It is already the month of May—I know, I can’t believe it either—and the feeling of spring is in the air. Spring typically means warmer weather, longer days to get the estimates done and, of course, your annual tech support fees are due.
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.
'Just in time' used to be the battle cry in security product manufacturing and distribution. Now, it is more than just in time-it is all about arming the contractor with the information they need to boost sales and present the end-user with a product portfolio adeptly suited to the application.
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.
Access control is nothing new. Locks on doors and windows are a rudimentary form of shutting people out. While not the most effective means of control, plenty of facilities use it as their only means of security. ID cards are nothing new either.
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.
“Trusted computing” (TC) is another modern commercial computer tool. Just what does that mean? The dictionary presented definitions such as “have faith in,” “rely on,” “have confidence in” and “count on.” The concept and need for “trusted” computing started with our own federal government.
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.
When computer-drawn Blueprints for electrical contractors And other tradesmen first appeared, few people really understood AutoCAD or how to use it. In today's fast-paced construction industry, if you are still unsure of what CAD can do, you may find yourself losing out on some valuable contracts.