Togal.ai, an artificial intelligence construction-tech startup, launched its automated estimation product this week, saying it can shorten the estimating process from weeks to seconds.
Estimators typically calculate square footage and materials needs manually, room by room, with rollers and rulers or rudimentary computer software in a process called a takeoff. Togal.ai automates the process, which on large projects can take weeks, saving contractors millions in labor costs and allowing them to focus more on pricing and value engineering, the company says.
Togal.ai’s launch comes at a pivotal time for the construction industry, which has only begun to ramp up activity stalled by the pandemic. Materials costs are high and the supply manufacturing chain is backed up for months. Meanwhile, inflation, along with a shortage of skilled labor, has forced some builders to slow projects.
It can take more than a decade to properly train a building estimator, Togal.ai CEO Patrick Murphy said.
“This helps those companies experiencing labor shortages that are trying to grow and simply can’t find the team to do it with,” Murphy said in an interview.
Togal.ai’s product isn’t only intended for estimators during the preconstruction phase. Project managers and engineers often make revisions in the field to accommodate last-minute design changes, Murphy said.
“For a lot of the larger projects, it’s often that plans aren’t refined to every single room right off the bat,” he said. “As those details get worked out, there’s constant pricing exercises that are happening along the way.”
Togal.ai has competition. Bluebeam and Autodesk offer similar services. Procore, the construction management software company, acquired the cloud-based estimating and takeoff company Esticom in 2020 and has been consolidating its position as a construction management platform through other strategic acquisitions like Levelset last month.
For pricing, the company offers both a licensing option, where users pay a monthly fee, and a usage option, where price is based on how much or how little one uses the product.
Togal.ai executed a private fundraising involving family and friends in early 2020 and closed a seed raise in July 2021, Murphy said, naming SMI Construction Management, the construction consultant company, as an investor.
The company will disclose more of its backers in a “few weeks,” a company spokesperson said.