What to look for when purchasing 3D Software for Residential Construction – PlusSpec


Before purchasing construction software, consider the end result as well as the immediate need.

It’s a good idea to look long term when considering a software solution, as buying a pack of band-aids will only fix minor cuts…

How do I know which software to buy & how much should I spend?

Before you go out and buy any software, look back to last week, last month and last year and note down all of the issues you faced on the construction site and in the office.

  • How many spot fires did you put out?
  • How many hours did you spend remedying issues as opposed to planning triumphs?
  • How many times were you over or under on material quantities?

When you write all of the hours and costs associated down and divide them by 10, you’ll have an indicative budget to spend on software to improve your business.  You’ll spend another 20 to 25% implementing the software, and in the future, you’ll eliminate those errors, and when done right, you will see a net profit increase.

Features to look for in Construction Software

  1. 3D capability as it makes potential issues easy to spot
  2. Look for construction software that Virtually builds the project.
  3. Look for software that links with a CRM like Buildertrend and financial software that is easy to use, like Xero.
  4. Look for software that enables you to show the client what they will receive for their money.
  5. Look for software that is easy to use that is built for builders, not computer technicians.
  6. Advanced estimating features that remember prices and suppliers
  7. always buy software that has video tutorials built in so you can learn at any time in any environment
  8. Ideally, your new software package enables you to draw and print plans, so eventually, you can design and build
  9. Look for software that allows you to sell your business in the future
  10. Look for software that creates a central source of truth, so you can go back and look at jobs you did years ago and find out the products used, the supplier who sold them and subbies who you paid to install them.
  11. Always get a demonstration of the software before you buy it and write down any questions you have, and get the demonstrator to physically show you how the software deals with them.

Common mistakes builders make when looking for construction software

We are all guilty of this: Buying software that fixes one issue in our business only to find out it doesn’t fit into the total system.  As a result, we buy multiple software packages that kind of link together, and eventually, we end up with a semi-connected jumbled mess and uncertainty.

The key to buying the right software is to find integrated software that delivers an end-to-end solution. If the design changes, the price changes, and so do all of the details, purchase orders, quotes and margins.

The best software for residential home builders or extension and renovation companies is Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) software meshed with Building Information Modelling (BIM), as it covers design estimating, structure, accounts, scheduling and client sales.  

BIM software for Builders: Features Chart

 Functionality  PlusDesignBuild  Revit LT  ArchiCAD
 PDF, IFC & CAD drawing import  YES  YES  YES
 3D Plan tracing & Design  YES  YES  YES
 Time to become  proficient  2-4 weeks  6+ Months  6+ Months
 Detail Estimating BOQ to Purchase order Sub/Supplier  YES  NO  NO
 Cut list & order list + automated panelization drawing  YES  NO  NO
 Client Quoting, Invoicing & Scheduling  YES  NO  NO
 Structural representation BIM & VDC  YES  NO  Limited
 Simple Pricing Import  YES  NO  Limited
 Xero & Buildertrend integration  YES  NO  NO
 2D Plan creation  YES  YES  YES
 Spreadsheet output prices variation etc  YES  Limited  Limited


To find out more about how to get started with VDC & BIM software for your residential construction business, check out our website here.

Builder Software estaiimating software Buildertrend estimating software add on,

Virtual Design & Construction software lets you see multiple stages and aspects of a project before commencement. Best of all, everything is quantified.

VDCBIM Software for SketchUp PlusSpec

This 3D model was drawn with PlusDesignBuild


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