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Estimating Solutions: Build your metal building better

Industries are becoming more technological across the board, including metal building construction. As a strategic move in a tech-savvy world, software is a new resource to be even more savvy and efficient.

In 2008, Houston-based Metallic Building Co., a division of NCI Building Systems, introduced Optima, proprietary estimating pricing software. Optima is an intuitive, design-driven pricing program intended to improve and expedite the estimating of metal building projects.

Optima supports easier navigation and guides users in building design to help them customize projects to achieve the most efficient layout. Created with the builder in mind, the pricing software utilizes the same design engine as production software for greater thoroughness. When using Optima, the builder has access to expanded parameters, benefits from a wide array of accessory options and a whole suite of finish options.

Optima also allows builders to see multiple dimension buildings instead of piecing together numerous sketches like in the past. The software not only collects data to ensure accuracy of order placement but enables the builder to customize quotes to meet their clients' requirements and budget.

"In an aggressive market it is imperative to price projects faster than before," said Dave Barber, director of training for NCI Building Systems. "Metallic does a great job of staying abreast of the technology to help us be successful, cost-effective and service-oriented."

Metallic is continually refining Optima to offer more flexibility as the industry becomes more competitive. To demonstrate the software's real-world application, builders can use Optima in tandem with Google Sketch Up 6 ( So if a user chooses, he can use this online tool, take a virtual walk through his designed building and even place the metal building project on the actual site with Google Earth ( Other technical features of the system include:

  • Expanded geometry parameters to price:
  • Up to a 60-foot (18-m) mean eave height.
  • Up to a 6:12 roof pitch.
  • Up to 40-foot (12-m) bay spacing.
  • On-the-spot pricing capability for custom-design projects.
  • uilder-specified deflection criteria to accommodate special design needs.
  • Generating multiple drawings, such as:
  • Preliminary anchor rod plan drawings and details.
  • -D building layout.
  • Frame cross sections.
  • Comprehensive 3-D.
  • Architectural elevations.

To learn more about Optima, e-mail;;