Some specifications are to be taken seriously. Here is one example: “It is the electrical contractor’s (EC’s) responsibility to examine the facility thoroughly for any conditions that may affect its bid.
Estimators are the link between the contractor and the customer, the project and the contract, the company and its revenue. While only a percentage of estimates yield a project, contractors know each one needs to be treated as a sure thing.
Contractors are gamblers by nature. They risk their livelihood on a multitude of factors, many of them uncontrollable, such as the weather, commodity prices and the actions of others. Nowhere is this risk better demonstrated than during the competitive bidding process.
Various internet sources claim that adults make an average of 35,000 decisions each day. While that total may be in dispute, it highlights the constant activity our brains are in deciding on matters both inconsequential and life changing.
California has long been known as an energy-conservation pioneer. To lead the way on electrical issues, the state uses a set of rules known as Title 24, Part 6, which is updated every three years. The current rules became mandatory for any project seeking a permit after July 1, 2014.
Where it was
My first exposure to material pricing was in the mid-1970s when I was promoted to pricing clerk/assistant-purchasing agent at a wholesale house. My new desk was dominated by a 4-foot wide, metal-framed collection of pages called the Biddle Book, which was furnished by Trade Service Publications.
The other day, I saw an online discussion about using the labor units that come with computer estimating systems. The question was whether you should use the labor units as is. The simple answer is “maybe.” The complex answer is also “maybe.”
For as long as I have been in this industry, material substitutions have been a way to save money on projects. The process eventually became known as “value engineering.” Theoretically, the contractor, and maybe the owner, saves money by replacing a specified product with a less costly one.
When I decided to write an article about the difficulties contractors are having hiring good people, I had no idea what I was getting into. Once again, I had picked a subject with passionate people on both sides of the table.
For several years, I have been seeing a new hole in the theoretically 100-percent-complete electrical drawings we are provided for bidding. Within the last year, the problem has gotten bigger, driven by increasingly strict energy-usage requirements.
An estimator’s primary job is to produce an accurate estimate. However, estimators may also bear the responsibility for protecting their employers and themselves from risk. It does not matter if you are a small, medium or large contractor.
They’re here. The mavens of technology have arrived to tell us that, once again, we must move on to the next great thing. According to them, web-based software is the path to the future. The “cloud” is where we now must compute, write, schedule, calculate and present.
Spreadsheet software is made for crunching numbers, but database programs are made for crunching data, and they do it better. Consider the following reasons why a database is a good platform for electrical estimating systems.
I was recently following a forum discussion about issues related to using spreadsheet software for estimating. It turned into a spreadsheet–versus–database argument and got a little heated. The truth is both systems have a place in your estimating toolbox.
Determining how much of the National Electrical Code (NEC) estimators should know depends on several factors, including how much they initially knew when they became estimators, the type of work they are bidding, who they are working for, the completeness of the bid documents, and their goals as est
Whether they know it or not, most estimators are in the marketing business. Every time they speak to someone, they influence that person’s feelings about them and the company they work for. If estimators are rude to vendors, they may not get the best pricing.