Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a few questions frequently asked of our sales team and the customer service centre about the use (and abuse) of our software. You are invited to visit here from time to time so that new ideas might be readily exchanged. If you have a question that you feel might benefit other users, please click "Help!".
Updated 16 April 2013
Ask your question here - Help!
Include as much information as you can. Screen capture of error messages or examples of the problem will be a great help and expedite the return of useful information back to you. The 'Snipping Tool', a Windows Accessory is very helpful for this task. It allows you to capture specific areas of the screen. SHow us your problem, it is often easier than trying to describe it.
(Windows Start > All Programs > Accessories > Snipping Tool).
- How is the take-off done?
The operater models roof in AppliCad CAD environment and software measures all aspects of roof and wall from the 3D CAD geometry. 2D geometry may also be used.
- Can it do automatic from a scanned image/PDF/DWG file?
The software allows you to import a scanned (raster) image and to “trace” or digitise over the top (even with contrained angles and lengths) to generate the roof shape. However, the accuracy of this method is going to be constrained to the accuracy of the original image. We also have tools to calibrate the image to the appropriate scale and size (1:1) but again it is still relying on the accuracy of the user clicking rather than typing in actual dimensions. Construct Roof > Digitise Outline > Paste Clipboard Image
- Can AppliCad digitise aerial images?
Using a similar process that was developed to digitise scanned plans, AppliCad can also digitise aerial photographs. The trick with this is to determine the roof pitch as accurately as possible and AppliCad has a useful tool for doing that. Use the Construct Roof Measure Pitch function to accurately measure the roof pitch from an oblique aerial image.
- How are laps/sheet covers calculated?
Sheet/panel end lap and side laps are well covered by the software. Side laps are handled by a panel underlap distance variable and can be modified per-sheet or per-job. End laps, such as when polycarbonate sheets are positioned between metal sheets (up the roof plane) are also handled and overlaps at the bottom and underlaps at the top with separate variables. Overall sheet coverage is modified when the sheet record is set up.
- Are the formulae for calculations readily changeable?
We have 4 different calculation methods for sheet areas, 2 for Tiles and 2 for Flat Roofing (EPDM, Membrane, BUR, Single-Ply). Each calculation method has a large range of parameters that can be altered by the user, thereby essentially modifying the calculation method. On top of this, sheeting and flashing allowances also allow for the roof geometry to be re-evaluated and waste options at the conclusion of the calculations can also be used to modify the figures further.
- Can it price multiple sheet/panel options (along with fixing methods) from one take-off?
Any number of sheets and sheet types can be priced within the one job. For instance, a user can price a roof with corrugated steel, polycarbonate sheeting and standing seam roofing in the one job. Not only that, but you can also have tiles and membrane roofing on the same job also.
- Can it price multiple mark-up rates readily?
Mark up or discount rates are generally handled within the AppliCad software per Customer. Discounts or negative discounts (mark-ups) can be easily applied and stored per customer, or for individual line item category records. Notwithstanding any of these methods, material and labour markups can be modified by the operator, if need be, on a per-job basis at the time of quotation.
- Can it price wall cladding - both horizontal and vertical?
AppliCad has an integrated module that handles Wall Cladding in both horizontal and vertical applications (per wall). Thus, vertical and horizontal wall cladding can be installed within the one job and furthermore, again multiple materials for walls can be defined for each wall or even each panel. Metal, fibrous cement or aluminium cladding panels.
- Material and labour rates - are these easily modifiable on a job by job basis or fixed?
All material and labour rates will have a default value, however at the end of the job you get a list of all quantities, prices, descriptions of product, sub-totals, discounts and totals. At any time, this list can be modified to produce any required sell price, and any line item can have any of these fields modified.
- How are labour rates calculated - per m², per lm, per item?
All of the above plus imperial units as well. Roofing labour rates are typically calculated per m² (or per sqft), with flashings generally calculated per linear metre (or per foot). Items such as fixtures, extras and miscellaneous items are generally calculated per-item, however some of these can also be calculated per area of roof. In essence, Applicad software estimates in 3 separate ways, these being Area (Roof Sheeting - Strips, Tiles – Mosaic and Membrane - Planar), Linear (Flashings, Battens/Purlins, Fall Protection) and Per-Item (Fixtures, Miscellaneous Items, Extras). Several of our customers uses our software for calculating number of fence posts, rails, sheets, bolts etc. for fencing and uses the Lineal Estimation tool to do this. The software is very flexible in regard both material and labour calculations.
- Can it handle supply only and supply & fit from the same take-off?
Supply-Only, Supply&Install, Nett-Only and Fascia&Gutter quotations are all standard features of the Reporting module of the AppliCad software and are single-click operations that can be performed on the same job at any time. Each calculation may be saved for later recall and comparison.
- How does material wastage get factored in?
Wastage gets factored in after the roof model is drawn. Sheets/panels, Flashings etc. all have allowances available that will add certain amounts of extra material for each sheet/flashing. In addition to this, extra waste can be added in the Waste-specific section of the software to further modify the results to include waste and also to round the resultant figures to the next nearest measurement factor. This method is relevant to tiles only.
- Can it round up/down for various materials?
Rounding of all materials is possible. Generally, rounding up is the standard however rounding down could also be performed.
- How does it work out sheet lengths?
Sheet lengths are measured from the geometric model and then the allowances such as “distance from true ridge line” and “gutter overhang” are factored in. Then, any rounding or max/min sheet lengths are applied and the result is handled through the waste calculation all the way through to the costing and reporting. This is the process whether the roof has been modelled in 3D or 2D.
- Can overhangs/cribbage be factored in from the take-off?
As discussed above, overhangs and offsets can be automatically applied. By “cribbage”, we assume you mean a roofer standing on a sheet to flatten it and make it “wider”. In such a case, the sheet width can be modified to allow for this, but we're all aware that it is a 'fudge'.
- Can prices be generated from m² figures?
Such a quotation is what Applicad refers to as a Nett Area roof quote. This option is selectable from the Reporting menu and allows you to select different rates for materials and labour so you can compare prices or various systems.
- Can you adjust quantities manually?
All quantities, prices, descriptions and totals can be manually modified at the reporting stage.
- Can you add extra items to the take-off?
Any item that you wish can be added to the take-off, including one-off items that have never been added into the system. This is done at the reporting stage.
- Can it handle spouting, fascia, membrane roofing, Eurotray, panels?
All of these roof types can be easily handled by the software, although they may be estimated in different ways because of their type.
- Can it price a spouting/gutter/eaves trough job quickly by entering lm and variables?
Absolutely, the operator does not have to draw anything to create a quotation within the software. Simply go to the reporting stage and add the materials to the report - Supply&Install > Add Item.
- How does it handle sheet lengths for raking cuts and the off-cuts/wastage?
Offcuts and wastage are handled differently based on the estimation method being used. For the Blocking method, it is assumed the cuts and offcuts are coming from rectangles specified from the longest sheet length and then sorted down. For the Gen-Offcuts method, coloured triangles are created on the roof, showing cut/offcut pairs. For the Gen-Panels method, the offcuts are initially not considered, thus providing a worst-case estimate. However, the second part of this Gen-Panels process allows for linear nesting of the pieces to provide a best-case estimate based on the coil length or sheet length used.
- Can it produce labour KPI's for each job for accepted work?
Labour KPI’s are not part of the standard software, however the Labour Report generated by the software is entirely user-definable. As such, you may wish to modify the template, using calculations based on information from the software to produce the information you are looking for. It should be noted that we have a process we call Stage Manager. Ths does allow for a complete job to be broken down into its individual parts for example, First storey gutters and second storey roof,and the software will determine labour and materials based on each stage. Similar result, different process.
- Will it integrate with existing systems (CRM, AX, etc) for automatic ordering?
The software has an XML-style output mechanism that allows almost every value within the software to be output in a specified text format. This mechanism, entitled GRIM (Generic Roof Interface Method). GRIM is described here - GRIM File Format (48Kb).
- Can it Export in other formats?
AppliCad has developed a proprietary format called RXF (Roof Exchange Format) that may be saved as a CSV file or an XML format file. While primarily used to exchange the 3D roof gemoetry with othe systems, such as truss design program, it can also be sused to import useful details into project managament systems..
- Can it handle exotic materials (copper, zinc etc) where the buy price fluctuates often?
The Applicad software can handle any type of material. Where the pricing fluctuates often we now have the data files, including prices, residing outside of the software in CSV files (Comma Separated Values files, as used within Microsoft Excel). Given this, it is quite simple to have the cost of the materials modified externally to the software on a daily or even hourly basis, and any user using the software will have these prices updated as they are saved. Furthermore, users may share data files in a central location, thus resulting in all users being updated centrally and immediately.
- Can it produce cost, mark-up, profit, wastage reports?
All of these items can be created as parts of the reports produced. Calculation items exist within the reports templates to permit calculation of items such as profit etc. If you have a particular form layout you need, simply define the template with the layout and information you require on it. The report will then be created automatically by the software to using your template.
- Can reports be exported to Microsoft Word?
Yes indeed, in fact the report template may be created in MS Word or Excel so that you can combine the output from our software with the complete job or project report package. This allows comprehensive use of fancy fonts, text boxes, tables and graphics. Very cool!
- If franchise has an issue, can individual quote & workings be emailed?
Yes, a quotation can be emailed to another user by simply attaching the required file(s) to the email. The user at the other end simply saves the file(s) to the User directory and continues on with the quotation. Furthermore, up to 10 company names can be saved within the software, thus allowing certain companies to perform quotations on behalf of other companies and still provide the appropriate quotations at then end.
- How does it handle updated pricing of an existing quote?
Quotations can be saved away and these will store the current pricing in perpetuity. When a user enters the reporting module, the software prompts the user to select the saved quotation or to re-calculate the pricing. This option allows the user to re-price an older quote with new figures. Alternately, the modification of single prices can be used to modify an old quote where only certain line items need to be updated.
- How does it process custom flashings, i.e. enter girth & bends or pick from a pre-determined list?
Custom flashings are drawn up in the software as a simple line drawing and each segment is apportioned a variable such as A, B, C etc. The user stores each custom profile as a given “shape” and then develops a lookup table of girths and bends and provides prices per length in each of these cases. This is saved away and determines the flat stock record. At time of application, the user selects a profile and enters the values for A, B, C etc. and also the angles between the line segments. This sounds onerous however it is generally quite quick as the default values are taken from the original drawing, resulting in few modifications generally being required. The girth and number of bends is calculated by the software and when the appropriate flat stock record is selected it links to the appropriate cost. The included benefit of this system is the production of drawings automatically by the software to mitigate the risk of these being incorrectly drawn and thus expensive custom flashings being incorrectly specified and manufactured.
- How does it calculate things like fixing quantities, brackets for spouting/gutters etc?
Fixings and brackets etc. are calculated as either fasteners for flashings and sheeting, or as accessories for flashings. In the case of fasteners, they can be quantified either by area or lineally, whereas accessories can be estimated by a large range of methods including geometric calculations off the roof model.
- Is it able to limit materials based on initial selection, i.e. if you select aluminium roofing can it stop you loading Colorcote steel flashings with Galv sheets?
The software does limit the user to selection of any particular material types that are grouped by type. The linking of materials and flashing or trim sets can be named similarly to greatly reduce the chances of a user making a mistake. Complete roof 'systems' may be predefined and selected as one item or group of items.
- The software tells me the line
I've selected is not a fascia line, when I' m sure I clicked on a
fascia line. Why isn't it recognising it?
This can occur when there is a wall line over the fascia line (when the over hang is zero). Click 'no' when it 'flashes' the line and asks if you want to use the first line, and ' yes' on the second line. The second line is usually the eave line you're trying to select.
- I've finished selecting what I
want to select, but the computer isn't doing anything, what is wrong?
The computer is waiting for you to select more entities. Click the right button or the Escape key (Cancel) to tell it you have finished selecting. The software will then tell you how many entities you have selected, and prompt you to confirm the command. Remember the operation of the mouse - left button is to select; right button is cancel or confirm; middle button is help, snap or scroll (with shift key). See below about use of the mouse. Double click middle button also will perform a 'zoom > fit'.
- You need to change the units the
Goto the Set-Up > Preference Settings command, and modify the dialog to suit your needs. You may change slope, units and terminology and a whole bunch of things that control how you use the software. Caution - if you do not know what something does DON'T TOUCH IT!. You could stop the software from working correctly. Read the manual so that you know what you want or need to change.
- Can company details
be changed if we need to? (because it says in the manual they are
permanently saved after we enter them and I do not see any update
or modification button to allow it. If your company tomorrow changes
its name to a different one, how can I change it in the software?)
Yes - Company details can be changed by you as many times as you like. Within the "Job Info" menu, there is a button called "Your Company Details" and in here you enter the details of your company. These will be stored as a default until you change them again. You can set up multiple companies for the situation where you might be working for different organisations or have multiple registered entities at the one address.
- The text in my table is coming out too large or too small, how do I change this?
Select Set-Up > Preference Settings > Report Options > Set-Text-Height, and change the figures shown to a larger or smaller number to change the size of the text on the appropriate report.
- Can we force or predefine an input mask for job numbers allocation
which should be validated at input level?
No - at this stage, the job number allocation is a manual input. This can be done at any stage in the process however. i.e. you may use a quote number initially when you are quoting, and then, when you get the job, you can enter a job number to used for this job. On the reports that are generated however, you can display whatever text strings you wish.
- Can we have cost per square meter or linear meter instead of sq.feet?
As mentioned, the software operates in Imperial (feet and inches) or Metric (millimetres), so you can use either. If you set the "Set-Up > Preference Settings" to read in Metric, then the units and costs will be per sq metre or linear metre.
- Can we use Euros and the € symbol?
Yes. Within the "Set-Up > Preference Settings" section, you can set the currency symbol to be whatever you like. Obviously this needs to be used as we sell to numerous countries all over the world. You may also set the number of decimal places for the currency.
- Can we use several rates of VAT, a different one for each product, or a single
rate for the overall costing?
The VAT will be applied as a single rate for the overall costing. The VAT percentage can be set by the operator in the "Set-Up > Preference Settings" section.
- Does Roof Wizard allow the insertion of downpipes, fixtures, extra
items, etc. for the job calculation on commercial flat roofing?
Yes. It works the same as if it is a metal or tile roof.
- Can we insert images from picture files (jpg, bmp, etc.) in templates of letters,
etc. (like a company logo) and use texts in such templates in foreign
Yes, you can insert one image per template (jpg, bmp, gif, tif, etc) - Tools > More... > Modify Text > Insert Co. Logo is the command to use to place a bitmap image on the template. You could also scan an entire form, such as your existing pre-printed quote form and insert that as a logo. Then design the template and the placement of key text around the design of your existing form. The templates can be tailored to suit your own language, but the text string that causes the template to generate a result must appear in English as defined by the software function Insert Ket Text.
If you define the templates in MS Word, you have far greater flexibility in the design of your report templates.
- Can we change without restrictions, the location of any key text string in the
templates? Or there are predefined mandatory locations for them
in the templates?
Yes - You can change the location of text strings without restriction. Obviously, the text must be within the extents of the plotted report template or they will not be printed. If you define the templates in MS Word, you have far greater flexibility in the design of your report templates.
- What can I do if my middle mouse
button doesn' t work?
Applicad software makes comprhensive use of the middle button. It's function is context sensitive, that is, it's operation depends on what you're clicking on for what it does. It is therefore, very useful to have your three button mouse work with all three buttons.
AppliCad supplies drivers on the software CD for the latest 3 button Logitech mouse. The other possibility is to use the Shift key (on the keyboard), and the left mouse button together to achieve the same result.
- Can I get more help on any of
Certainly, click on them with the middle mouse button (the three butons must be working correctly as left button, middle button and right button - this is controlled by the mouse driver software) and a dialog will appear on screen explaining the function in more detail. You can also use to middle button on the icons or pulldown menu to see what function is executed when the butoon or icon is selected. This relates to the menu on the right hand side if enabled.
- Would users be able to share the same database files simultaneously among them (say,
more than 2/3 simultaneous users)?
Yes - You would install the software on the local PC and you can set the data file directory to locate the entire product database files on the network server. Each user requires a software licence or a USB hardlock key - per licence for the software to operate. The hardlock key needs to be conected to the local PC where the software is being used. It may be moved to another PC if software is loaded on that machine.
As soon as the USB key is removed, the software stops working. This method provides the flexibility for operators to move between PC's at the office or a laptop or home PC. If the software key licensing option is used (the standard method) an unlock code is required from AppliCad for each license on each user's PC. One unlock code = one PC license = one operator. There is no need for the installation CD to remain in the drive once installed so you can install the sofware on any number of local machines.
- Is the software multi-user with each user accessing it through his own password?
Each Licence is a single user licence with the operation protected by software unlock code or a USB hardlock key (or dongle) that is connected to a USB port on your PC. Using a USB hardlock version instead of a softlock allows for the software to be installed on as many computers as you wish within your organisation. The software will only run where the key is plugged in. This provides ultimate flexibility of use in your office. Each of the computers may be set up by your system administrator to connect to a network server folderthat is shared on a network or virtual private network (VPN). This allows each operator to view and share job files and data files. More importantly, this will allow all files to be backup up by the system backup utility.
- Can I read Dodge plans into an
AppliCad program and use them as the basis of my quote?
If we want to read in a dodge plan *.pln, just rename it to *.bmp and it will read in using the Construct Roof > Digitise Roof command and select the option, Enable Scaled Image File.
Hardlock or 'Dongle'
- I' m getting an error message saying
Hardlock EYE or Rockey USB/Par not found. What is the problem?
For those customers who ordered the hardlock version of the software (as distinct from the software lock version normally shipped) the software needs the hardlock device (also known as a dongle) to be connected for the software to work. If you are getting this message and you did not order a USB hardlock, then you have installed the wrong verion. Uninstall the software and start again, this time selecting either 'Metric softlock' or 'Imperial softlock' version when prompted.
Two versions of the hardlock have been shipped over the years, a parallel printer port version and a USB port version. The parallel printer port version has not been shipped for several years. The USB port version is an optional upgrade. Most contemporary customers are installing the softlock version that requires no additional hardware at all.
If you have an older parallel port version, insert it into the printer port (the printer can connect to the back of the key) or the USB port as appropriate for the version of hardlock you ordered. This will fix the problem. The quick test to ensure that the USB key is working corrctly is to view the little green light on the device. If is blinking then the dongle is working but needs the latest driver installed (usually caused by an upgrade to a new version of Windows). If it on and steady (not blinking), then you're all set, the key is working correctly.
The lock is designed to protect your investment in our software, as well as AppliCad's investment in the development of the software.
- By installing
your dongle in a computer print port will we be able to install additional
dongles in the same port without conflicting one with each other
when running software applications?
Yes, the dongles can be "piggy-backed" with other dongles and shouldn't cause a conflict. If there ever was a conflict, a USB dongle could be provided instead.
- I have tried to install AppliCad v5.7 (or earlier version) or RoofScape v5.7 (or earlier version) on Windows and nothing happens. What is wrong?
The issue is with our software Install utility with these older versions. It is not compatible with Windows 7-64 bit version. You must use a 'pre-installed' version that by-passes the Install utility. This will has been rectified with our recent releases.
Please contact AppliCad Support Team for instructions on how to get around this issue. The easiest fix is to upgrade to the current version.
You may also have to create the correct path for your user data. This is normally created by the install utillity, but we're not using this to manage the install and create the folders. Instructions for doing this are here - Tutorials.
- How do I get updates to my software?
All software is sold with updates included in the purchase price for the first 12 months. After this time you will be invited to renew the Investment Protection program to carry on receiving updates to the software, and other benefits. We must also know about you and where you are so that you actually receive the updates in a timely fashion. All registered users of our software receive 3 to 4 updates each year and these are shipped as a matter o course. If you are not sure whether we are getting to you, please send your details to us now!
- I have a problem, how do I get
Use the contact options on the Cusotomer Service Home page. We are here to help and encourage you to keep in touch. We also like good news too, so please let us know how well you're going.
- I need more help on how to use one of
the functions in the software, how do I?
Check our Tutorials, or Tips section on the Customer Service Centre. If that doesn't help you, check your manual and finally contact the AppliCad Support Team.
If you have a questions that is not addressed here, please drop the Customer Service Team or email - Help!