New Features, Enhancements, and Modifications
Improvements to Takeoff functionality
The following enhancements have been added to Takeoff in order to navigate the takeoff process even faster and more efficiently.
Display scope names in the audit trail
With AutoBid Mechanical 2017v1 it is now possible to add additional columns with the project scope information for each detail line in the Audit Trail. This gives the estimator more visibility on how the different items and assemblies are broken out when looking at the data again after the initial takeoff.
From the Takeoff screen go into Tools – Options – Audit Trail Column (All views) in order to turn additional columns with the scope information on or off. The scope information columns are available in the Audit Trail, OSV (On-screen view) and the GTO (Graphical Takeoff screen).
Enabling these fields can impact the take-off speed depending on the system & network performance.
When showing elevations in Audit Trail view for an existing project, you may need to scroll the audit trail in order to update existing lines and make the elevations visible.
Symbol schedule count
It is now possible to see if a certain symbol has already been used in the takeoff or not. Symbols that have been used will get a flag in the symbol detail tab called “Used in TakeOff”. Symbols that have not been used will be flagged as “Not used in TakeOff”. This allows estimators to go through the list of symbols in order to make sure the takeoff is complete and if the quantity here matches the quantity on the paper schedule.
From the Takeoff screen go into Tools – Symbol Schedule and select a symbol. The flag will be displayed in the symbol details tab.
Symbols inside assemblies will not be flagged at this stage
End takeoff run with item
A new field has been added to the “Add Drop/Rise” screen called “End with item:”. AutoBid will now remember the last selected item in order to end takeoff runs with the same item instead of having to re-select it from the list of items until the user leaves Take-off.
Improvements to Reporting
The following improvements have been made to the reporting functionality in AutoBid Mechanical 2017v1 and to the Rapid Reports.
Missing Price & Labor Reporting
When creating reports with the Report function in AutoBid Mechanical 2017v1 we are now highlighting any warnings about missing price or labor information at the bottom of the message tab to draw more attention to items that still need to have their price or labor filled in on the Missing Price and Labor screen.
To open the Missing Price and Labor Worksheet" click on the icon in the toolbar.
With the Rapid Report function in AutoBid Mechanical 2017v1 we have added a shop labor column to the RAW data tab which allows users to export shop labor into their company accounting system. Additionally, AutoBid now exports the total hours and dollar amount for each of the 8 possible labor categories.
With Rapid Reports (RapidRep-Revision 2017v1.xlsm) we now also added the possibility to unlock the cell protection for the Excel worksheet temporarily in order to customize the worksheet and make changes to the template. This option can be found at the customize tab under “Protect workbook after filling?”
Improvements to SIP (Short-Interval Planning) calculations
The processing speed for SIP (short-interval planning) calculations has been improved. Customers with projects that contain a huge number of line items in the audit trail will see a significant improvement in the time it takes to execute SIP project calculations.
Source Audit trail line with the SIP (Short-Interval Planning) tool
It is now possible to use the SIP (Short Interval Planning) to look-up the Audit trail number of a particular item or item inside an assembly.
Click on the first line of your audit trail (with filtering enabled or not, as you wish.)
Select all items in the Audit Trail by hitting CTRL + SHIFT + END
Right-click the selection and hit “Show SIP Details”
Tip- Requires the option “Save Calculation Details for SIP (Short Interval Planning) to be turned on when calculating the takeoff report.
Select View – Source Audit trail lines
The report shows all matching lines of this item in the Audit trail:
Tip- It is also possible to limit the selection with the box in tool and only search inside a certain area.
Convert all hot spots with the box-in tool into an item
With AutoBid Mechanical 2017v1 is now possible to use the box-in tool to box in a certain area and convert all remaining hot spots into a certain item in order to clean-up and finish a takeoff.
We appreciate the feedback and are continuously improving and evolving the product to meet the needs of our customers. Various smaller improvements to features and functions that have been requested from the field have been made with this version that will further improve the user experience and customer satisfaction.
Navigating the Specification Schedules
Navigating the spec schedule and master specs under Project Specs – Specification Schedules has been improved making it is 3 to 5 times faster to scroll through the list than in previous versions, especially for users with very large specification sets.
In addition a new Quick Jump option has been added at the top of the list which allows to type & search an item in the list and jump to that particular item. Either click in the box, or use Ctrl-F. Users can type as much as they wish to match the automatically opening pull-down list and then press <Enter> to confirm.
Copy Systems & Specifications between Projects
The ability to copy/merge systems & specifications from another estimating job has been improved. Merging the specifications will overwrite the existing specs and replace the existing spec with the spec being copied from. This will allow users to manage and clean-up their spec tables and copy them back into the master job with the company standards or simply re-use specifications from a previous job.
From the main menu navigate to Project Specs – Setup Project – Merge.
It is now possible to copy the following spec categories:
After selecting the spec category and the project that should be copied it is possible to select certain or all specs and copy it across into the current job.
Merging an entire spec schedule:
When merging an entire spec schedule we will overwrite all existing sub-specs except for valves.
Merging a spec schedule that already exists in the target project will completely delete the selected existing spec schedule including all the size breaks and replace it with the selected spec schedule merged from.
Deleting a size break that uses a hanger/valve/material spec that is used by a spec schedule the user is merging will overwrite that hanger/valve/material spec even if it is used by a spec schedule that is not being merged.
The spec schedule only contains valve installations associated with each spec schedule size break. The merge will “import” missing valve installations. There is no valve reference or valve spec directly associated with a size break and these will not be merged. The user must manually select valve references to merge.
Merging Material Specs:
For material specs we will not merge any joint information e.g. the “Joint to Joint reference for connected automatic joints” will not be changed and none of the “Joint Configuration for manual & non-connected automatic joints” will be changed. If the Joint information should be copied from another project, the Joint to Joint reference needs to be merged in before merging Material Specs.
Improvements to Managing Global Piping Items
When trying to delete valves from the piping items tree in the Master Piping Library (Master Price – Piping Items) that are being used in the specifications of the current or other projects, a warning will indicate in which projects this particular valve was used and what impact deleting this item will have.
It is now possible to select multiple projects from the project list in AutoBid Mechanical 2017v1 (Recent Projects – Open Project) and delete them in the background while continuing to work with the software.
The background delete option can be disabled or enabled by going from the main screen into “Tools – My Preferences and Toggling “Delete Projects in the background (faster)” on or off.
Customize “Set Elevation” in the Mouse Menu
It is now possible to customize the “set elevation” option in the mouse menu in order to access the function faster. This allows an estimator to customize elevation set points and remember a certain setting. The following options are available:
The mouse menu can be customized by going from the takeoff screen into: Tools - Customize Mouse Menu Items - Set Elevation
Tip – For new features and functions in previous version please refer to ther release notes on our website: http://mep.trimble.com/support/release-notes?product=1401
Enhancements to “find radius” when using the branching from command
We have improved the ability for the user to display a hot spot/fitting box based on the “Find Radius”settings in OSV Tools - On-Screen View customization and the ability to show the “box” as a circular “target”. If the user touches inside the “target” we find/branch from this otherwise, we find/branch from the pipe/duct. This will help users visualizing the search radius and find the items more accurately inside the area.
Optimizing the database
We have added two functions to optimize the database in order to speed up the performance. It is now possible to optional run an indexation routine and a defragmentation routine. If it becomes necessary the functions can be accessed via Start - AutoBid Mechanical Utilities. Please contact Trimble MEP support with any questions or concerns.
Storing Drawings in the cloud
Some customers have experienced performance problems when storing large amounts of drawings in their database. We have added the option to store the drawings in the Internet cloud.
In order to store all drawings in the cloud by default, a new checkbox has been added to the company settings. From the main screen go to Tools - Company Settings and check the option “New project default to store OSV background drawings in the cloud”.
When creating a new project under Files - Add New Project a new checkbox “Store OSV background drawings in the cloud” has been added to the third screen of the New project Wizard which allows one to change and overwrite the company settings.
For new projects it is possible to store all drawings in the cloud. Under Project Specs - Setup Project - TakeOff a new option called “Store OSV background drawings in the cloud” has been added. Depending on if the box is checked or not AutoBid Mechanical will store all drawings in the cloud or the local database.
In scenarios where a user needs to work locally and temporarily without the Internet, the user can move the drawings between the local database and the cloud by going to File - Open project - Tools. Two options called Move all drawings to the cloud and Move all drawings back into the database are available.
Tip – Depending on the network performance the initial upload of the drawings will be slower compared to leveraging a local database but performance of the system will be better long term. When copying a project with multiple drawings stored in the cloud, the drawings will be downloaded from the cloud to the local machine in order to use them; please allow time for the files to be copied. An Internet connection is required.
It is not possible to access the drawings directly through a web browser, but only through AutoBid Mechanical 2017 v1. Deleting a project will remove the drawings from the cloud. There is not a space limitation on how much data a customer can store in the cloud.
Warning: Drawings in the cloud are stored project specific but are not tied to a database. If drawings are stored in the cloud and the database is backed-up and restored on other computers, all database instances will be accessing the same file in the cloud. Changing a drawing in one project will affect all computers that access the drawing in their project. It is imperative when storing drawings in the cloud that for all database restores the backup/restore utility is being used.
Switching drawings in OSV
Users reported speed issues when switching drawings in the OSV (on-screen view). The issue occurred because AutoBid Mechanical was always re-downloading the drawing from the database to the local drive. We optimized this and will now only download from the database if there is no drawing available locally or if the drawing has changed.
To benefit from this new optimization also previously used background drawings will have to be re-download one more time in order to make sure the latest drawings are available locally. It is expected that re-downloading a drawing will take a moment but switching between drawings that got re-synced will then be significantly faster going forward.
“Branching from” in OSV:
Users reported issues with the “branch from” command in OSV where AutoBid Mechanical connected to a fitting/hot spot when it should not have, or inserted a hot spot and started from a run of duct when it should have branched from the closest fitting. The issue was related to the search radius that was applied in the background which was smaller than the actual box indicating the fitting/item/hot spot.
We have added a new option in OSV to show the “fitting/hot spot” boxes based on the “Find Radius” and the ability to show the search area as a circle. Using this option and visualizing the search area as a circle will allow users to more accurately determine the target for the “branch from” command. If the mouse is clicked inside the circle, we will branch from the circle (hot spot) otherwise we branch from the closest pipe. Regardless of the zoom level the circle will always reflect the true “find radius”. Zooming in will enlarge the circles/boxes. It is recommended that users enable this option as it is more accurate and will provide better results.
The database for the US and Canada has been updated. The following product line additions have been included for the US:
Transair Compressed Piping and Fittings
Mueller Industries Copper Press Fittings
Victaulic Steam Fittings
Aquatherm SDR9 Product Line
The following additions have been made for Canada:
Crane Valve Allpriser codes
Generic Copper fitting Allpriser codes
Hundreds of other Allpriser gaps filled across multiple product lines