Getting Started

Learning about Dimension

Videos -  The best way to learn Dimension is to watch the training videos. They provide step-by-step training from the very simple to the more advanced functions. Each video is just a few minutes long. You can find a complete list by clicking on the following link. Dimension Training Videos

Sample Project -  A sample project called "LaQuinta Hotel" is included with Dimension. To see the sample project, just import it (we'll explain how in a moment). You can work on the project all you want. Add information, delete it, etc. When you're through, just delete it. If you want to work with it again, just import it again.

To import the project, do the following:

  1. Click on File/Project Backup & Restore/Restore Project.
  2. You will see a standard Windows Open Dialog, showing the contents of your Projects folder. Navigate to the eTakeoffSamples/LaQuinta Hotel folder.
  3. Now you will see the contents of the LaQuinta project folder. Click on the file, La Quinta Hotel -Simple Sample/Open Button.
  4. Next you will see the Project Properties Windows. All the information should be correct. Press the "OK" button.

Dimension will complete the import and open the first drawing in the project. You're free to explore. When you're through working with the sample project, follow the steps below to delete it. Warning: Any changes you've made to the sample project will be lost.

  1. Click On the Home/Edit button.
  2. Click On the "Delete Project" button
  3. When it asks if you're sure, press the "Delete" button.

Working with Electronic Plans

Organizing and Storing Electronic Plans -  Most electronic plan room users start out viewing plans on-line, then ordering paper copies. But Dimension allows you to use the electronic information throughout the construction process. That means you want to download the plans to your own computer or computer network. And since you'll use them for the life of the project, you'll end up with a lot of plans on your system at the same time. Most plan rooms make this easy to download the plans, but you need to think about where to put them and how to organize the plans once they're downloaded.
The first question is: How many people will be accessing the electronic plan information? If it were just the plan images, everyone could have their own copy. But Dimension lets you share your measurements, notes, etc. so you want everyone working off the same information.
We strongly recommend: If more than one person may use the plan information, put the plans on a common server.
The second question is: How should you organize the plans on the server or computer?. Most plan rooms use a very complex hierarchy of public plan rooms organized by geography and private plan rooms organized by owner or general contractor. Each plan room has multiple projects. You may not need that complexity. Ask yourself, if you're bidding the same project for multiple GC's, do you want to treat it as one project or several?
We strongly recommend: Put each project in a separate folder. The folder hierarchy above the project folder and below may vary, but if you don't put each project in a separate folder, we think you're headed for trouble.
If you organize using project folders, Dimension will make it easy to keep track of the plans belonging to each folder.

Downloading Plans in Advance  -  Dimension will let you view plans individually and add them to a project as you go along. But this is not most efficient way to work.
We strongly recommend: If you're going to do more than view a project, download the plans you think you'll need first, then create a project in eTakeoff. Creating a Dimension project only takes a few seconds. If you're worried about wasting disk space, don't. You can store 500 plans on $1.00 worth of disk space.

Setting up Dimension for Production Usage

Thinking through your process -  Dimension performs five main functions:

The greatest potential value is in organizing plan information. Creating the right organizational structure simplifies all the other operations and improves the overall estimating process. But creating the right structure is also the most difficult part. You can view, measure, annotate and transfer on an ad-hoc basis. But creating the right organization takes foresight and planning. We recommend you start your planning process by looking at past estimates or spreadsheets. You should be able to identify a common structure or a few different common structures.

Standard Traces  -  Traces define the way that measurements are displayed over the plan. you can control the following display characteristics:

Standard traces allow you to define traces in advance for the items you construct. For example, you could use different fill colors and patterns for different types of flooring (wood, carpet, tile, etc.). Consistent tracing allows everyone viewing a drawing to quickly identify the construction tasks. See Standard Trace List Window for information on creating standard traces.

You can also associate traces with branches in the Quantity Worksheet using the Item Properties Window. When measurements are assigned to the worksheet item, the measurement is displayed using the item's trace.