Tony James, Syston Construction

Position: Managing Director

Company: Syston Construction

Type of Work: General Building

Location: Bristol

Products Used:

  • EstimatorXpress
  • PlansXpress
  • Design & Estimate Kit

With a lot of his customers not having plans for the work they wanted, made one South West-based builder think it would be something he could offer as part of his general building service.

Operating mainly in and around the Bristol area, Tony James who runs Syston Construction with his son and son-in-law, investigated how he could provide plans and drawings to help his customers get a better picture of what they wanted but also to assist with the planning process.

Having already tried a number of other CAD-based software products Tony spotted, via a YouTube webinar, details on HBXL’s PlansXpress software. Having watched what it could do, he decided to have a demo.

Already a user of HBXL’s EstimatorXpress, Tony was well versed with the excellent customer support of the company and ease of use of its software.

Tony said: “Our bread and butter is in the maintenance and extension sectors, with the odd house every now and then.

“I had used EstimatorXpress for about four years and decided to give the plans software a go. The webinar was very impressive and once I had seen the software in action decided to purchase a copy.

“The main decision for doing this was because a lot of customers who wanted work done didn’t have any plans. Using PlansXpress means we can now draw up a plan, including a three-dimensional picture, and present it to the client alongside a fully costed estimate.

“This firstly helps build the relationship with the client. To present architect quality drawings and 3D visuals demonstrates that we know what we’re doing.

“It has also allowed us to help customers with their planning applications which we are now doing more and more of.

“Because we can assist them in this way has resulted in an improved success rate in terms of the number of jobs we go for.

“The beauty of PlansXpress is that it is so easy to use, even for someone as IT illiterate as me! It’s perfectly made for the build sector.”

Another key factor of PlansXpress for Tony was the fact that it links directly to HBXL’s EstimatorXpress software. This means any plans are automatically transformed into a highly accurate estimate based on the plans drawn.

It allows builders like Tony to produce plans, 3D visuals and full estimates in a matter of hours, saving huge amounts of time, thousands of pounds for the customer on architect fees and impressing massively.

He added: “PlansXpress and EstimatorXpress work seamlessly together making it very easy for me to produce the plans and estimates at the click of a button. If the client wants to change something, I simple amend the drawing, click a button and within a matter of seconds I have a new set of plans and estimate.

“Because EstimatorXpress uses prices direct from my Travis Perkins account means the estimate reflects prices of that day.

“When you explain this to the client it shows the true cost of their project and is not based on out-of-date prices. It also saves huge amounts of time as I don’t have to wait for prices to be returned from merchant.

“And although we might not be the cheapest, being able to present such accurate quotes gives the customer complete confidence in our ability. They are also impressed by the level of effort that we put in and again helps build trust.

“The technical support is also very good. They are always there, even into the evening and are a great help when I’ve got a question.

“The software has helped the business 100% and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough.”

[Update]: In fact, Tony loved the software so much that upon his retirement from the trade he has come to work for the HBXL Estimating Service team – using the software everyday!

This revolutionary approach to design and build is called 3D Visual Estimating:  the combination of EstimatorXpress and PlansXpress and their unique ability to share information and data across the two programs. This is as a result of HBXL’s data sharing technology X-Connex™ meaning you only need to enter details once. This amazing technology also works across our whole software range saving you time, money and effort. Take a look at X-Connex™ in action here.

If you would like to get started with any of our software on a 14 day free trial and a free online one-to-one demonstration then please follow the links below and fill in a quick form. One of our team will be in contact shortly. If you would prefer you can give us a call on 0117 9167871 or drop us an email at