes I need to find an item and I don't know how to ask RS Means what the item is and all I get for a response is that there is no line item. Also, I wish they had more items to chose from and good example is ceramic tile such as: 12" x 24", 18" x 18", 24" x 24". These items are becoming more prevelent. RSMeans needs to keep up with HGTV as items are changing with the times.
Not bad, but lacking
It's OK overall, but the absolutely most glaring thing missing, is that this program has not been implemented into app form. I have been looking online for any evidence that this is on the horizon and I have not seen any indication of it. As a project manager working in the field and in charge of proposals, it is the single largest inconvenience of my entire job to have to stop and find some place to sit down with wifi access to do an estimate on the go. That coupled with the other cons I listed in the previous inquiry makes it beyond frustrating.
Overall, its interface is user friendly for the most part.
Its several lag on load time when scrolling. That the database lacks almost anything that is specialty or modern technology. Pricing is a joke at best and forces me to struggle with almost every proposal (FYI, I have been using this product since it was just a book). The annual cost increases are always a sticker shock. I understand as a product grows in popularity and comprehensiveness that there is a need for cost increase for the logistics of it alone, but the price increases seem to jump by leaps and bounds. This can be very hard to encumber, especially when used for a contract that is not as lucrative but requires your software.
I teach an online class every year during a 10-weeks summer quarter at the University of Washington. During the class period, I bring the students to know and learn most of the details about RSMeans in order to let them know how to use it to do cost estimating for heavy civil projects. Later on, they let their companies know about it and possibly have full subscription (i.e. I am marketing on behalf of RSMeans). However, students have to pay one-full year of subscription to use the software for 10 weeks. They have been blaming me for the high cost for the short period of time use!
I would not be able to use the educational version that you offer because it is limited and will not be helpful for my graduate class.
I would highly suggest offering a tailored product in which data is tailored to the need of education, for a limited time for a partial cost. McGraw Hill offers educators to make e-book from a combination of chapters of several books. The ebook is purchased for a partial price for a limited time.
Alternatively, i would highly suggest offering a prior year data at a discounted cost to be used for a limited time. For example, offer subscribing to 2017 or 2018 base data (without quarter update) at a discount. This would help students getting to know how the software work and use the old data to do the estimates.
You could offer access that expires after certain date. Teachers could supply student names in an online form that you used to verify the subscription.
Organization of the estimating items based on the Masterformat.
Comprehensive list of the estimating items.
Ability to verify estimates using the crew listing and the crew production rates.
Some estimating items should be available in both the commercial and heavy civil products, but it is only available in the commercial offer.
The Definitive Resource for Effective Cost Management
The benefits to my customers are numerous. From the ability to understand through the use of cost models for construction costs, my clients are better able to make decisions. The ability to manage my plants facility costs are also a key deliverable.
This software is the foundation for my entire business offering. It is a highly regarded cost database in almost every industry. The ability to understand impacts of geographic location and timing are unprecedented in the software industry. The full range of the offering by RS means online is a very important standardization across multiple sectors. I highly recommend the software to any company or person that is responsible for cost management activities in their business.
There are no negatives to the software. It takes a while to truly understand how do you manipulate the data sequence but again it is without any constructive defect.
RWU CM Program / Academic User
Frequent database updates and ease of use.
The biggest issue is the lack of ability to modify user accounts in bulk. It takes me 5 minutes to delete a single user license. I need to add and delete up to 60 users every 6 months. It takes me days to add and delete these users to our organization account. This is a major issue for us. We also hope that RS Means will recognize the value of customers like Roger Williams University’s Construction Management Program as an academic/educational user. We train and graduate 40-50 construction management professionals every year and have been teaching them RS Means in multiple courses. As a leading construction management education provider we receive free educational licenses for almost all of our specialized software packages. That is not the case for RS Means. Thanks to CSR we have been getting a discounted set of licenses over multiple years. However, if it was not for him personally advocating for us, it seems unlikely that the remaining team at RS Means would support such access for us.
RSMeans Data online user feedback
We use RSMeans Data online in different courses in the construction project management program. It a great online cost data and great tool have it.
The software has different levels of estimating (square foot estimate at early phase of project during feasibility study, assembly estimate during schematic phase and unit price for detailed estimate). Ease to use, and exporting report to MSExcel.
It is all in imperial units (inches, feet, square foot etc..). There is no feature in the software to convert imperial unit to metric unit and the user must have an option to either work in imperial unit or metric unit. All construction drawing in Canada are in metric unit. Second, if someone works in imperial unit and generates a report, there must a feature in software to easily convert the result or report to metric unit. Third,there must be a feature in the software that enable the user to integrate the online cost data to AutoCAD, Revit, MSProject, Primavera Project Planner P6, Primavera Risk Management and other construction management software etc...
Would like more clarity on when/why certain components drop out of the SF model...
I'm estimating building components for the purpose of assigning different depreciation recovery periods for federal tax purposes. I've used this tool since it came out and have used RS Means data (formerly the books) my entire career (over 35 years).
1) I like that we can tweak the individual components within the SF model.
2) I like being able to take an existing model I've created in past years and update it with current (or whatever year is relevant) costs to create an estimate for a different year version.
1) Historically, the cost of this tool has skyrocketed much faster than inflation every year.
2) Sometimes we make square foot models and the output doesn’t include costs for what I would assume are key parts of the building. We’ve had issues in the past with roof structure not being a part of the model but recently I generated a model that didn’t have costs for interior partitions, even though it most definitely should have. Is there a way for them to tell us which models exclude certain costs? Sometimes these are difficult to catch in our reviews.
shared Data Base
The access to all the trades and the ability to match items to specifications has been a great help. also being able to retrieve old proposals and have them update quickly
I also have the JOC software from RS Means which no one at RS Means seams to understand and they have tied my passwords to the same account but if I am locked out of one I can not get in the other one.
Then all the tech know how to fix this is delete all your cookies. these are place markers for other programs and be cause of the failed IT side of this it makes it hard to accept it as a leader.
Excellent source for labor, material and equipment cost
The cost for this online product is very economical. I am a cost consultant with over 40 years of experience that does work throughout the United States and would not consider any other construction cost software that suits my needs. I also like the online webinar's that features major trends in construction.
Easy to use! Enter your location at the entry screen, save and close and proceed to getting regional cost.
This is a tough question! This software improves ever year. I used to hate how I would have to log back in to the software when I had left it idle, now its not a problem with the new "idle" mode - Thanks!
Major client requires use of RS Means as basis for change order development and certification in their standard contract. Many civil utility contractors are reluctant to use the software because they base change in daily costs, based on resources in use on the project at the time the need for change is ID'd. They do not base their unit rate pricing on actual field conditions encountered at time change is identified, so they have trouble to, or do not wish to, use RS Means as the basis for their change proposal. This creates a problem for us as Owner's Rep to build a change order estimate that is readily comparable to contractor's proposal.
Wide selection of items ... recognizing that it is impossible to have every item included, the software developer tries to have a broad range of common sense construction items covered
Not much to dislike. For some of my needs for taking data from the software and putting it into the client required format, the cut-and-paste attempts are blocked or do not function.
Keep Up to Date
I started using the RSMeans books many years ago as a Facilities Engineer. They were excruciatingly difficult to use; they are expensive and do not update. When the opportunity arose to use RSMeans on-line, I took it. As a Buyer/Engineer for Aerospace I needed up to date information for bid justifications and comparison. As a Consultant doing facilities cost estimating for the Navy, I need the most up to date information I can get. RSMeans on-line provides me with that information.
The ease of using and the quaterly updates.
Obvously everthing is not in the data base. So I may have to estimate and get close to use a line item.
I was tasked to gather reliable quotes for new construction and renovations to buildings, wastewater treatment plants and other items based on a provided damage report and memo. I found that RS Means was exceptionally reliable in providing quotes for buildings (i.e. drywall, receptacle, windows, doors, lighting etc.). My main problem and realization with RS Means were that I had to contact manufacturing and distributing companies to gather quotes for the larger more expensive equipment that are housed in wastewater facilities. I can only image that RS Means do not have a major need to have those types of quotes, but it would help to fully round out a great software tool. My overall experience with RS Means was positive regardless of the minor limitation.
I liked the ease of picking up the software functionality for gathering reasonable quotes for new and renovations to buildings, streets and treatment plants.
At times I found that the software was lacking in overall speed when loading requested search items. I was able to minimize this issue by refining my search request as best I could but for new users attempting to compare all items of a requested search it will slow down RS Means, and you would have to wait until the system loads the various items. This was mainly an issue when I had over 700 results for a single search.
Most Comprehensive Cost Database Ever
I have been using the product for over 10 years for construction cost estimates after I stopped using the data books. Using the search engine for items and having the in-built estimator software makes my work easier.
Ease of use, search engine, features and functionality
RSMeans is most often behind in incorporating new materials on the market in the product.