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.
You probably wouldn't believe me if I told you feeders are one of the easier systems to estimate. I don’t blame you. Staring at a single-line riser diagram can be daunting. But estimating feeders is simply a matter of determining the distance between two points.
As part of calculating your final sell price, you need to determine how many electricians it will take to build the job. The answer could determine whether you need to factor in additional labor costs, such as overtime labor, supervision costs and more labor hours.
It's 6 pm as two estimators walk into a bar. They sit down, order a beer and start comparing takeoff techniques. The old estimator, who has been estimating more than 30 years, says, “I put all my counts on paper spreadsheets, then I enter them into the computer later.
During the past 10+ years, I’ve worked with contractors of all different shapes and sizes. With many of them—regardless of shape or size—I have witnessed a common, dangerously fatal reaction to the “we-got-work-now” situation.
McCormick Systems User’s Conference is set for April 2-5 in Tempe, Ariz. The event brings dozens of contractors and estimators together to talk with each other, speak with McCormick staff, and listen to presentations. Two full days of educational sessions are scheduled.
Regardless of size and type, disconnect switches are typically shown as the same, nondescript symbol. If you don’t find out and know everything you can about the disconnect switches you are estimating, you could be losing your company thousands of dollars and even a bid here and there.