As an electrical estimator, Gary Bradley spent 34 years counting blueprint symbols with a magnifying glass, a pack of highlighters, and a clicker. After searching in vain for a better solution, Bradley, now the CEO of Brighton, Mich.-based E/T Software, invented a software program that searches, identifies, and counts symbols automatically.
Bradley worked for two years to develop the modeling and the specs for the software program. He then collaborated with Silenus Group, a software development and integration firm, to launch electroFind in October 2002 at the NECA show in Chicago.
Like many other electrical estimators, he remembers working with “cattle counters” to add up symbols on a blueprint. Each time he came across a certain item, such as a Type A light, he'd click the button on the top of the round device. Soon, the digitizer board helped expedite the process, but it still required the manual task of tapping each symbol. Bradley took that concept one step further by creating a program that automates the takeoff process for estimators, project managers, and electricians.
“Estimators can now move away from the little clickers and markers to technology that searches symbols for them,” Bradley says.
To use the software program, users must first obtain the drawing in a digital format. They can either scan in the drawing or download it from the Web, open it in electroFind, and identify the symbols. The software program then locates, counts, and color-codes each symbol using one of 42 colors, and organizes the counts by sheets, locations, and alternates.
Users can also apply runs and calculate length, including rise and fall. After the contractor has won the job, these color-coded lines can be used for installation or shop drawings, and then modified for as-built drawings on the back end.
“It's a large leap in productivity for estimators,” Bradley says. “This software helps the estimator from takeoff to turnover.”
For more information on electroFind, visit www.etsoftware.biz
electroFind draws and measures runs and searches electronic files of drawings, creating takeoff schedules by finding and counting symbols.
Locates, colors, and counts symbols per estimator specifications.
Draws, applies, and measures runs.
Creates documentation for warranty and maintenance issues.
Produces reports broken out by sheets, locations, and/or alternates.
Recommended System Requirements
Operating System: Windows 2000
Processor: 2 GHz
Memory: 1 GB RAM