From a user perspective, Countfire is a lifesaver. You upload your drawings simply and easily and within minutes you can have a scaled, marked up set of drawings with all measurements documented in an excel spreadsheet. I take this output and use it to accurately build quotes and check quantities on all projects from single residential to large scale hotels and commercial. For us it means that we can have accurate information to supply alongside our quotes to give us peace of mind that our measurements are completely transparent to clients without sending physical copies of marked up drawings. The guys at Countfire are beyond helpful and have put a huge amount of work into making the software work for us, they are always easily contactable and jump right in to help whenever there may be a problem.
It's dramatically reduced the time we spend on quoting, and in turn improved our workflow and relationship with clients. I couldn't recommend it more.
Easy and simple to use for a process that is inherently complex and difficult.
Countfire used to be heavily geared towards counting references and not linear measurements. There have been HUGE steps by the guys at Countfire to improve the linear side of things with many new additions to the software for this purpose. Some drawings on a large scale (1:200+) are hard to measure small lengths under 300mm, but this is a very minor issue that the support staff will help with on a project by project basis.
Excellent, the online support is fantastic, as is the software. There have been some containment drawings that I simply could not have lifted off with Pen and paper, but Countfire has made it possible and easy to review.
If in doubt do the trial on a big job and see how you get on!
Whats not to like? Not much. Its a fantastic tool for estimators, the more you use it the faster you get and the more confidence you gain.
Automatic counts - Brilliant
Manual Counts - When you cant use automatic counts this is still super fast compared to pen and paper
Measurements - Brilliant
Splits and multiples - essential and very helpfull
I have been using it for a year now and would recommend it to anyone involved in estimating or any other form of take offs.
Every now and again you get a bad drawing where all the symbols are slightly different and its a pain. Just use manual count and safe yourself a lot of frustration!
The cost is pretty high (but worth it in time saved) If I was self employed it could be out of price range.
Countfire makes doing takeoffs extremely easy and the amount of time it saves leaves more time to do other things that need doing.
not enough colours in the palette, When you measure & ask for itemised it measures every click not just start to finish giving far to many reults
Thanks Terry! I wanted to let you know we released an update recently to include more colours.
With measurements and how they're saved into the Excel spreadsheet, you have a choice between not itemised (just the overall total) and itemised (each individual measurement).
Itemising does definitely result in a larger spreadsheet because there's just a lot more information to represent within Excel, however, I also wanted to point you towards a workaround we have which allows you to round & summarise those measurements towards specific lengths (EG: set busbar lengths etc. There's more here:
Well worth the effort to try out. I would really allocate this to only one or two persons in an office and let them develop the skills necessary to be productive and create accurate take offs.
I enjoy using it and continue to be surprised how well the end result evolves. Practice makes perfect, it can only get better.
As a Lighting Engineer with some knowledge of construction software and the difficulties one can experience in quickly getting up to speed with new programs, I was pleasantly surprised to find that even without reading any tutorials, I was able to navigate and complete a number of projects on my desk over a 24hr period.
The guys at Countfire patiently watched me and offered advice how to improve my takeoff but I just kept going and only when I got into some bother did I read their suggestions.
What this means is that a novice with some practical experience of popular programs such as Microsoft Paint etc. will quickly get a handle on the basics of this take off program.
As with most things today..easy to learn..to master, takes time.
Nothing to do with the software but it does pick up some inconsistencies amongst Architects and Drafts-persons, some who clearly do not anticipate a computer checking their work. Some very sloppy drawings out there.
I check the drawings now prior to uploading so that I have an idea of where I need to look closely. Again, it's not an issue with Countfire.
Countfire has saved me tons of time performing takeoffs. It is also very helpful in accomplishing a set of takeoffs for a project with a quick turn around time.
I absolutely love the quick response from the members of the Countfire Staff. They are quick to respond and help resolve any issues you may have.
I love everything about the Countfire Program.
Its quick and easy to use. There are a few things which can be done to make it even better but overall its far more efficient than using paper and coloured pens.
It is pretty easy to use once you are using it on a daily basis. It makes the take-off process a lot quicker and doesn't require the need for printing off a Forrest worth of trees for drawings, plus you don't need to keep a whole range of coloured pens handy.
I have found that I have gone back to drawings that I have taken off first time around and noticed symbols which I did take off were not highlighted. That could be simply down to me not saving each time. However, I have had to go back through each drawing to make sure I haven't missed anything. There should be something in place to highlight anything that has been missed.
It would also be helpful to have an option to pick regularly used symbols and containment so that you can save time not having to manually type them in.
I have worked in the industry for many many years in directorship and management and used many costing / take off software. I can honestly say this is the best I have worked with. the level of detail you are with once you process a project is fantastic and it is very user friendly. And last but no means least the team are constantly on hand to help whenever needed and go above and beyond to ensure your experience with the software is positive. Thats not just an initial help that always.
I like near all features of the software but really like how user friendly it is and the level of customer care you get.
Not really come across anything that I dislike yet
Very helpful in times of need when a project needs a quick turnaround! The customer service team are also very responsive and there when you need them! Would highly recommend for estimating larger projects if you want to cut down on estimating time.
Speed, adaptability to pricing schedules/demarcations and the fact Countfire themselves are open to taking on ideas for user interface improvements to make take off easier
When drawings take ages to load up
The ability to drag, drop and created elements save days of manual counting on paper.
the software can be used anywhere you have internet connection
an internet connection is required and a large amount of storage for dropbox also
Thanks Ciaran! Countfire now automatically frees up space within Dropbox meaning you no longer need to purchase a paid Dropbox account.
With regard to needing an internet connection, there are a number of positives to consider too. We're able to provide near instant in-app support right when you need it (our current response time is less than 1 minute). Countfire is definitely not the kind of software you buy and then never hear from us again, and having an internet connection is an important part of us being able to provide that level of support to our customers. Additionally, new updates and features get rolled out immediately and we don't hold these back for a new version of the software, as can happen with traditional / older methods of software distribution. You always have the latest and best version.
Easy to use fantastic tool , great support service when you need help
It would be an advantage if you could free hand and write comments on your dwgs . Maybe this can be an update
Reduction in time in the estimation process (magnitudes).
- clear cut user interface with everything hotkeyed, and the hotkeys labeled in plain sight
- PHENOMENAL customer service and support (I requested and had a feature built and deployed overnight, etc., etc., etc.)
- Documentation from another planet (over 25,000 words of concise walk through material
- Redundancy (the way projects are delivered after being processed eliminates worry and most potential for error)
- Data manipulation (the data spit-out from a project comes post-pivot table, saving us a step in formatting to get our numbers straight)
the list goes on and on - simply amazing!!
Will and the boys are a phenomenal team, awake at preposterous hours of the morning solving issues that could wait, etc. just amazing!
The software is a good alternative to the usual means of working with large plans, as it saves a lot of time and space/printing materials
One of the cons is the requirement of the chrome browser, since the additional software isn't supported by the IT Department.
Countfire enables the entire office to be involved which means an administrative assistant can do counts for the estimator freeing up the estimators time to handle the more complex details.
Easy to use, easy to master. Reports can be simply or page/area specific which makes it great when you need to do breakouts. Hot keys make the program flow, you can either use the mouse or use the keyboard - whichever you prefer. Best part is that once you select a symbol it searches all pages for that symbol making it very fast and freeing up a lot of time for other tasks. I have used on-screen take off, bluebeam and live count and found Countfire to be the quickest with the most detailed reports.
Not a lot of colors to choose from, would like to see more colors.
So far, it is early days, I have found everything very straightforward. I spent time working through a lot of the help screens before I attempted my first take off, but still encountered a problem selecting some symbols. I couldn't find the answer myself so used the chat option. Within minutes I was chatting to someone who could help straight away with advice and even videos to show me how to deal with my problem. Looking forward to learning more as I progress.
Love the common sense feel to this software.
Very quick to do a take off.
Every problem I have encountered so far has had a solution.
Support and help screens are excellent.
I actually haven't found anything I don't like so far, but I have only been using it for a short time. I think it is just a case of getting your head around what the software needs from you to do its thing.
It takes a bit of playing around with to get used to but any question I had was answered within minutes through the CountFire team chat, I find the automatic link with DropBox and CountFire very useful with all the counts done automatically through an excel quantities spreadsheet.
It doesn't pick up symbols that are the same but at a different angle, so a few extra counts must be done to count all the symbols
Thanks Shane! I wanted to let you know we've just released a feature which allows you to automatically count symbols that are the same, but rotated through different angles :)
the software is relatively easy to use. the downside is that there is alot to learn compared to doing it manually. it is getting better now i have used it for a few weeks, but as a new starter i struggled to begin with. maybe an online tutorial would work well, i am not sure if you have this or not. the customer service is excellent, another problem is countfire doesn't always pick up all of the symbols, i often have to double check. Nevertheless, it is great in the sense that it is much quicker than doing it manually, i would happily recommend it to other users.
Thanks very much for your review Jack.
In terms of training, we have training courses available and also have an online knowledge base. We're also always happy to jump on a screen sharing session to help learn the software on a one to one basis.
With making sure you pick up all the symbols, this is even a problem when doing take-offs manually. To help with this, Countfire allows you to hide all the symbols you've already counted so you can easily see what's left to count, and it also produces a set of drawings with all your counted symbols removed, which can be used as a quality control / checking process to make sure you've counted everything.
Fast tracking estimates
The level of accuracy and ability to populate all take offs into a spreadsheet format.
the software is very easy to use even if you don't have great Computer skills
occasionally things can be a little slow if drawings files are large.
if you don't have a great internet connection access can be difficult at times if working remotely from Home / Office PC
I have saved a lot of time on performing take offs.
I like its chat option and the great support staffs fast response time. I also like how when I have a problem that I may run into one of the members of the support team will help me immediately. They can actually open and view the actual project I am working on and will send me a clip of how to get past what problems I may be having.
Nothing. Everything about this software is amazing. The support staff has a quick response. They normally respond is less than 5 minutes.
The speed to be able to create a take-off which would've potentially taken many hours by hand. This software is saving the company so many man hours already.
Due to the way we use countfire we don't just use it for symbol counts. We use this for the measurement of luminaire leads. Sometimes the drawings can become a little busy and tricky to follow. So maybe the option to turn certain layers drawn in countfire off would help.
Thanks Ben! Assuming I've understood things correctly here, it's already possible to turn off both automatically counted symbols, and any linear / area measurements or manual points.
It should just be a case of using the check boxes to the left of each symbol or measurement to hide it. There's more here:
it saves a lot of time rather than manually counting the items. it tally's up all the drawing at the one time and its very easy to use.
that when you select an item it pick up others as well. and sometimes you may have to go over some drawing to see if it missed out any of the symbols
Thanks for your review Shaun! With regard to checking for symbols that haven't yet been counted, I wanted to reply with a help centre article outlining the 4 opportunities available to verify accuracy on your projects:
Saves me tons of time and for someone that works 80+ hours a week, my time is very valuable.
The ease of use. It is very easy to use once I learned the shortcuts and best practices from Countfire. Was up and running withing a few days 100% and it is saving me so much time. I did the a job the other day that was normally a 4 hour job and it took me 30 minutes by using Countfire and that 3.5 hours is very valuable to me.
The only thing I'd like and it is really only for hotels, but to be able to find a certain room and count them and multiply out already in the excel sheet, but I use the counts for the rooms and easily adjust the excel spreadsheet in less than a minute, so it really isn't an issue.
quicker quotation and counting
1) in general it is simple to use and give a quick access to count and item selection.
2) Very good the split selection
1)I would add description/comment in the drawings.
2)I would have more "Color selection" if it possible, as sometimes we've got a large number of selection to do (like Grey, Brown, etc...).
3)When we need to count "a point" there is a "circular selection" , could be nice have also a different other selection like a "triangle" or "rectangle". This could be very helpful.
Thanks Davide! Wanted to let you know that we've just released an update to include more colours.
Also, adding notes / comments to drawings, and additional symbol types for manual points are both already on product roadmap. Watch this space!
We have been using the system now for around 6 weeks, during this time the Countfire people were very helpful in getting us set up correctly, as we are now more used to the software were seeing benefits of time saving and having easy access to neat and tidy take offs as apposed to trawling through the estimators files looking at unclear scribbles, also we no longer have to print off large amounts of A0 / A1 paper at tender stage saving cost and the environment.
Speed, Accuracy, environmental benefits, and easy to follow hints and tips.
Sometimes the information we are provided with by our customers is not in the correct format for Countfire to work at its full potential, this is not a fault of Countfire but a problem with the information we are working with
I've recently started using this software and already it has saved me time on measuring. I've used Countfire for 3 projects so far and it really is quick and simple to use. Once I've measured each individual drawing it then pulls everything across to my dropbox making it easy for me to check certain symbols. I can then print off my totals for each take off sheet. A great piece of software for estimating.
I like the way when you measure one drawing that it automatically counts the selected symbols throughout other drawings saving you loads of time during the tender.
It can be a little too sensitive when selecting certain symbols but that's down to the quality of the drawings provided. It can be easy corrected when checking each symbol in the editing section.
Increased speed and accuracy
We have found the software very easy to use, the support and backup is fantastic and the checking and reporting functions are great.
The main frustrating this is the time it takes to load drawings. Also as a large business we would like the option to purchase the software.