Are you still wondering if you should buy estimating software? I know this seems like a silly question, especially with it being 2009 and all, but I consistently hear about (and from) many electrical contractors who are still not using software.
An estimator recently asked how to tighten up his estimates without getting too far out of his comfort zone. His zone was 20-plus years experience and knowledge that told him exactly what jobs require; this was not helping him compete in our insanely aggressive and below-cost bidding environment.
I attended a lecture recently where the guest speaker gave a detailed overview on building Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects, and I learned a surprising thing: It’s not only about the green materials used for the construction, but also how things are built.
McCormick Systems, Chandler, Arizona, recently presented a check for $100,000 to ELECTRI International—The Foundation for Electrical Construction. “We have been involved with ELECTRI International for many years.
The competitive bid market always has been a brutal arena, even during the best of times. Winning a contract takes more than having a tight estimate or the best lighting fixture quote. Even having the lowest price won’t ensure you get listed by the general contractors.
Two of my previous articles go well with this one. “Are Your Estimators Bored?” (March 2006) and “Never Stop Bidding Work” (March 2008). They both address this article’s topic: keeping estimators busy. So off you go to ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR’s archives at www.ecmag.com.
My role as an estimator has changed dramatically over the past 10 years. Much of my time these days is spent estimating the estimates, trying to assess how long it will take my staff members to complete them.
I’m continually asked what I think estimators should be paid. It’s a complicated question. I think contractors should invest a lot of money on their estimating. However, as the owner of an outsource estimating firm, I may be a bit biased.
When trying to determine where they might lose labor on a project, why would an electrical estimator focus on the switchgear and electrical rooms? Can there really be much to worry about? These rooms pale in comparison to the rest of the project, right?
The slowing economy may be challenging the construction industry, but technology vendors say they can help electrical contractors ride it out by making their work more efficient, allowing them to accomplish more estimates, spend less staff time looking for documents, and keep up with a world that i
My team members and I recently estimated the most intensive lighting design we have ever seen: a major high-rise hotel in Las Vegas. Until you start one of these projects, you have no idea what intense lighting design entails.
F1, A, B, D3, W, EX, Y AND Z; MA1, MA2, #3 and, oh, let's see; how about “not designated?” Do these look familiar? We see hundreds of them every day, in every design, on every job. They are lighting fixture identification tags, sometimes called designations, types or markers.
Estimating got you down? Giving you the blues? Trust me, I know how you feel. But don’t get too depressed. There’s a cure just up ahead at the crossroads. Perhaps you can make a deal with someone who is waiting there. Though I don’t recommend selling your soul for estimating.
I touched on the design/build work two years ago. I reviewed what I wrote, so I wouldn’t repeat myself (my editors hate that). What I said two years ago is relevant to what I’m about to discuss now. So after reading this column, read my June 2006 column, “Estimating Blind.”
In the beginning …
Conceptual estimating is one of the oldest forms of project quality control and preproject planning. Today, a majority of the conceptual elements are now being performed by technology as opposed to human creativity and inspiration.