The upgrades are coming! The upgrades are coming! Yes, it is time for your favorite estimating software company to release its thoroughly beta-tested new features and much anticipated repairs of any bugs and glitches.
We all make mistakes. After all, we are human, aren’t we? Flesh and blood, instinct and intellect—we can’t be just computer chips and software, calculators and ScaleMasters. Yes, estimators are only human, and we make mistakes. But don’t tell your boss; that is, unless you actually make a mistake.
Estimating can get boring. Count, count, count—highlight all the little symbols, color all the lines red, enter the counts into the computer. Clicking the days away, one job at a time. It is nobody’s fault—any job can become tedious.
In this highly competitive industry, you need to bid more work than you are capable of doing. Most of this work comes with unforgiving deadlines and requires many hours of estimating. Hours you don’t have. Estimators you don’t have.
In my December column, I recommended you review last year’s estimating strategy. By examining what worked and the reasons for losses, you understand how to be more successful next year. Well, guess what? It is next year and the estimating clock started ticking two weeks ago.
My final thoughts for 2005 are for all the owners, chief and senior estimators out there—the team leaders who bear the responsibility of determining which direction their estimating department will take their company.
Even with the best software, training and proficient users-a program is only as good as its parts database. A parts database must be accurately built and consistently managed. Just like your company trucks, it is an important tool.
A leading architecture/engineering member of the CSI revision team (who requested anonymity) described the genesis of the change to MasterFormat 2004 this way: “Division 16 was used to describe means and methods of lighting and distribution of power in buildings.
The destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina is unfathomable to me. To think about the reconstruction seems premature and pointless; a self-serving distraction to take my mind away from the tragedy. But as Americans, this is what we do, and I believe it is why this country succeeds.
When I was asked to write 1,200 words on how to train an estimator I thought, “This should be easy, I train estimators every day.” After a few hours of organizing my thoughts and writing my outline, I realized 1,200 words will barely scratch the surface.
The simple days of “base bid only” are long gone. Today’s bid form is alive, changing on a moment’s notice and getting meaner every day. It doesn’t know who you are and it doesn’t care how you laid out your estimate.
A new week of estimating has begun, giving you another chance to beat your bid schedule. You tell yourself that this week you will take a lunch break every day and go home on time. You will not be distracted. You will make every minute count, and you will not work on Saturday.
In today's fast-paced and highly competitive industry, estimators are often asked to achieve the impossible: estimate numerous projects, both large and small, and in a very short amount of time. The pressure placed on an estimating team can be intense, to say the least.
We have a couple of items for April. One is an information update from a previous column. Another concerns new sustainable building requirements, which is very topical. It is a bit of a head's up on how these requirements may have hidden costs you might miss in a bid.
In June 2003, Richard Manrod presented his paper, “The How, Why and Future of Estimating” to NECA's Academy of Electrical Contracting. Since things change so rapidly, we talked to Manrod to find out if some of his ideas have come true.