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Software houses are turning their attention to small and medium-sized construction companies as more main contractors develop their own in-house estimating programs.And the price of hardware is helping the shift as the price of some desktop computers drops to around £1,000.Dunbartonshire-based Computers in Construction is at the forefront of this market with its range of QuickBrix software. Managing director Eric Kuhlwilm says: 'Until now everyone has been piling into the top end of the market to compete with firms like Wessex and Conquest, whose packages cost upwards of £2,000.'We started out on that track, but decided the middle and bottom end of the market was screaming out for products.'QuickBrix took three years to develop and comes in Easy and Plus versions costing £195 and £495.Mr Kuhlwilm claims the system is one of the easiest to use on the market and he says it has been taught over the telephone to one estimator in 20 minutes.Experts believe only 5 per cent of smaller construction companies currently use computers for estimating.Mr Kuhlwilm says: 'This market has taken a while to pick up because of the cost. But now computers themselves are down to about £1,000 so and you can have the whole estimating package for less than £1,500.'This area is where the excitement and growth potential is. I can see 1994 being a big year in this field,' he says. CONSTRUCTION NEWS