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7 Common Construction Estimating Mistakes When Using Outdated Spreadsheets and How to Avoid Them

Updated: Apr 24, 2023

You could be making costly mistakes if you're still using a spreadsheet to estimate your construction projects. While spreadsheet programs are great for certain aspects of project management, estimating is not one of them. That's because construction estimating is a complex process requiring real-time data and collaboration—something spreadsheets can't provide.

In this blog from SharpeSoft INC., we'll discuss seven common mistakes made using spreadsheets for construction project estimating and how to avoid them.

7 Common Construction Project Estimating Mistakes When Using Outdated Spreadsheets and How to Avoid Them

Table of Contents:

  1. Relying on Manual Data Entry

  2. Lack of Real-Time Data

  3. Difficulty Collaborating

  4. Inaccurate Reporting

  5. Limited Storage Capacity

  6. Zero Audit Functionality

  7. Lack of System & Data Security

  8. Avoid Common Estimating Mistakes with Sophisticated Construction Estimating Software

  9. Conclusion

People Also Ask:

What are common estimating errors?

Common estimating errors include rate, quantity, and omission errors. Many construction agencies underestimate how much these mistakes will cost them.

Why is project estimation difficult?

Project estimation is difficult because projects are always different. Projects differ almost every time, even if you and your team have constructed something similar. Because of this, it's challenging to predict the exact amount of time and resources needed to complete the project.

What is the most challenging component of a project to estimate?

Estimating project costs accurately is vital to the success and completion of a construction project. Still, budget management and cost estimation are two of the most challenging components of construction project management today.

1. Relying on Manual Data Entry

One of the biggest problems with using a spreadsheet for construction project estimating is that it requires manual data entry. This means that every time a change is made to the scope of work, someone has to go in and update the spreadsheet manually, which can easily lead to errors.

2. Lack of Real-Time Data

Another issue with a spreadsheet is that it doesn't provide real-time data. This can be problematic when tracking project resources, progress, and budget changes.

3. Difficulty Collaborating

Spreadsheets also make it difficult to collaborate with other team members. For example, if multiple people are working on the same spreadsheet, tracking who made what changes and when can be hard. This can lead to confusion and delays.

4. Inaccurate Reporting

Generating accurate reports is essential for construction project management, but it can be difficult to do with a spreadsheet. That's because spreadsheets don't offer the built-in reporting features that sophisticated construction estimating software does. As a result, you may have to spend hours creating custom reports, which takes away from the time spent working on the project.

5. Limited Storage Capacity

Another downside of using a spreadsheet is that it has limited storage capacity. This can be an issue if you're working on a large construction project with many different components. Trying to keep track of everything in one spreadsheet can quickly become overwhelming and increase the chances of errors.

6. Zero Audit Functionality

Most spreadsheets, even modern programs, cannot track who made what changes and when. Spreadsheet cells and formulas can easily be changed, deleted, or not updated, and no one could know. You or anyone on your team could make significant mistakes for years before they’re noticed.

7. Lack of System & Data Security

No permission settings or licenses on spreadsheet programs can determine if the correct person is working in the right area of an estimate. Typically, anyone working in the spreadsheet has access to view and edit the entire estimate, which is not always safe from a project security perspective.

Avoid Common Estimating Mistakes with Sophisticated Construction Estimating Software

Switching to a more sophisticated and digital construction estimating software can help you avoid common estimating mistakes that can significantly impact your project. At SharpeSoft INC., we've provided trusted and accurate construction software solutions for over thirty-seven years!

The SharpeSoft Estimator is a comprehensive software program designed to ensure your estimates remain accurate and concise. We've designed our software with the complex task of construction estimating in mind.

Instead of struggling to get an accurate estimate manually, SharpeSoft's powerful software uses an intuitive interface that allows users to quickly identify potential errors and make adjustments easily. With the SharpeSoft Estimator, you can look forward to being more disciplined about your construction estimating process, leading to more accurate estimates at every stage.


To stay competitive in today's construction industry, you must start using more modern tools and ditch the old spreadsheets. With so many options available, like the SharpeSoft Estimator, there's no excuse for using an outdated method prone to errors and time-consuming. Do your research and find software that will work best for your company and your specific needs. You'll be glad you did!

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