Estimating is the technical process of predicting costs of construction. Preparing estimates and bidding for new jobs is not a cheap operation. The cost of preparing estimates and bidding is accounted for under general overhead or the cost of doing business. As estimators in the building industry, we need documents that provide information which enables builders to have an accurate cost prediction to quote. In preparing an estimate, the estimator must go through a series of steps as follows:
1. Get familiar with the project
You need to become familiar with the project and all the information concerning any aspect of the project. Interview with the client, designer, and the builder can be help us finding more details about the job. Whenever you prepare an estimate, you should visit the site before too much work is done. It is probably best to visit the site after the first meeting with the client. Site visit is always the best friend of an estimator to find out information about the job. During the site visit you should look for things that will influence the construction program in any way. look for creeks, gullies or any water problems that may affect your costing, ways of access to site for trucks, cranes, and workers, and required temporary services like toilet, fence, or sediment control. Also look for power to the site (overhead or underground) and think about prepare a temporary power if not available. Put yourself in the builder's shoe and build the house in your mind.
2. Study all documents associated with the project
It is essential that before any work is commenced on pricing a project, you become familiar with all the documents associated with that project. Those documents must include as a bare minimum, the following documents:
- The project working drawings
- The specification
- Soil test results
- Engineering designs
- Colour Selection documents
- Tender documents
- Contract (if available)
- Client's correspondents
As you peruse the documents make notes of any special or unfamiliar requirements. This will assist you later on. Upload and attach any document you used to cost your job to the Project / Costing.
3. Make a preliminary list of needed specialists quotes
Prepare a list of materials, trades and subcontractor that will require quotations.
Use historical data of the previously costed projects to make your list. Review the company's trusted suppliers and check whether you need them in this project.
You also can check the Breinz Trade List (Trade WBS) on the Price List section.
4. Prepare a costing plan and WBS
Once you feel confident that you are familiar with the project, prepare a series of preliminary construction programs, beginning with a general program and getting more detailed as you refine the details. Prepare a work breakdown structure (WBS) hierarchy for your project. WBS is a hierarchical and incremental decomposition of the project into phases, deliverables and work packages, to organize items into manageable sections.
You can use Construction Sequence (like siteworks, foundation, frame, roof,...), Elements (like slab, frame, windows, retaining walls,...), floors (First Floor, second floor,...), or Trades (carpenter, plumber, painter,...) as the WBS of your project to organize items. In Breinz, there are many templates to use as a construction BWS for your project. You also can use multiple structures to organize items in floors, elements, and trades.
5. Prepare Bill of Quantity (BOQ)
Basically measuring and estimating can be broken into a number of stages:
- Writing and description: clearly describing what has to be completed so that the work can be accurately priced.
- Taking-off: measuring the quantities of labour and material required from the plans and specification to find the areas, volumes, and numbers of each item required.
- Pricing or costing the item: this is the process of calculating the cost of each item from the extended quantity. This cost should include all materials, labour and plant necessary to place and fix the item into position.
Keeping track of your take-offs and how calculating it would help you later on project, as well as any other colleague that may want to find the quantities. In Breinz you can calculate and quantities and keep the steps you went to reach to the final figures.
Use your suppliers price list or Breinz' trusted suppliers to find the correct cost of each item.