Posts

Calculating Scaffolding Materials and Cost

Calculating Scaffolding Materials and Cost

Material and cost calculations form a major part of a scaffolding business. They allow a company to track its scaffolding inventory and furnish jobs with adequate materials at the most profitable rate. 

However, many companies still rely on legacy methods like manual scaffold design and material calculation.

You know how frustrating it can be when just a small mistake results in expensive rework. Worse, you end up wasting precious time to amend your mistakes and can even lose credibility among your customers.

That’s why it’s so important to get your calculations right, the first time. This is where modern, industry-specific software can be beneficial.

Want to know more? You’re in the right place, just keep reading!

Challenges with Current Scaffolding Material and Cost Calculation Methods

No doubt, relying on established scaffolding material and cost calculation is convenient as everyone in your organization is used to the inner workings of your company. 

But familiarity doesn’t always translate into improved efficiency. 

To address the challenges with current calculation methods, first let’s visualize how scaffolding jobs come about and are usually managed.

Disconnect Between Scaffolding Design and Material Calculation

Scenario: Perhaps a client has approached you with a scaffolding proposal request. Or maybe there’s a new scaffolding bid that you’ve got your sights on. No matter the case, the next step would be to design scaffolding as per project requirements.

 

But to design and calculate scaffolding materials, you must gather building information like planned use, total working area, height and length of scaffolding, maximum live and dead load weight. Then, proceed with designing the scaffolding using one of the two methods below: 

 

Method 1: Given the complexity of non-industry-specific software like AutoCAD, you may still resort to low-tech hand-drawn scaffolding design, which is then counted manually for the Bill of Materials (BOM).

 

However, manually sourcing and inputting this information poses a risk of data inaccuracy. And more complex designs only lead to a higher risk of human error in calculating scaffolding materials manually.

On the other hand, many companies also use a more modernized approach to designing scaffolds and counting materials.  

 

Method 2: Non-industry-specific solutions like AutoCAD are widely used to design scaffolding. But these solutions lack capabilities needed by scaffolding companies. For example, AutoCAD only gets the designing part right; the same can’t be said for material calculation. You must then integrate AutoCAD with a counter app to get the BOM.

 

The distinct disconnect between manual scaffolding design process and material calculation will only result in design rework and delayed building time. 

Inaccurate Material Calculation Leads to Inaccurate Cost Estimates

After scaffolding design and material calculation comes cost estimation. A competitive estimate is one of the keys to landing that bid and getting the proposal approved by clients. 

But let’s face it, the scaffolding industry and its competitive bidding nature may cause companies to underestimate the project scope and rush through the entire process. Coupled with a disconnected scaffolding system, just a small design inaccuracy can lead to expensive material and cost miscalculations. 

Does the scenario below seem familiar? 

 

Scenario: In the heat of getting the scaffolding proposal done, you overlooked the fact that the job site is on a sloping surface. In your design, you used normal base jacks instead of swivel jacks. 

 

The business then needs to go back to the drawing board (literally, if you’re using manual design and counting methods) to correct the cost estimation.

A worst-case scenario would be to send the wrong materials to a job site. These mistakes mean spending more time on the job site and expending more on labor costs, which translates into higher operating costs. 

This was the case with one of our own customers, Skyline Scaffold. Manual equipment counting was not only tedious, it also led to inaccurate designs. As a result, designs had to be amended at the very last minute. In the worst-case scenario, jobs were sometimes postponed too.  

We saw lower returns, higher freight costs and higher design costs. We also had higher labor costs when we had to make a design change, adapt systems halfway through a project or spend extra time in the yard separating rented equipment from our own.

Jeff Remfert, General Manager of Skyline Scaffold

Read More: Case Study: Skyline Scaffold

Disconnect Between Scaffolding Material and Labor Cost Calculation

But equipment and materials alone don’t contribute to the total scaffolding cost. Labor costs also play a huge part. It’s often calculated using scaffold metrics such as total weight, the number of pieces, or even the scaffolding volume. 

 

Scenario: Based on your previous projects, it takes about 10 man-hours to assemble and disassemble each cubic metre of scaffolding. Once you’ve finalized the design, you then proceed to calculate the estimated labor cost according to that standard. Unfortunately, you’ve accidentally miscalculated scaffolding materials required. 

 

When there’s a scaffold metric miscalculation, you’ll also have an inaccurate estimation of labor cost. If left unrectified – in a worst-case scenario – you may even be working at a loss. 

In the scaffolding field, seemingly simple mistakes can add up and lead to increased costs and a less-than-stellar reputation among your customers.  

Avontus: A Modern and Industry-Specific Solution

If manual scaffolding operations are how things are done in your company, then it’s high time that you broke the mold.

Why? Well, the last thing you need is poor efficiency and even poorer profit margins becoming the norm in your organization.

Remember the modern and industry-specific solution that we discussed in the beginning?

That’s how you’re going to upgrade your scaffolding material and cost calculations in line with the industry’s fast-paced and competitive nature. 

With this approach, your scaffolding business can benefit from the following:

Fast Data Capture

Fast-paced industry requires fast information capturing. So out with that manual measuring and inputting of building information. A modern and industry-specific solution should be able to instantly import plans. 

Avontus’ Scaffold Designer does just that. Just import the building plan in PDF, AutoCAD formats, or even satellite images; then, drag and drop scaffolds into place. Not only does it save time, instant plan importing greatly improves design accuracy too.  

In the Import/Export tab, select the type of file with your building information that you want to import. 

Information Customizability

Your projects come with varying requirements. Sticking with a one-size-fits-all manual approach can limit your capability as a scaffolding business. So, your modern and industry-specific solution should also allow the customization of project information.

For example, some of the important information that must be present in the materials database for easy identification are part numbers, dimensions, and descriptions. This database must be customizable, as you might need to customize the BOM based on the materials that you’re using for a project.

With Scaffold Designer, you can customize the materials database and easily add components (e.g. emergency exit route, rescue and loading platform, etc.) into your scaffolding designs. 

Not only can you generate a BOM for each scaffold design created, you can also edit it to add parts, modify quantities, or change the description of a part. 

Error-Free, Integrated Materials and Cost Calculation

As stated earlier, scaffolding design is followed by material calculation and cost estimation. Wouldn’t it be better if these processes were integrated for seamless operations? With an industry-specific and modern solution, you can easily bring together different aspects of your business. 

That’s why we enabled Scaffold Designer to be integrated with Quantify, our scaffold inventory management system. Now, you can instantly create estimates based on your BOM while viewing the available inventory balance. 

Integrate Scaffold Designer with Quantify to seamlessly transition from design to material calculation to cost estimation. 

Accurate Scope Visualization and Confirmation

It’s only logical that you share your scaffolding plan with your clients to ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding project requirements. Scaffold Designer allows you to create and export living models (2D plans and 3D models) into various formats (e.g. PDF, 3D, and 2D DWG). 

Customers will then be able to see every aspect of the design. For example, maybe you included a compact 8-leg stair tower in your plan instead of a stacked one.

With a living model, customers can request for design modifications before men and materials hit the job site. Once they’re satisfied with your plan and estimate, instantly turn them into a shipment and you’re ready for that job.

Export your design into 3D PDF format and share it with your customers for confirmation before proceeding with work.

Upgrade Your Material and Cost Calculation Methods

When you get the scaffolding design right, the corresponding material and cost calculation will be accurate too, especially if you use an integrated scaffolding system. 

Overall, inaccuracies and inefficiencies are minimized while productivity and profitability are maximized.  

With all the added capabilities afforded by Avontus, isn’t it high time that you’ve upgraded your scaffolding materials and cost calculating system? 

Contact our team and we’ll show you how to nail your estimates and win more bids with modern scaffolding software.

Read More: Introduction to Estimating Scaffold Materials & Costs with Scaffold Designer

avontus beatmyscaffold 2019

The #BeatMyScaffold Contest Has Found Its Champion!

After a month of inspiration-filled and scaffolding-packed design submissions, the #BeatMyScaffold Contest finally came to a close last October. Fifteen contenders went head-to-head with their best scaffold designs in a bid to win a brand new DJI Phantom 4 Drone worth $1,399 and to be crowned the “Ultimate Scaffold Designer.” It was an exciting contest that had us on the edge of our seats!

If you are new to the #BeatMyScaffold Contest, here is how it worked. Contestants were required to submit their most innovative, complex or creative Avontus® Scaffold Designer project to our contest page via their Facebook account. Contestants then had the opportunity to share their designs with their friends and family to earn votes. At the end of the contest period, the entry with the most Facebook votes won! 

Scaffold Designer 2020 releases update with enhanced 3D capabilities and functionality. Read more about it here.

Through the contest, we were able to showcase the amazing work from Avontus customers to over 20,000 social followers. We were in awe of many breakthrough designs created with Scaffold Designer, and the whopping 400 vote count is a testament to their capabilities. And while everyone enjoyed the opportunity to win Facebook fame and glory, only one winner was lucky enough to take home the grand prize of a DJI Phantom 4 Drone.

And now, to announce the winner…

avontus beatmyscaffold 2019 contest winner

 

The award goes to Brandon Marton from Hinton Scaffold Solution Inc! Congratulations Brandon! You made the impossible possible. Halfway through the #BeatMyScaffold Contest, you stole the number 1 spot and ended strong with over 100 votes! We have seen your multiple Facebook shares to try to get those votes and evidently, your hard work has paid off.

scaffold design for wastewater digester tank

Brandon’s winning scaffold design

 

Check out that fantastic design! We decided to check in with Brandon for a few words about his project so that we could get a better understanding of how he did it.

  1. What project was it for?
    The project was for a wastewater digester tank for the city. The contractor required access to clean the entire interior, then replace the roof of the tank and re-insulate and seal.

  2. Were there any challenges?
    The challenge for us was to demonstrate the two phases of the project clearly and show how we would provide access to a sloped bottom entering from the top manhole in a confined space.

  3. How did Scaffold Designer help you with the project?
    We were able to clearly demonstrate our concepts and the different phases of the project wholly due to our use of Avontus Scaffold Designer. Without the ability to show the model in 3D and provide the drawings, the client was having difficulty from our competitors to understand how their project needs would be facilitated.

  4. Has the project been completed?
    Yes, this project was completed earlier this year.

 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the rest of our contestants for contributing their amazing designs and making the #BeatMyScaffold Contest a success! Next year, we will be sure to add more exciting prizes to spice up the contest in its second year. So, stay tuned!

Don’t forget to check out all the awesome designs from the #BeatMyScaffold Contest via the all-new Scaffold Designer Gallery.

 

Scaffold Designer's new Training Video Player allows users to learn the software quickly.

Avontus Scaffold Designer 2020: Enhanced 3D Design Capabilities and Streamlined UX

3D technology is paramount for successful scaffold design and visualization. It helps you to catch mistakes and fine-tune your blueprint before your scaffold goes up.

But generic 3D modelling solutions are inefficient, costly, and time consuming. With the technology available today, there’s no reason you should have to spend hours designing a scaffold, or even more counting the materials.

That’s why we’re now releasing a revamped version of Scaffolding Designer 2020 – a dedicated and easy-to-use scaffolding solution with enhanced 3D capabilities that rival high-end CAD software. 

Scaffold Designer 2020 also includes exciting new UI/UX refinements like an in-app Training Video Player with over 20 bite-sized tutorial videos, new vector icons, and streamlined ribbon navigation for an intuitive and faster software experience. 

Continue reading to learn about additional feature enhancements and bug fixes. 

New Feature: Enhanced 3D Capabilities 

We know how important 3D technology is for visualizing your scaffold designs. Yet, you shouldn’t have to spend weeks (or more) learning CAD software or hours designing 3D models for project proposals. 

That’s why we’ve added enhanced 3D capabilities to our industry-leading scaffolding design software. Now, you get many of the features you’d expect to find in a premium CAD software, along with the unparalleled ease of use you’ve come to expect from Avontus software.

  • New shading modes (e.g. Realistic, Flat, Hidden Lines, etc.) have been added to 3D model view, enabling you to create vector-sharp views of the 3D model from a raster copy.
New shading modes are available with Scaffold Designer 2020 3D model view.

  • New toolbar has been designed for 3D conceptual and model views. Toolbar icon size can be customized in Options menu.
New Scaffold Designer toolbar has 3D conceptual and model views.

  • Added export to 3D PDF for conceptual and model views. Exported files can now be viewed in full 3D using Acrobat PDF Reader with no other application required.
Export your design to 3D PDF format for conceptual and model views.

New Feature: Powerful New User Experience

Our new release also includes UI/UX refinements – one of them is our new in-app Training Video Player. With over 20 short tutorials that are topic-focused and developed from real support cases, you can quickly learn the ins and outs of Scaffold Designer 2020. 

Its side-by-side viewing mode enables you to watch the tutorial videos while interacting with the software at the same time. This maximizes your time and makes it easier to get up to speed on the software. Learn the software basics fast and dive deep into each tutorial video at your leisure. 

No more searching for videos on YouTube or pouring through support documents. All the help you need in a simplified, one-stop application.

Scaffold Designer's new Training Video Player allows users to learn the software quickly.

Old bitmap icons have also been replaced with newer vector icons to enhance clarity, consistency, and system performance. And with a streamlined Import/Export ribbon navigation, all your import/export needs are contained in a centralized tab for a more intuitive user interface and faster user experience.

Streamlined Import/Export ribbon navigation ensures that all your import/export needs are contained in a centralized tab.

Enhancements

We’ve also improved existing features: 

  • Standard (vertical posts) calculations have been enhanced to optimize material usage. 
  • Bay size material drop downs in the Scaffold ribbon tab now show description and part number to help you quickly identify the horizontals used for a selected bay.

Bug Fixes

Yes, we heard your requests loud and clear and have fixed the following bugs: 

Smarter design creation and editing 

  • Base collars are now not added when screwjacks are removed from verticals. 
  • Sill boards are no longer added to legs with casters.
  • Updated and corrected the weights on Kwikstage wood planks and wood toe boards.
  • Ledgers longer than 2m are now automatically converted to double-ledger or truss (whichever is available), unless there is an override value in Bay Level Editor.
  • Fixed the issue with grouped building shapes not drawing correctly in 3D views or being placed in the wrong location.
  • Fixed the issue with drawing flipped (vertical or horizontal) building shapes in 3D view.

 

Clearer UI

  • Convert to Connector Bay has been removed from under New Connector Bay and is now under Edit Bays group.

 

Improved software performance

  • 3D model view now automatically resets and clears when crashing due to an internal error.
  • Fixed a bug in Material Master when resetting to default materials causing some materials to lose accuracy.

See Your Success Clearly with Scaffold Designer 2020

Master our brand-new Scaffold Designer 2020 program in minutes and bring your scaffold designs to life in seconds. 

Have suggestions for our scaffolding solutions? Let us know your thoughts here

To view system requirement for Scaffold Designer 2020, click here

Carpenters Scaffolding and Solar Conference 2019

Visualize for Success: AR/VR Solutions in Scaffolding Design

Scaffolding visualization is the key to project success. From bidding and proposals in the boardroom to safety and assembly at the job site, the ability to effectively visualize scaffolding can have a major impact on your win-rate and profitability. 

Overly complicated proposals. Misunderstandings over project scope. Budget overruns due to scaffolding modifications. Scaffolding companies must overcome many costly issues to ensure profitability. 

Scaffolding visualization gives you a blueprint for success to help you overcome all of these obstacles. With today’s technologies, you have the power to bring your scaffold design to life in full augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR). 

As part of a panel of speakers, Avontus’ VP of Operations Andrew Smith shared valuable insights into scaffolding design software and its benefits at the UBC Scaffolding and Solar Conference 2019.

UBC Scaffolding and Solar Conference 2019
Avontus’ VP of Operations Andrew Smith at the UBC Scaffolding and Solar Conference 2019.

Learn how to visualize success with AR/VR in scaffolding from our conference recap below. 

Visualize for Safety 

When transitioning a scaffold model from paper sketch to the job site, information can get lost in translation. It isn’t easy to prescribe technical requirements of a complex structure with a two-dimensional illustration, let alone assessing its safety assurance.   

The communications gap between scaffold users and contractors can cause serious safety hazards, such as missing decks or open holes. And these issues often surface at handover, resulting in costly change orders and modifications. 

scaffold designer 3D model
3D Scaffold Model through Scaffold Viewer

Overcome the safety concerns with Avontus’ Scaffold Viewer. Simply upload your scaffolding model to have it visualized in a three-dimensional (3D) illustration. Scaffold Viewer enables a “virtual handover” and “virtual modification/variation” to catch issues before men and materials hit the job site, saving labor cost, equipment waste, and delay. You can review the scaffold model with the whole team, no more confusion and frustration over unclear project requirements. 

Visualize for Scope 

Scaffolds can sometimes take months to erect, which means a great deal of knowledge has to be recreated through work in progress. As the plan departs from the initial scope, the “field designed” scaffolding may not align with what you original priced, impacting your margin and risking delays that upset the customer. 

Are you struggling to deliver scaffolding that meets your customer’s expectations within the project scope? Let’s revisit your projects and ask these questions: 

  • Are we designing to our scope? – How to ensure the designs are accurate and attainable for building. 
  • Do we need to change our approach? – How to ensure an efficient workflow to maintain alignment with the project scope. 

Scaffold Designer helps you create a “living model” that is available from the first bid to the time of build, ensuring consistency with scope and pricing as the project progresses. Also, by eliminating the need for “field design,” you substantially reduce labor costs – one of the critical success factors in managing scaffolding projects. 

With Scaffold Viewer, the crew can take the design with them in their pockets at all times as well! 

Visualize for Sales 

Your customers aren’t scaffolding experts. They often don’t appreciate the creativity and expertise in your proposals, and instead, focus on price. This commoditizes your work, preventing you from capturing the full value of your expertise. 

We want to shift the “lowest bid wins” perception towards an emphasis on the value delivered through a well-thought-out scaffolding design. 

AR-enabled Scaffold Model by Scaffold Viewer

Enabled by augmented reality (AR), Scaffold Viewer renders your digital scaffolding sketch into an interactive 3D visualization in real life. The model can be scaled up or down to review from your mobile device. With this proof of concept, your customers can have full visibility into how the scaffolding looks even before it takes shape at the job site. 

From here, designers and contractors can simultaneously verify the work, capture any potential changes, and create variations to deliver successful projects based on requirements. Without guesswork, you can design and estimate scaffolding in a way that maximizes customer benefits – whether it’s optimizing material costs or labor efficiency.   

Visualize for Success: Win More Bids and Reach Greater Heights with Avontus 

Increased competition, ongoing commoditization, shrinking margins, and labor shortages in the scaffolding industry can easily put a damper on your profits.  

Scaffold Designer is the key to combating these issues. It gives you a powerful tool to increase differentiation, address customer needs, and deliver added value. Such visualization capabilities with Scaffold Viewer, among other technology tools, ensure project deliverables and alignment from start to finish, helping you to reduce risks and increase efficiency. 

Gain a competitive advantage with high-tech solutions like AR and VR for scaffolding design and visualization. Contact us today for a free demo of Scaffold Designer and Scaffold Viewer. 

scaffold

The Evolution of Scaffold Design

From high-rise buildings, or historical sites, to far-off places, scaffolding has always been a critical component to aid infrastructure improvements and expansion.  

We’ve come a long way since the early days of scaffold construction. As an industry innovator, we are proud to present the new evolution of scaffold design. Here, you will learn about the use cases for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and interactive 3D in scaffolding.

scaffold

Bringing Your Vision to Life with Augmented Reality

To design safe and reliable scaffolding, you need the combined efforts and skills of numerous people: engineers, designers, estimators, and builders – as well as the building owners. Communicating an accurate scaffold structure to everyone can be a challenge, particularly with more complex drawings.

Historically, one of the most common planning methods has been to use a set of printed drawings. But visualizing a three-dimensional scaffold on a two-dimensional illustration is difficult. It’s all the more challenging to communicate to the scaffold team, including the building owner, the potential issues like electrical or piping obstructions. Failure to do so can cost you both time and money.

What if there was a way to conceptualize scaffolding from drawings? There is. Welcome to augmented reality, or AR.

Imagine a world where you look at a building façade and are able to simulate the proposed scaffolding in real life. Enabled by AR technology, you can now turn the job site into the construction site with life-size scaffolds. As you walk around and inspect the digital scaffolding, you can easily verify its structure and safety measures before building it. By removing guesswork, you can ensure that the scaffold is built and handed over as designed.

 

scaffolding software

 

Off-site inspection of scaffolding design is also possible with AR technology.

For example, you’re attending an important sales meeting to present a scaffold design for a building renovation. It has all the qualities that will benefit the construction crew – elegant design, cost effective, and simple to construct. The problem is, the client is not familiar with scaffolding, which limits him from visualizing your design and fully understanding the benefits that you are proposing. 

So, you lay out a large printed drawing of the plan in front of them and, voila, the drawing comes to life. Through your smart device, the scaffold structure appears on top of the drawing. Your client can now see your design in all its glory. You know right then that you’re going to get the job.

This application is also AR enabled, but it’s scaled down to a smaller model for mobile 3D viewing.

 

scaffolding software

Freedom to Imagine with Virtual Reality (VR)

As an extension of scaffold design software, a VR headset allows you to view the entire structure and access obstacles before the scaffold is built. With this ground-breaking technology, you’ll get a full idea of the scale of your scaffold and be able to interact with it digitally.

 

scaffolding software

 

Wearing the VR headset, you can virtually fly up the stair tower and float right at the overhang to make sure the painters can access the other side of the pipe for painting. It’s only one of the many use cases of virtual reality. It puts the design in perspective in a way that’s unattainable for people in print.

 

Interactive 3D: Mobility at Its Best

 

scaffolding mobile

 

The possibilities with a 3D model are endless.

For instance, while out of the office, you want to check if there is a cantilever in your design. Simply open up the app on your smart device to review the mockup. Once you are there, fly up to outside at the 6th level and confirm that you have indeed added the cantilever and there’s a double layer of bracing, just like you expected. This is an interactive 3D view.

 

Putting it Together with a Shared Design

scaffold softwareYour scaffold team has a copy your drawings, and that’s only the beginning.

In reality, it takes lots of review and evaluation when working on-site. For example, there might be a complex area that requires a lot of section cuts and elevations.

With our Scaffold Design software, you can work closely with the foreman on the jobsite to easily make any necessary modifications to the scaffold. There’s no need to shut things down for redesign work–the job is ready to go once you are happy with it.

During the toolbox talk, the builders then view the design on a tablet and fly around the scaffold with the foreman to clarify the details. Having the virtual scaffolding at scale leaves no room for doubts or guesswork. There are no more questions as to what they’re going to build and how it’s expected to turn out.

Take an Evolutionary Leap in Scaffold Design

Scaffold Designer and Scaffold Viewer by Avontus make it all possible, from printed drawings to interactive 3D to virtual to augmented reality. The free Scaffold Viewer app transforms your Scaffold Designer drawings right before your eyes. Now, you can store designs in the cloud and access them from anywhere. Your scaffolding is right in your pocket, ready to be viewed and shared with your team and clients anytime.

Download Scaffold Viewer from https://www.scaffoldvr.com (for free) and see for yourself.

Ready for more? Contact us at sales@avontus.com for a free demonstration today.

 

With Casters, Scaffold Designer Is On a Roll!

Casters have been one of our most requested features. Now you can add casters to any or all verticals of any scaffold tower. Choose between two types of casters, fixed and adjustable.

Add Casters to any Scaffold

Use the Bay Details window to add casters to any scaffold tower. The new “All” column makes adding changes to all verticals or sides even easier!

Choose Between Fixed and Adjustable Casters

To adjust the length of any caster, select Adjustable Caster set the Jack Height

 

Add any Size Casters

Use the Material Master to add any size Casters