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

July 2003
Some of this column’s readers have sent comments and questions, and one of those prompts this month’s column regarding the earthwork on a project. The question posed was how to control the costs of earthwork and this brings to the forefront the importance of an adequate allowance for this division included in an estimate. READ MORE
June 2003
A good schedule saves time and money The site for a new, multibuilding high school project was on a hillside requiring massive grading and rock removal. The buildings were of wood and steel construction and housed six classrooms each. READ MORE
May 2003
Schedules of expected operations and mileposts for a job being estimated are increasingly important for many tasks, not the least of which is assuring that the company’s assets are used wisely. This is especially true as projects grow in volume and costs, while allowed construction time is decreased, and the competition grows. READ MORE
April 2003
The last line of the estimate is the most complex Picture this: The estimate is complete, including all direct and indirect costs, and overhead and net profit have been calculated as well. Any applicable additional taxes have been added to the bid. Finally, it’s time to fill in the last empty line of the estimate. READ MORE
March 2003
Contractors’ feedback in the preparation of NECA’s Financial Performance Report (Index #1055) indicates that project costs divide among three major divisions. In general, the job costs will generally consume about 60 percent by way of material and labor costs. The remaining percentages go to various other expenses for the operation of the business. READ MORE
February 2003
Once upon a time, as fairy tales go, designing engineers produced workable electrical plans with very few errors. Of course that was when the average electrical project amounted to a mere 5 percent of a project’s overall costs. In today’s market, that 5 percent wouldn’t even cover the sales tax on materials. Once upon a time, engineers took responsibility for their designs. READ MORE
January 2003
Last month’s column described the use of the Eichleay formula for recovering overhead costs in change orders. The rationale for using this formula is that the overhead required to compensate for a time extension or increased crew size caused by a change order must produce sufficient financial resources to cover the resultant home office expenses. READ MORE
October 2002
Like many a novice, overworked contractor, I once found myself spread out on the dining room table making a takeoff when my teenage daughter asked if she could help. My first inclination was absolutely negative, but then I figured she could count symbols too. Therein lies a problem too many managers have, the reluctance to delegate. READ MORE
September 2002
In the past, the headline on this column would have turned off most estimators from reading further. They would have claimed this as part of the controller’s job. The facts of life, though, are that reviewing estimates before they become a binding bid is a relatively painless and simple procedure. Going back in history can provide valuable comparison information. READ MORE