On Center Software

On Center Software provides software and training to construction industry professionals in 60 countries. Founded in The Woodlands Texas, over 29 years ago, the company’s mission is to transform the estimating, takeoff, and labor-tracking experience of construction professionals with comprehensive software solutions that turn winning bids into profitable projects. On Center Software solutions include Oasis Takeoff® and Oasis FieldCenter®, On-Screen Takeoff®, Quick Bid®, and Digital Production Control®. On Center Software is now a subsidiary of Roper Technologies, a constituent of the S&P 500, Fortune 1000, and the Russell 1000 indices. For more information, visit On Center Software or call 1.800.880.8254.


BIMMore Like This

No doubt, there are many moving parts to any construction project — whether it is a high-rise apartment tower or a housing development. As a contractor, a big part of your job is to document the project and keep stakeholders up to date with photos and on-site tours. Wouldn’t this be easier if you could use an app that delivered a 360-degree photo of your project to share with clients? Or even better — what if you could see inside the walls of a building using photos taken earlier in the construction process?

Clearly, this is an exciting time for those who are eager to embrace emerging construction technology like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR/AR). Even though this technology has been on the horizon for a while, its potential has not gone unnoticed. A report released by Goldman Sachs in 2016 predicted that the AR/VR market in the U.S. could be as large as $182 billion by 2025. The report cites some construction companies are already seeing ways the technology can be useful in the pre-construction stage.

BIM Leads the Way

One thing everyone can agree on is the potential for this technology to save real money for construction companies and solve critical challenges. Some contractors today are already seeing the benefits: faster project completion, less rework, improved safety, lower labor cost, issues resolved faster and improved quality. As this technology continues to save time and money, you will begin to see greater acceptance.

In fact, the wider acceptance of 3D and Building Information Modeling (BIM) may signal a push in the industry toward more contractors using this ground-breaking technology. Its potential to change the way projects are designed and built is awe-inspiring. While tablets at construction sites are nothing new, the possibility of integrating digital content with real-world images opens up new possibilities for how contractors plan work, quality management, safety and inspection.

A Closer Look at AR and VR

Let’s take a deeper dive into these two technologies and how they are being used in the construction industry.
Augmented Reality (AR) is any technology that superimposes spatially contextual information over the user’s view of the real world, providing additional data while still permitting interaction with the real environment. With AR, a designer can overlay an interactive design model on the real, live environment.

The most practical implications for AR is that a project manager or contractor could walk through a construction site and easily view an overlay of a BIM model on top of as-built construction. They could then compare the two while also accessing up-to-date change orders or other project documentation. The project manager could instantly take pictures or record video of the AR walk-through and send it back to the design team for clarification as issues arise. Some believe that AR will do for BIM what BIM did for CAD and 2D architectural drawing.

By comparison, Virtual Reality (VR) is a computer-simulated environment that allows you to interact in a realistic and/or physical way within the environment. With VR, you wear a virtual reality visor and become immersed as it replaces the real-world with a computer-generated environment.

In theory, moving to VR should be easy since architects and engineers already create digital models of their designs. But experts say these existing models will likely need to be augmented or even rebuilt to be used for VR. Some of the strongest arguments for AR and VR center on the potential for engineering design and project collaboration. This means all parties involved in a project could meet and resolve any issues in a virtual building that is being designed. With everyone present, you could alter the design in a shared space.

What’s Driving the Market?

Much of the interest in AR and VR has to do with its potential for cost- and time-savings to streamline processes. Here are some of the potential benefits of this evolving technology:

  • Ideas for customers, planners, investors and other critical stakeholders can be quickly visualized by architects and developers
  • These groups can more easily discuss changes and up-sell to more costly options
  • It also helps to reduce expensive late-stage changes because you can more easily explore and evaluate options at any stage
  • It can improve early-stage collaboration between architects, engineers and construction specialists

The Next Big Thing

We can all agree that estimating has come a long way since manual takeoff with colored pencils and calculators. It has not been that long since the construction industry began to embrace digital takeoff and estimating tools and BIM. This technology has led to great leaps in speed and accuracy — allowing estimators to bid and win work more quickly.

To take things to the next level, the construction industry will need to connect modeling and estimating software so they can take full advantage of the promise of AR and VR solutions. This change will likely disrupt what estimators and project managers do and how it is done — just as digital takeoff and BIM have revolutionized and sped up the entire building design process.
Just like the hype around AR and VR, the market is saturated with noise around BIM and its impact on traditional 2D estimators. Let On Center Software help you grapple with this next-generation technology. Don’t miss our must-read white paper, “Is Takeoff Dead?

Download “Is Takeoff Dead?” now.

With a strong economy comes more opportunities to bid work and increased pressure on estimators to win more work. No doubt, this is great news for contractors and the construction industry. But does volume bidding always increase your win rate and improve your bottom line? Not necessarily. Especially if those estimates leave your business exposed to risk when it comes to quality of work and accuracy. Continue »

Let’s face it, when it comes to bidding, there is nothing more important than obtaining accurate project estimating numbers. Right? OK, forget for a minute the square foot price of drywall ceiling. What you should be concentrating on is how all construction costs—from direct and indirect costs to labor rates and overhead and profit—are calculated. If your estimators, accounting department, project managers and office staff are still ball-parking numbers, they should take a step back and examine how they arrived at these figures. Continue »

“Winning is not a sometime thing…it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while…you don’t do the right thing once in a while…you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.” ~ Vince Lombardi

The tough-minded approach of what it takes to be successful as quoted by Coach Lombardi easily translates to building a winning bid. Getting the estimate right isn’t something you should do once in a while. It is something you should do all the time. The results of this type of focused effort and consistency should pay off on bid day. Unfortunately, for many companies, winning on bid day is a sometime thing.

When it comes to bid day, here are some tips to improve your chances of winning. Following these simple guidelines will result in a stronger relationship between you and your client (general contractor, construction manager, owner, or trade contractor).


  1. Be intentional with your documentation. Make your attachments clear and relatable, meaning add a snippet of a drawing to show specific things you have covered in your bid, specifically those hidden items others might have missed.
  2. Show your real scope. Don’t hold back. This is the time to make sure you are telling the client about how your work will be complete against what they asked for.
  3. Disclaim with care. Don’t emphasize the “Disclaimers” or “Not Included;” sure they need to be there, but the point is to sell your strengths and specialties first and disclaim after establishing value.
  4. Remember your mistakes. What did this client berate you on last time? Did they complain that you didn’t include cleanup, layout or some other unique item this client needs? If you can’t think of any mistakes made, you’re probably not getting the critical feedback that you need.
  5. Show your real details. Yes, show your quantities! Do you really think that you are the only one who knows how to take off concrete curbs, door frames, volume of rebar or whatever your scope is? How many times does your client call you back to ask, “Hey, did you include XYZ?” Pro tip: When you over communicate to your client as to what you include, it will overshadow your exclusions.
  6. Show the project schedule. Submitting number of days to complete isn’t the end. They want to know what to expect by seeing an itemized project schedule and check scope for efficiency. Such level of detail is not easy to produce, but that’s how you win. Imagine giving your client not only the number of person hours but also the sequencing of when you expect them to be ready for your crews.
  7. Show that you read the specs. Demonstrate your respect and knowledge of the project’s goals by referencing the specs as part of your decision-making process. Of course, this means that you actually have to read the specs.
  8. Don’t just go through the motions. Respond promptly to the RFI, RFQ or ITB request by fully completing the form. You should have already asked them prior to bid day why they need the information they’ve requested. That way, if there’s any issue with the information they ask for, you can respond with a note reminding the client how you already resolved this issue.
  9. Check in on bid day. Call them earlier in the day, advise them you are completing your bid and you will have it to them by a certain time. Ask once again if other things have changed with the bid, due date, time of bid, duration of the project or other questions that show them you are not only interested in but also knowledgeable of the project.
  10. Anticipate the other trades needs. If you really want to get out there, think how your trade/scope of work interrelates with another contractor’s trade/scope of work and show the client some specifics of how you will accommodate their interactions with your work. For example, you could say, “We have included a plan for the electrician to deal with their significant main conduits in the hallway and we will frame and rock the hallway side immediately so they can have access.” Though it may seem premature for the project, it makes you look like a better fit. Not only are you concerned with completing your work on time, you’re a team player interested in seeing the work of others succeed.

Now that you’re prepared to win a spot on the team, learn how to improve your game.

Moneyball Tips For Construction Managers

BIMMore Like This

It’s ironic to think how a clunky desktop computer running Lotus 1-2-3 was once considered a revolutionary leap forward for the construction industry. Then came Microsoft Excel and the real game-changer, the internet. We’re again at the brink of another major milestone: the continued integration of takeoff functionality in BIM systems. Continue »

MobileMore Like This

It may be hard to believe, but Apple’s iPhone was launched ten years ago, in 2007. Rarely has one product generated so much innovation in mini-computers, texting, social media, cell phone technology, cameras, weather forecasts, storm tracking, and the ability to hail an Uber driver. The iPhone gave rise to thousands of apps, competitors and entirely new industries. Continue »

In recent years, the construction industry has been bombarded with new software solutions that advertise they are the fastest, greatest, cheapest, most mobile and user-friendly products.

What makes software companies different? Take a look at the company’s history. Construction software should focus on a contractor’s specific business needs, not the current “app buzz of the month.”
Continue »

Every new year brings resolutions, predictions, and anticipation of what lies ahead.  Last year was a strong year for construction. The industry saw the largest increase in construction starts since the economic downturn. Companies began exploring how to grow with an unbalanced project opportunity and labor load. More work means more profit in 2017, right? Continue »

The intersection of an aging workforce and market demands for new technology solutions necessitates the development of a new breed of construction executive. Learn the skill set necessary to become a construction executive who can manage multiple assets, increase efficiency and minimize errors. Continue »