Eric David

Freelance Writer

Eric David is a professor of electrical technology at Long Beach (Calif.) City College, a consultant and an expert witness. He can be reached at 562.597.1877 or at

Articles by Eric David

January 2005
Diogenes, who wandered the streets of Athens many centuries ago, was looking for an honest man. Contractors looking for an estimator candidate face a similar situation. Field personnel see estimating as a step out of the field to more pleasant surroundings, but often don't realize the stress that comes with being an estimator. On the other hand, middle managers consider estimating a drudge. READ MORE
December 2004
These days, the estimating process is not causing many estimators furrowed brows. Problems are arising with how plans are transmitted from the engineer to the contractor. Traditional project plans evolved from the pioneering “blueprint,” which had a blue background and white lines indicating the buildings' contents, hence the name. The details of the plan were inked on a sheet. READ MORE
November 2004
There are ways to combat unethical practices It's clear that an estimator's duties are not simple, but no one should take the easy route and submit to ethical violations. Unfortunately, the egregious corporate examples over the last few years have provided a sort of sanctuary to some of the most damaging violators. READ MORE
October 2004
Consider experience, skills and personality Judging by some labor shortages, perhaps the drought of work is coming to an end. At the same time, contractors may be considering changes for the better in the estimating department. Adding to the expected shortages of people power is the aging baby boomers who are reaching retirement. READ MORE
September 2004
Trade shows are a great place to learn The annual rites of summer’s last gasp: the Labor Day barbecue, returning the kids to school and preparing for the NECA convention. The annual show is good opportunity for estimators to see the industry’s new products. It’s also the time to “kick the tires”—to view the advances in the various estimating programs. READ MORE
August 2004
It’s important to change with the times Project specifications have evolved over the years, but nothing has equaled the proposed revisions to the specifications section that have developed recently. When an electrical project was about 5 percent of the total construction cost, most “specifications” were oral and based on an understanding between the owner and the builder. READ MORE
July 2004
Watching the market can be helpful One of the operations that is part of the estimating process is researching the most competitive material prices for a large variety of items. Some sources estimate that in excess of 100,000 individual listings would not be an unreasonable content. Fluctuations can be seen when you have hard-copy updates of your price source. READ MORE
June 2004
Even behind-the-scenes employees can help the effort Many estimators think of marketing as something that is done by others in the company. However, electrical contracting is a changing industry, and these days estimators are part of the marketing team. It may not be called marketing, but working toward bringing profitable jobs to the company should not stop at the office front door. READ MORE
May 2004
Hidden dangers lead to hidden costs Contractors don’t normally involve the estimating department in safety concerns except for those that affect the actual work of the estimator such as job site visits and the like. There is a much larger picture that does involve not only the electrical contracting industry but can also affect the estimators’ productivity and success rate. READ MORE