Quantity Estimator

I am using ERPNext for construction projects. Needless to say, ERPNext fulfills most of our needs. However, there are still a lot of customization needed to suit our business needs. Most of these changes/customization are needed in Project Management Module. I personally think the Project management in ERPNext is still taking baby steps. While, purchase, selling, materials management/inventory are good and Ready to use with minor tweaks, project management can take a huge advancement. This is a suggestion.

Anyway, we are planning to sponsor development of a Quantity Estimator which shall be a part of PM. This quantity should be linked to a BOQ and later should allow comparison of estimate vs actual consumption. However we are planning on taking these progresses step by step. For now, Lets discuss on Estimator.

  1. The app should be focused on Estimating quantities of concrete, partition walls, etc on a RCC frame structure. Steel structure estimation shall be added on later stages.
  2. The app should allow user to either draw a floor plan which must identify objects as columns, beams and brick walls or some other mechanism to digitally input data to identify columns, beams etc.
  3. Should allow modification of floor heights, distances between columns, sizes of beams, columns and slabs.
  4. Should consider different kinds of staircase.
  5. Should allow us to input number of columns in each floor.
  6. Should allow us to define which grids have walls and which don’t. Should also have provision to define doors and window openings.
    7.Should finally calculate volume of each different elements and should generate a report nice and easy.

Is there any possibility to have such a feature ? We are willing to sponsor for development. Could anyone please quote an estimate for building such an app/module ? Please feel free to message/comment if you need any clarifications.

I think it’s unlikely that you’re going to get a useful response here. For this kind of application, hooking everything into Frappe/ERPNext is the east part. Converting visual documents into cost parameters is the (potentially) very, very hard part.

If I were in your shoes, the first question I’d be asking is whether this has already been done. Are there tools out there that will interpret drawings and produce material requirements?

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Hi Anup,
What you are trying to achieve is very ambitious !
Like, Peter said, I would definitely look for option that already do this rather than develop this from scratch.

Based on my knowledge, I had heard of softwares that do estimation with CAD files as input and the CAD file too has to be in a certain format with all the objects like Beam, Columns etc in separate Layers etc. I had explored such a solution 10 years ago and the whole thing seemed too complex to work.

Ideal scenario would be if your RCC consultant can give you the estimates in an excel and you can build some tools to add that to ERPNext Doctypes for tracking.

ERPNext would be helpful in tracking Project Controls and you can build reports around things like Earned Value Analysis . Would be happy to brainstorm on these things with other community members who might be working on something similar.


Agree with both responses ^

I’ve written scripts to extract details from CAD models. It can only go so far and usually would be quite specific to work you’re doing. In my case it was estimating materials for projects.

You’re better off finding some BIM software that’s extensible with some scripting language. Integrating with ERPNext wont be too hard once you have CAD side of your problem solved. CAD world in general is filled with proprietary software which are difficult to easily extend and cost a bank to get proper developer documentation, so YMMV :grimacing:

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@ankush @peterg @Manan_Shah

Thank you all for your responses.

There are BIM models out there but they are very complex to use and most importantly finding somone who can use them properly is very difficult. A sophisticated tool and no knowledge to use it is useless.So, we were thinking if it would be possible to achieve this with Frappe.

Actually our team is qualified to manually calculate an estimate in excel but there are many chances of calculation mistakes, ignorance, error in summing up and aggregating the estimates. We just want to avoid this human error. However, if there was a way to calculate estimate with 99% accuracy, adding them to Erpnext would be easier, as you suggested.

Anyway, thank you all for your suggestions. We will take into account your words and discuss further. In the mean time, I would strongly suggest ERPNext team to strengthen project management module. Happy to help in this matter.

Good day!

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Hi @anupd I understand what you are trying to achieve. We had met couple of clients who are doing estimation on spreadsheets and wanted to migrate it to a system for ensuring there is proper tracking and eradication of errors. One was in interior design and other was into high voltage industrial cable laying. Didn’t go ahead due to overall development cost.

There are very few estimation software. One I recall is called Bentlely. Its a very complex software and the on-prem version used to be very expensive. They now have online version but I think its still expensive. You are right that such software also needs experts to run, remember one company had purchased Bentley but no employee was able to understand it hence investment was totally wasted

If the method is fixed and wont be changed then it can be migrated to ERPNext. You can contact @fkardame if you are interested in discussing your requirements. He had worked out method to build custom app for integration with EPRNext for both clients.

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Hi Anup,

If you can define the calculations as an excel sheet, it should be reasonably straightforward to write a python module that does the same thing.

Hi Anup,

Maybe you should build something more generic - a Product/Project configurator. You add an item and you define the attributes of the item. One of the attributes could be length, width and height (of say a building). The other could be number of floors. Yet another could be columns. It’s possible to build something that could work for you, but I think you should consider you biggest 2-3 pain points and build something that addresses these in a quick (and perhaps dirty) manner rather than trying to do everything.

I mean a system that automates 80% of your estimation process, and you export that to a spreadsheet and finish it up.

Hope this helps.



Yes that sounds like what I was thinking but I was unable to explain it properly. I understand automating 100% is not practical, economic and not universal. But as you said, automating 70 to 80% and exporting to excel for final touches would be the best option.

We will work on it first. We will try to define calculation steps so that developers can understand and then get back in touch.

Thank you all for your genuine reposnses.

Just as brainstorming idea: maybe custom doctype to simulate excel version quotation sheet, together with super BOM and needed validation rules to dynamically generate quotation details, like this [New Feature] Config to order: ERPNext version of SAP's variant configuration -- APP published, testing needed, to be honest, this app is still just a kind of proof of concept, no real business case tested yet.

This looks interesting. Has this been completed ?

Am interested to see if I can develop a steel estimation module. I know what I want to achieve and am interested to see if anyone is working on it. Presently we use a pdf takeoff software to take-off and import the items into a boq. The software we use is meant as a MRP and i can give a workflow if anyone is intrerested