Jaap's Psion II Page

Psion Organiser Series 1:
Wessex Construction Pack Manual


(Electronic) Publishing Ltd.
The Old Vicarage, Beaminster, Dorset, DTB 3BU
Telephone: Beaminster (0308) 862314.


To Start

Turn the computer on. Press MODE until the word WESSX: appears on the screen.

Press EXECUTE to start the estimating programs.


To leave the Wessex estimating programs, first press ON/CLEAR, then MODE.

To turn the Organiser off altogether press the MODE key until the word OFF appears on the screen, then press EXECUTE.

When you see ENTER:, CALC:, OFF: or WESSX: on the screen. you know that you are in the operating system of the Organiser. The basic functions of the Organiser are described in the Psion Organiser manual, and you are strongly advised to read it before using the Wessex programs.

The Keys

>> and << move you up and down the lists.

EXECUTE selects an option
ON/CLEARcancels the current entry and takes you to the first list
MODE moves the computer to the end of the current list.


How to use it

Costing with the Wessex Materials Computer is straight- forward. First you choose the trade for which you want to order materials or cost from the lists of trades in the computer.

Next you enter the dimensions of the work. You can choose whether to enter the individual dimensions or series of dimensions separately, or enter the total area or volume.

The computer then calculates the quantities required, including waste allowance, and can prompt you to enter the price for each. It will then work out the cost and, if you want, save the details of the job on the datapak, so that you can recall it later.

Choosing your trade

The Materials Computer contains lists of the trades it can cost. Although the choices in each list are different, the method of selection is always the same.

As the computer screen can only display one line at a time, you must move up and down the list by using the >> and << keys. These two keys are at the top right of the keyboard.

When you see the option you want, you must press the EXECUTE key, at the bottom right of the keyboard.

When you have made your choice from the list of trades, you will be asked to make a second choice. If you have chosen Brick and Blockwork for example, you will then have to choose what type of brick or blockwork is required.

If you are in the list of trades, pressing the MODE key takes you out of the Wessex programs.

How to use this pamphlet

When you have started the Wessex programs and named the job you are costing, you are in the list described under the heading TRADES. Look at this section for guidance when you first start the system.

If you choose concrete work, you can turn to the part of this pamphlet headed Concrete Work for more information on the types of concrete work allowed for. If you have chosen glazing, turn to the section headed Glazing, and so on. All the trades are described.

The section headed Quantities and Cost tells you how to get the final result. If you want to save the result on the datapak, the section entitled Saving and Finding will tell you about this.

A Drainage Example

For example, suppose you want to find the quantities of materials needed for drainage work. You would first have to select Drainage from the opening list. Then you would have to select the type of drainage work you want. You would have to say whether you were costing pipework alone, or whether you wanted to cost a sand, concrete or granular bed for instance.

Then the computer will ask for the dimensions of the job. The questions the computer asks depend upon the type of job being done. For instance, if you are doing pipework, the computer will want to know the length of each pipe, then the length of the pipe runs, If you are laying a sand bed, the computer will want to know the length. width and thickness of the bed.

When you have entered the dimensions, the computer will show the quantities needed one by one. For pipework, it will first show the total length of the pipe runs needed. Press EXECUTE and the number of pipes needed is shown. If you press the >> key at this point, the computer will ask for the price per pipe. It then works out the cost for that material. When you press EXECUTE again, the number of joints needed is shown, and you can then price the joints in the same way.

To work out the cost of a quantity. press >> when you see it displayed, then enter a price.

Saving the details

When the quantities and costs have been worked out, all the details of the job for that trade will be shown on the screen. If you want to save the job on the datapak, press EXECUTE. If you do not want to save the job, press ON/CLEAR.

Time Out

During normal use, the Psion Organiser will turn itself off if it is left unattended for five minutes. However, the computer has been specially programmed never to turn itself off while you are using the Wessex programs.

Error messages

Occasionally. you may get an error message. such as "NO DATAPAK", which occurs when you try to save something without having a datapak in place. If you get an error message, press ON/CLEAR and start the job again.


The following is a summary of the work covered in each of the trades in the Wessex Materials Computer. All the information contained is generally described in simply recognised and accepted construction abbreviations.


Various standard mixes and grades, including all-in aggregate grades.

Bar and mesh reinforcement of various diameters and references.

Various waterproofing membranes.


Brick walls of varying thicknesses between 0.5 and 2 bricks, and bonds; cavity walls. giving information not only on number of bricks and amount of mortar, but also weight of ties and number of sheets of insulation

Block walls of varying thicknesses and sizes of blocks. Mortars of varying mixes.

Pointing work.


Random rubble walls of varying thicknesses and stone thicknesses.

Squared rubble of various weights.


Various sheet linings of standard sizes including plywood, chipboard, blockboard, hardboard, insulation board, woodwool slabs.

Floor boarding and joists.


Beams, columns, joists, channels, angles and circular, square and rectangular hollow section of various weights.


Bitumen felt of 1, 2 and 3 layers, timber preservatives, decking, joists.

Tiling and slating of various sizes and laps including plain tiles, concrete tiles, clay tiles, natural slates, underfelting, decking and damp proof membranes.


Hot and cold asphalt of varying numbers of coats and thicknesses.


Plaster work of varying thicknesses and number of coats to various backgrounds.

Rendering and wall tiling of various thicknesses and sizes.

Floor finishes, including granolithic, cement and sand screeding and tiling of various sizes and thicknesses.

Boards and linings of various sizes.


Emulsion paints of varying numbers of coats to various wall and ceiling surfaces including plaster, fair faced brick and blockwork and concrete.

Oil based paint of varying numbers of coats to general surfaces and windows, and metalwork.

Masonry paint, wallpaper stain wood, varnish wood, creosote, external wall paint and primer.


Various pane sizes, glazed to wood or metal with putty, beads or metal, with rubber gasket.


Various pipe lengths.

Beds, beds and haunches and beds and surrounds to various pipe diameters of sand, granular material and concrete material.


Beds of various materials.
Paving of various sizes.


Naming a job

Each time you turn on the Organiser and enter the Wessex programs, you will be asked to give the job for which you are ordering materials or costing a name.

Type in a name and press EXECUTE twice to save it or press ON/CLEAR twice if you do not want to save a name.

The section on saving and finding tells you more about the way the name is saved.

The List

When you have named your job, you are placed at the top of the list below. Use the >> and << keys (at the top right of the keyboard) to move up and down this list of trades.


Move down the list until the trade you want is on the screen. Press EXECUTE, then look for more information on that trade.

If you want to start a new job with a new name, press >> until the word Job Id appears on the screen. Press EXECUTE and the computer will ask you to type in the new name.

To leave the program, you can either go down this list until you see EXIT: on the screen, then press EXECUTE, or press MODE.


When you have chosen the type of work you want, the Materials Computer will prompt you for the dimensions of the job to be done.

You can usually choose how you describe the size. For two dimensional items you can either input the length and width, or you can enter the total area. For three dimensional items you can enter length, width and depth, or the total volume.

For glazing, for instance, you are given three choices: DIMENSIONS (i.e. length and width separately), AREA and END.

If you press EXECUTE when DIMENSIONS is on the screen, the computer then expects you to enter length and width separately. If you press EXECUTE when AREA is on the screen, the computer then expects you to enter the total area of the job.

Use MODE or END to finish entering dimensions. You can enter the dimensions of as many areas as you like. The computer stores all the dimensions, and adds up the quantities needed. For example, you might want to estimate for glazing ten windows. You would enter the dimensions of each window one by one. The computer would then work out an estimate of the total quantities needed for all the windows.


The dimensions of any openings in the construction can be entered in exactly the same way. The area of the openings is deducted from the main area by the computer.

If there are no openings, press MODE, which acts in the same way as END.


Always enter dimensions in SI units, unless stated otherwise.


When you have finished with the dimensions, the computer will show the total dimensions of the job, and the quantities of materials needed.

If you press the >> key while a quantity is being displayed, the computer will prompt you for the price per unit. When you give it the price, the computer will work out the cost for that material.

Press EXECUTE to move on to the next material. All the materials you need will be displayed one by one, and may be priced one by one.

If you do not price a quantity, its cost will not be added to the total cost.

Total cost

The Materials Computer adds the cost for each item of work to a running total. Every time a cost is worked out, it is added to this total.

When you have finished costing an item of work, you should be returned to the first list of trades. You can check the total cost by finding the item Total cost on this first list, and pressing EXECUTE. The job name and the total cost should be displayed.

If you then press EXECUTE again, the message seen on the screen will be saved on the datapak. ON/CLEAR returns you to the main list without saving the total cost on the datapak.

The costs of each item of work continues to be added to the total until you rename the job or turn off the computer.


Once you have worked out the quantities of materials needed, the Materials Computer can save them on its datapak. The lists of quantities will each be saved with a short, six letter name to identify them.

When you give a job a name, you may make it up to 150 characters long. All the letters and numbers entered are stored on the datapak. The first six characters of the name become the job id.

If, for instance, the name you type in is: SMITH, MRS P., 39, APPLEBY DRIVE, TEL 293450 Mrs Smith's name, address and telephone number will be recorded, together with the date and time.

If you then estimate quantities for a brickwork job for Mrs Smith, the quantities required, together with the job identification SMITH, will appear on the screen when all the calculation has been done.

You might, for example, end up with Job SMITH,;Brick & Blkwork;Brk Stretch bond;0.5 B Tk;2OO m2 area;12088 Brk; 6 m3 mortar.

If you press EXECUTE when this appears on the screen, it will all be saved on the datapak. If you press ON/CLEAR it will not be saved, and you will be returned to the first list in the Wessex programs.

You may save more than one estimate under the same Job name. The total cost is saved in exactly the same way as the estimates for particular jobs.

The ability to save estimates is an important feature of the Materials Computer. It means that you can estimate quantities and costs on site, then recall them later in the office, all without using pen or paper.


You find a job on the datapak with the FIND key. You do this from the normal operating system of the Organiser, not from the Wessex programs. Press the FIND button, and type in the first six letters of the job name. Press EXECUTE and the rest of the whole name should appear (If the name is too long to fit on the screen, press the >> key to make it scroll.)

If you press the EXECUTE key again, the estimate appears on the screen. If you have made more than one estimate under the same job name, keep pressing EXECUTE, and each estimate for each trade will appear in turn.


You do not have to price a job immediately. If you estimate and save quantities of materials on the data pak you can recall and price the job later.

To price a Job whose quantities are already saved, find the job in question with the FIND key, as described above. Then press the MODE key until the word PRICE appears on the screen. Press EXECUTE, and the total area and quantities required for the job will appear and maybe priced using >> just as before.