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Frequently Asked Questions

Is the software for sale?

Sorry. We only sell subscriptions to our web based application software. This could change in the future, but right now we would rather spend our time increasing functionality of our products and developing new applications.

What are the technologies underlying your web based project management software?

The user interface uses a model-view-controller paradigm and is 100% java. Objects include JSPs, Servlets, beans, and helper and utility classes. A relational database management system is used to store and retrieve data. All data entry forms, reports, beans, and data access utility classes were created by our Software Factory which is a proprietary tool kit for creating SaaS applications.

I selected a project but the system won't let me proceed

After you select a project by clicking its radio button, you must click the Change Current Project Button located above the list of projects.

How do I print a report?

Each report has a Printer Friendly Report Button at the top of its page. Click this button to display a report minus the @estimate header at the top and without the action menu on the left. Then select your browser's Print Set-Up, which is usually found within your browser's File Menu, and adjust the margins to your liking; also choose portrait or landscape according to your preference. The report will automatically extend to fit the margins available. Then select your browser's Print button. To return to @estimate, select your browser's Back Button

If I leave @estimate and go to another site in my browser, do I have to login again when I return?

You will not have to login again unless your session has timed out due to 20 minutes of inactivity.

I tried to loggin in to the system and a message says that I have been locked out.

This means that one of the estimate administrators in your organization has locked you out of the sytem for what ever reason. Please contact them for an explanation.

I have logged on and don't see any projects to select.

If your role is reviewer, editor, or contractor, your estimate administrator has not assigned you to any projects. Please contact your estimate administrator.

If I am in the middle of entering data and select an item in the action menu will anything bad happen because I didn't use the cancel button?

You will lose the data you have entered on the form, the same as if you had hit the cancel button. At any time that you are using our software, you can select a menu item without causing a problem. You do not have to back out of window in the same path that you arrived at a window. Click a menu item whenever you desire without a problem.

What is Top-Down estimating?

This is an estimating technique often used to develop a quick, rough estimate at the conceptual stage of a project. There can be a wide range in the granularity of this kind of estimate and the estimate can be further refined as the project progresses through to acceptance by the buyer.

For example, your experience might indicate that a typical house of a particular style in a particular area might cost 75 dollars per square foot to build. So a 2,000 sq. ft. house might be estimated to cost about $150,000 to build.

More typically, you would develop several major areas or prime accounts such as site preparation, foundation work, framing, roofing, plumbing, electrical etc. and each of these might be associated with a "project unit" such as square feet of living area of the house, or each prime account might have its own units such as number of bath-rooms for plumbing and tiling estimates. According to your requirements you can further decompose your estimate to try to achieve an estimate with a higher probability or certainty as is required. For example, you might you might estimate the number of sinks, tubs and other plumbing fixtures and have a labor and material factor based on these quantities.

To summarize, Top-Down estimating is the process of developing an estimate of the costs of a project based on knowledge or data gathered from similar projects. Parameters or units of measure of what is being produced or installed are used and factored to create the estimate. Examples of units of measure are square meters of clean-room area, number of rooms in a hotel, the capacities or output volumes of unit operations, lines-of-code in a program, numbers of data elements in a database, or other characteristics of the system relevant to estimating its cost.

What is Bottom-Up Estimating

This is more detailed estimating than Top-Down Estimating (see above). In both cases the amount of detail is governed by the amount of information you have and your need for accuracy. Bottom-Up estimating usually entails performing "take offs" of materials from design drawings including such things as dimensions of concrete and individual piping elelments. This means that Bottom-Up Estimating is usually performed later in the design process.