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Friday, December 31, 2010

The Prospect of Project Estimating in the year 2011

In anticipation of contractors’ needs in the year ahead, technology providers are continuing to offer new products and integrations for the construction industry. One key area that will likely still remain a top priority in the year ahead is estimating efficiencies.

Estimating is important right now for a number of reasons. Primarily, in today’s competitive market environment, construction companies need to come in with low bids while still maintaining good margins to remain profitable. Estimating and takeoff technology can help.

In smaller firms, the roles of estimator and field superintendent are usually both done by the owner of a company. In fact, it is the ability of the accomplished tradesman to estimate that allows him to take the step from employee to owner of his own business. His success hinges completely on how good his judgement and objectivity is in estimating.

For the large firm, the estimator may be a partner or an employee -- even, one of several, on a team of estimators. The firm relies on an estimator to provide all the information to determine if a particular project is suitable to bid on.

Apart from the personal efficiency, the construction companies are looking at technology to become more efficient, technology providers continue to release new products and integrations. For example, On Center Software,, The Woodlands, Texas, and Benchmark Estimating,, Manchester, U.K., announced a new custom integration.

This means construction companies will be able to import takeoff data from On Center’s On-Screen Takeoff into Benchmark Estimating software. The integration is currently in development, but will ultimately save a significant amount of time in the takeoff process, while also increasing accuracy.

According to Angelo Castelli, director of business development, On Center Software, the integration will provide a new level of productivity and efficiency for estimators, and the flexibility of the systems will be advantageous for project managers.

Rob MacDonald, director, Benchmark, says many of its clients have been inquiring about digital takeoff solutions, and this integration will provide them with the solution they want.

This is just one example of new estimating-technology integrations for contractors in the year ahead. Keep your eyes open for new products and partnerships, as 2011 is going to be a big year for improved efficiencies in the industry

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Annual World Of Concrete Show 2011

Annual World of Concrete Show is the biggest show on earth for the commercial concrete and masonry. The most comprehensive commercial concrete and masonry event will take place from 17 to 21st January, 2011. In just five powerful days, you’ll access all the latest technologies, resources and education you need to keep your business current, competitive and rock-solid. Although this is the first year exhibiting at World Of Concrete or WOC, the organizer are excited to showcase their Job Simplicity product and participate in this premier construction event.

The strength of the industry’s first and most important annual trade show for concrete and masonry professionals can make a world of difference for all types of contractor business like estimating. WOC is the ONLY annual event for the architect, contractor and estimator – no other show has a more focused show floor. If you are in any business segment of the Concrete or Masonry industries, like designing, estimating and all that, this is your show. World of Concrete will bring you quality customers and targeted leads to keep your business running strong in 2011!

In the WOC, there will be two segments; the first is the Seminar (January 17-21) and the other part is the Exhibition (January 18-21). WOC will feature special unique events, a world-class education program with both 3-hour and 90-minutes sessions, industry-specific certifications & exams, interactive demonstrations and competitions, and an opportunity for you to meet with Interntional Exhibitors and network with your peers.

Benefits of Attending WOC:

  • See it all in one place. Find everything you need to win more jobs, make more money and streamline your business.
  • Get connected. Make new contacts and strengthen your industry connections.
  • Work smarter. Learn how to work leaner, greener and more efficiently.
  • Get hands-on. See, touch and test the latest products under real-world, jobsite conditions.
  • Find new opportunities. Capitalize on the trends that will drive future markets and provide opportunities to profit.
  • Get your questions answered. Attend expert-led seminars for the new skills, practical solutions and creative strategies to improve your business.

This is a grant opportunity for all the members of the AEC industry like architects, engineers, contractors, estimators, designer and everybody. This is the most cost effective way to gain multiple leads in the shortest amount of time.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Residential Estimating

Residential estimating can help building professional to get quick access to the details of material and labor breakdowns.
With residential estimating service the building professionals can also update cost according to the increase or decrease of the labor & material price. The building professional can easily control it’s budget, waste, jobsite theft, jobsite damage and trade misuse.
Residential estimating includes estimation of concrete, foundation steel, makeup materials, doors and windows, sheetrock, interior trim, flooring, counters etc.
With the help of residential estimating the building professional can convert their plans, blue print, elevations, sections etc. from 2D drawing into 3D model based on the information to generate realistic dimension to the cost of construction of a building in a timely manner through the use of the most commonly used construction estimating programs including Microsoft Excel.

Posted by
Rajib Dey
Business Development
The construction estimating service

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Industrial risk of Cost Estimation in the Bidding Process

Project cost estimation in the bidding process is a critical concern for the competitiveness and profitability of an engineering and contracting company. Estimates which diverge as little as possible from actual costs have to be made on the basis of relatively limited information. Of the macro-items contributing to the overall cost of a plant project, those
linked to engineering activities have been growing continuously in percentage terms for a number of years and have thus become the object of considerable interest. Moreover, since these items are difficult to standardize, estimation is particularly difficult. A method able to produce reliable estimates for these activities could certainly be usefully transferred to other project stages. The methodology proposed to formulate a bid estimate for a HAZOP study envisages the joint use of three tools to produce more accurate estimates and improve the quality of decisions through explicit assessment of the risk of over-estimating (or under-estimating) the cost.

First, an analytical estimation model based on improved structuring of available information provides more accurate estimates and facilitates the use of IT applications. Second, company knowledge gained in previous projects is structured and maintained in order to ensure continuous improvement in estimation. This information can be used to improve over time the understanding of the determinant values in the model itself, so obtaining increasingly accurate estimates and probability distributions which take account of historical errors. Finally, a simulation technique provides the probability distribution of the overall cost and thus the confidence interval of the estimates.

Project cost estimation in the bidding process is a critical concern for the competitiveness and profitability of an engineering and contracting company as it involves considerable risk. Indeed, with only the limited information available in the tender documents and the partial results of the basic engineering, an estimate must be drawn up which varies as little as possible from the effectively sustained costs. The reason for this is that the industrial goods market is becoming increasingly competitive and the typical contract is now the lump-sum, in which the contractor agrees to supply at a pre-determined price. Since the starting point for this price is the estimate prepared during the bidding, it is evident that this cost estimate is crucial to the competitiveness and profitability of engineering and contracting companies.

That’s why project cost estimation is always a critical process on the part of the engineers. The estimator must have to take great care in the estimating process to deliver an accurate calculation.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Revit Architecture Extension now available

If you have not seen it yet, log into your Autodesk subscription site and there is a new extension available for Revit Architecture - "The Roombook Extension".

The Roombook Extension for Autodesk® Revit® Architecture 2011 software helps calculate the surface area of walls, floors and ceiling elements, room circumferences and the total number of furnishing elements within a project.

In addition to the automated detection of room areas and surfaces, this extension helps users configure these elements manually to local requirements, as well as achieve more accurate model take-offs. Quantified results can be exported to Microsoft® Excel® software and Autodesk® Quantity Takeoff (QTO) 2010 software.

Currently it is available in English and German, and includes the International Project Standard and the German VOB Standard measurement systems. There's a pretty good ReadMe PDF available - let us know if your subscription is up to date and you can't seem to find the extension.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tips for a perfect estimation

Always just before to start a project some questions crawling in the minds of every member of the Architects, Engineers and Construction industry. How much will it cost? How many days will it take to finish? What will be the profit margin of the project? To get answers of all these questions you should seek the help of project estimation.

Any construction projects typically involve many dynamic aspects, yet they're often constrained by finite conditions. These contradictory forces make it very difficult to determine with pinpoint accuracy the time and effort required. By using a set of proactive estimating techniques to scope, plan, and constrain your project conditions, you can dramatically improve your estimating practices, reduce and mitigate risks, and increase your project success rate.

Do you excel at predicting the time, funding, and resources your projects will require? Whether your company aims to develop a new product or service, update an existing system, or launch a new Web site, these undertakings will require people, schedules, funding, resources, requirements, testing, revising, implementation, evaluation, and many other elements. Sometimes we forget the hidden or unknown variables that are difficult or impossible to anticipate and sometime even more difficult to resolve.

That’s why you need to be more careful when estimating for a construction project. Here we are discussing about some important tips for perfect project estimation.

  1. Maintain an ongoing "actual hours" database of the recorded time spent on each aspect of your construction projects. Use the data to help estimate future projects and identify the historically accurate buffer time needed to realistically perform the work.

  1. Create and use planning documents, such as specifications and project plans.

  1. Perform a detailed task analysis of the work to be performed.

  1. Use a "complexity factor" as a multiplier to determine whether a pending project is more or less complex than a previous one.

  1. Use more than one method to arrive at an estimate, and look for a midpoint among all of them.

  1. Identify a set of caveats, constraints, and assumptions to accompany your calculations, which would bind the conditions under which your estimates would be meaningful. (Anything that occurs outside of those constraints would be considered out of scope).

  1. If the proposed budget or schedule seems inadequate to do the work, propose adjusting upward or downward one or more of the four project scoping criteria: cost, schedule, quality, and features.

  1. Consider simpler or more efficient ways to organize and perform the work.

  1. Plan and estimate the project rollout from the very beginning so that the rollout won't become a chaotic scramble at the end. For instance, you could propose using a minimally disruptive approach, such as a pilot program or a phased implementation.

  1. In really nebulous situations, consider a phase-based approach, where the first phase focuses primarily on requirements gathering and estimating.

  1. Develop contingency plans by prioritizing the deliverables right from the start into "must-have" and "nice-to-have" categories.

  1. Refer to your lessons-learned database for "20:20 foresight" on new projects, and incorporate your best practices into future estimates.

In conclusion, by using a set of proactive estimating techniques to scope, plan, and constrain your project conditions, you can dramatically improve your estimating practices, reduce and mitigate risks, and greatly increase your project success rate!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Importance of Project Estimation

Though Project Estimation is now has become very important part for the Architecture, Engineering and Construction or AEC industry, many of us really don’t understand the importance of Project Estimation. Many think that project estimation is a waste of budget. But the fact is that it is a very important part of any construction project. If we view the project result, we find out that around 30% of projects are cancelled befire completion just because of it run out of money.

Effective project estimation is one of the most challenging and important activities in the AEC industry. Proper project planning and control is not possible without a sound and reliable estimate. The AEC industry suffers for the wrong estimation of any project badly. Under-estimating a project leads to under- staffing it, under scoping the quality assurance effort and setting too short schedule which resulting the loss of credibility as deadlines are missed. For those who figure on avoiding this situation by generously padding the estimate, over estimating a project can be just about as bad for the organization. If you give a project more resources than it really needs without sufficient scope controls it will use them. The project is then likely to cost more than it should, take longer to deliver than necessary and delay the use of your resources on the next project.

Project estimation is one of the aspects of business that requires some degree of consideration, because the succeeding phases of the project are dependent on the accuracy and the efficiency of this process. Project estimation provides details that would go beyond the capabilities of manual processing even with an army of accountants. Construction businesses require a specialized accounting software system with streamlined estimating facilities.

According to the statistic over 66% of projects are not delivered on time, on budget or to expected quality. This negatively impacts staff productivity, product quality, customer relationships and overall credibility. Good project estimation and planning goes beyond tools, techniques and processes. It’s also about the right attitude, understanding and mutual expectation – not just from the Architect, Engineers and Contractors but also from senior management. When we understand together what can be done, what has been done, and what is being put before us, we can successfully plan projects to make them more predictable.

In this way we find out that why project estimation is important for the AEC industry. Not only to win the bid, accurate project estimation is helpful to finish the project within budget and time frame that increase credibility as well as profit of them.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Labor estimating is very crucial factor for calculating accurate construction cost

Good project management in construction depends upon the well-organized application of labor, material and equipment as these components comprises a large part of the construction cost. In order to control cost of constructed facilities, labor estimating is one of the most important concerns.
The owner can gauge the success of an operating system on the whole with labor productivity by utilizing labor, equipment and capital to transfer labor efforts into useful productivity.
The labor estimating will vary according job location, accessibility of skilled labor, contract wage regulations, union or open shop labor requirements, general market conditions, and so on.Labor Productivity is frequently described as functional units per labor hour for each type of construction task. The thorough application of labor hours to a quantity result in managing the exactness and competence of labor estimating. The assessment and explanation of labor estimating process often leads to the accuracy of the project's schedule and work force requirements.
The project costs include the major factors like combined costs for worker's compensation, unemployment insurance and social security taxes. The perfect method for including these costs is to describe labor hours and wage rates; then apply percentages to the labor costs.
If construction output is stated in terms of functional units, the labor productivity will be related with units of product per labor hour, for example cubic yards of concrete placed per hour or miles of highway paved per hour.
On the contrary if it is expressed with constant dollars, the labor productivity is recognized with value of construction (in constant dollars) per labor hour to which factors for waste, overhead, and profit are added to capitulate the unit cost in dollars. A labor dollar per unit of work (ex: $20 per cubic yard for grade beams or $30 per cubic yard for walls) will only be relevant if the cost history supports the data being used.
Now-a-days computer aided design software are available for perfect labor estimating. These softwares are applied for collecting and controlling all labor records, analyzing labor costs with projects and activities for inclusion in project-based cost analysis and reporting. In order to get a perfect estimation of the complete construction costs, just add the labor estimating cost and other contingency expenses.

Posted By
Rajib Dey
Business Development
The construction Estimating Service

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Estimating Software – An Aid to the Contractor

Construction cost calculations can be a big place for building estimating errors. These cost calculations can easily take a lot of time and cause errors. Yet, cost estimating is singularly the most important aspect of new home construction!

This is why using construction software is such a great idea that thousands of contractors around the country have started to do construction estimating. No one wants error in time of calculating estimation for the house. As house is the biggest and important financial investment of one’s life, we want to make it very simple and accurate estimation. That’s why you have to opt for estimating software.

First of all you have to know what estimating software is. Software estimation is the process of predicting the effort required to develop a software system. This paper provides a general overview of software cost estimation methods including the recent advances in the field. As a number of these models rely on a software size estimate as input, we first provide an overview of common size metrics. We then highlight the cost estimation models that have been proposed and used successfully. Models may be classified into 2 major categories: algorithmic and non-algorithmic. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. A key factor in selecting a cost estimation model is the accuracy of its estimates. Unfortunately, despite the large body of experience with estimation models, the accuracy of these models is not satisfactory. The paper includes comment on the performance of the estimation models and description of several newer approaches to cost estimation of a construction project.

With the ease of use, accuracy and speed estimating software gives to its users, it is no wonder so many contractors are already using it. Time is money, so the ability to do more estimates in the same time is a big saver. Many users find they can do up to ten estimates in the time it was taking them to do just one by hand, spending 1/10th the time estimating each job. This speed comes without an increase in complexity. Generally the estimating software are designed from the beginning to be easy to use and to allow you keep your current flow for estimating. Whereas the old technique can make you change and do your work the way the estimators think is best, these estimating software’s developers let you set the rules.

This easiness to learn is one of the reasons users have found they can begin doing estimates the first day they have estimating software. The complex works of estimation are made easy with it. Why the estimators would stick on the complex process without choosing the easy but accurate way to get estimation for the dream house. As little as a decade ago the job of cost estimating was a quagmire, even for experienced professional builders. But now every estimator is using the estimating software. Various estimating software are available in the market which can fulfill your requirements of estimation.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Steps to Estimate a construction Project

Estimating a construction project budget can be a tedious task that is accentuated by the fact that there are three types of costs that need to be considered. Project budgets generally contain variable, fixed and per-use costs. Depending on the size of the project, it is beneficial to use a spreadsheet to calculate and set the project budget.


Set the variable pay rates. For costs that fluctuate based on the number of hours consumed, set a standard pay rate. Estimate the number of hours that the resource will be assigned to a task and multiply those hours by the standard pay rate. For example, if you need to hire a contractor and mason, you can set the market standard pay rates per hour, respectively. If you believe the project will take 160 hours for each employee, your total can be calculated easily. Create a pay rate and time estimate for each variable expense in the project. After multiplying the rate by the time estimate, add up these figures so you will have the total variable cost.

Calculate per-use costs of the materials. If a particular resource costs a certain amount each time it is used, take note of the cost per use and then estimate the total amount of times you will be using it for the project. This is generally one project task that has both variable and fixed costs. For instance, the project requires a piece of machinery that has large setup costs and then hourly employee wages to run it. Combining both of these costs of the task is more efficient than tracking them separately, so you can easily manage efficiencies. As with the variable costs, calculate the estimated per-use costs for each per-use expense you perceive in the project to determine the total per-use costs.

Compute fixed costs. List all the costs that are one-time expenses that will not vary throughout the project or that you don't expect to pay more than once. For instance, fixed costs could be purchasing software, machinery, equipment or licenses. Add up all of the fixed costs to get the project's total fixed costs.

List the variable, per-use and fixed costs and then total the amount. This is considered the total estimate for the construction project's budget.

Create an addendum to include estimates. Underneath the total estimate for the project's budget, include all of the estimates used for devising this figure. For instance, say you believe it will take 160 hours each for the programmer and website designer to complete this project.

If you find all these things too much complex then just hire a professional estimator. He will do the estimates of your construction project efficiently. Quantity-TakeOff is one of the websites who provides services in different kinds of estimating.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Estimating – Make the First Step of Your Construction Perfect

Whenever you start for preparing a construction project, the first step is the most important always. The success of all projects depends on it. And the major part of the first step of any construction is involved estimating. Estimating is the tool, with which the contractor can win the bid of a project, earn maximum profit and finish the project within time frame and budget.

First of all you have to know what is estimating. Estimating is the calculation of the possible amount of required material, man power, time and cost of a construction project. The professional estimators find out with various up to date software the amount of materials from a depth research of the blue print of the floor plan. Then they calculate the present market price of the materials. The exact number of labor and various other sub contractors finds out by them. Then the daily wages of the labor and sub contractors would be calculate. The proper sequence of work also find out by the estimators not only with the help of the software but also their vast experience in this field.

An accurate estimation helps the architects to win the bid because the proper budget for the project attracts the building owners. But winning the bid is not the only help you get from estimating. You can finish the whole project within the budget. There are many instances of running out of money in the middle phase of the project. This instance is almost rare for a proper estimated project. You can also have the right sequence of work which help you most to appoint the accurate number of labor for any given phase of the project. Due to lack of error, the misuse of fund is also not found in this case. You can draw the higher profit from an estimated project than any other non estimated project. That’s why it is very important to take the first step of your construction projct by applying estimating services of various estimating service providers like Quantity-TakeOff.

Posted BY
Debarati Nath
Content Writer
Construction Estimating Service

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Estimating Tips for Earthwork

Estimating the actual cost of performing earthwork requires careful consideration of the variables involved. This includes items such as type of soil, whether water will be encountered, dewatering, whether banks need bracing, disposal of excavated earth, and length of haul to fill or spoil sites, etc.

It is very important to consider what time of year the project is scheduled for completion. Bad weather can create large cost overruns from dewatering, site repair, and lost productivity from cold weather.

Pit Excavation
When figuring the slope areas of pit excavation, remember that the slope areas usually form a right triangle when viewed as a section. Since the area of two right triangles equals the area of one rectangle with equal base and height dimensions, the volume of the slope area will equal the depth of the pit (the height) times the cut back distance of the slope (the base) times half the perimeter of the pit.

Cut and Fill
If a project has a large quantity of cut or fill, consider inquiring whether the site grade can be raised or lowered to economize the earthwork portion of the estimate.

If the project requires a large quantity of fill, consider creating a borrow pit on the site. This can lower the estimate significantly, as the cost for suitable fill material can be quite high in some areas of the country. The borrow pit can also be helpful as a receptacle for on-site spoil or other excavated materials, in this case saving dump charges.

It is important to keep in mind the location and availability of dump sites for spoil while estimating earthwork . Unexpectedly, large cost can accrue if the only site open to receive spoil quite a distance away.

Clearing and Grubbing
Often one of the most expensive parts of clearing and grubbing is the disposal of tree stumps. It is a good idea to know how and where this task can be carried out before completing the estimate.

Site Access
One of the most common mistakes made in site work estimating involves site access. Estimators should visit the site not only to review site conditions, but to trace the route that the general or subcontractors’ equipment will take to get to the site. If the equipment that is to be used on this project cannot get to the site, the estimate may be completely inaccurate.

Sewerage and Drainage
One should not automatically assume that the sewerage and drainage lines will go in at the early stages of the project. It may appear to make sense from a scheduling standpoint, but the inconvenience of having the site divided in half, with open trenches, loose pipe, and restricted access, may ultimately cost more in lost time.

Subsurface Investigations
Many companies, eager to get started on their projects, shortchange the site investigation process. For the relatively short times and small amount of money involved, it is not a good idea to skimp on this important item. The untimely discovery of even one subsurface “abnormality” can be a painful lesson. Investigate the site thoroughly!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Construction estimating process

 Place the paper plans for digitization on the tablet. In the case of working with scanner version scan the plans. In the case of on-screen version, load the image. On-screen programs should work with all file types, including AutoCAD DWG, PDF, and TIFF
 Initiate the Take-Offs program
 Enter the scale units, English or metric
 Enter the scale or compute the scale from the plans by digitizing a recognized distance.
 Select the digitize area, length, perimeter, counts, multiple line segments or sum of line segments
 Digitize the item using the digitizing tablet
 Digitizing can be point to point, or continuous curves.
 Digitized items are put on view on screen while digitizing
 The software estimates the item from the digitized data. Do again for other items.
 Print a report with an image diagram of the digitized data and a table of results.
 If contractors get AutoCAD DWG files, certain programs may enable them to perform a direct CAD import without the need to digitize.
 One can export the take-off result by pressing the excel button to the excel spreadsheet. The report can also be published to DWF file format.

Posted by
Rajib Dey
Business Development

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A variety of Functions of cost estimate in construction push you to success

Now- a- days construction becomes that business field which is changing rapidly with the changes of the society. As the total civilization is changing across the world, the demands of people are almost changing with the necessity of present situation. Ultimately the total process of construction is changing itself. To accommodate with the new kind of changes an ideal businessman must concentrate on his project as well as his project cost. Otherwise he or she can not be able to make him or herself stand steadily in the construction business.

So to be a successful businessman you must aware of the importance as well as the functions of the cost estimate in construction

Estimate Project Costs:
To determine the total cost of the project is the main function of cost estimating in construction. To estimate the individual costs of each major component of the project is the second stage of cost estimation. Even when the construction planning begins the project-wide estimate is often done before it. It is one of the vital determining factors in the final cost estimating process.

The factors behind the estimation:
The estimates for the individual parts of the project get underway once the total project budget is established. The estimates for the project depends on all the materials, labor, equipment and subcontractor costs. Such other general conditions like permit costs, temporary office costs, and utility and insurance costs also work as the “factors” behind the estimation.

Developing Materials List:
Materials keep an important part in estimating the cost of the whole project. If the list of materials becomes long, the cost of the project automatically becomes high. In that case the estimation will be done based on the high cost of the project. So an estimator must be careful about the list of the materials as it is an essential part of determining the cost of the whole project before the construction starts at all.
Some materials in a project must be looked at more critically during estimating because slight differences in their features can make big differences in their costs. And individual cost difference makes a great effect on total cost of the project as we have already discussed before.

Specify Equipment Needs:
Equipment to move materials, people and earth must be included in the final project estimate. As the estimators consider how the work will get done, they have to think about what equipment & what kind of equipment will be necessary; as the cost depends on the quality & quantity of the equipments. Estimators have to decide if certain equipment will be hired, or if there is contractor-owned equipment that will do the job. The required equipment must be specified on the project schedule for hiring, and in the case of owned equipment the equipment managers will be notified so that the hiring cost will be saved as well as the estimation will not reach at so high.

Simply, we can say estimation is just like a budget. If we can maintain our budget we will definitely save certain money for our future as we have already decided while do the budget. Similarly, if we can estimate the cost of a project properly we will definitely make a good profit which we may utilize in another project. On the contrary, if we can not we must have to face a big failure. So we must aware of the functions of cost estimate in construction to meet the success.