The job walk, which is completed prior to estimating in the bid process, is an item of considerable disagreement within the estimating community. Many regard it as an excuse to escape from the office; this attitude can lead to serious problems.
Opinions differ on whether it's worth the time during the estimating stage of a project to compile a detailed materials list.
If a job is estimated with the expectation of doing the work, then a rational materials list will save a second estimating process.
In a previous column, I discussed the transfer of symbol counts to the material listing sheets. Labor units are derived from the materials to be installed, so the complete listing of all nomenclature is critical. Using assembly units makes listing painless.
The first distinction an estimator must accept is that a labor unit is not absolute; it is a benchmark, or starting point. This statement may sound odd, but ask yourself, if three electrical contractors undertook the same job, would all three complete the job in the same time?
With this last article on paperless estimating, I want to touch on a few of the greater benefits and potential issues you may face. I’m hoping some of you have already purchased and are now using “in-screen” takeoff (IST) software, after reading parts one and two of this series.