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Taming Construction Quotes, Estimates and Bids

Everybody wants to know what it will cost – now! Construction project estimating can be a hectic activity, but is also one of critical importance. Estimates determine profit (or loss) on a project, so maximum accuracy and precision are both essential. A good estimate is the firm foundation that the rest of the construction project is to be built on. Yet many estimates and bids must be put together under time pressure, with the added complexity of separate subcontractor information and materials quotes. Taming these budgetary beasts is what Sage Estimating, an application hosted by LoadSpring, is designed to help users to do.

Down with Stress Levels

Pressure may be unavoidable, but stress can be reduced. High stress can lead to errors and omissions, neither of which helps to make good project estimates. Low stress and better quality estimating can be encouraged by using estimating software that is clear, intuitive and easy to use. They can be further enhanced by the availability of pricing databases with easily modifiable models, assemblies and pre-built components for a head start in estimating. Access within Sage Estimating to databases with current manufacturer prices, including standard pricing from RS Means, helps make better estimates faster too. Custom databases can be built per project or per type of activity.

Easy Takeoffs for Rapid Estimates

Estimators use construction plans and data to ‘take off’ the numbers of items required to make the matching cost estimates. While this can be done manually, electronic takeoffs accelerate the process, both for initial estimates and for any change orders down the line. Sage offers a range of such electronic solutions that not only increase productivity, but also efficiency and accuracy. Takeoff options include takeoffs for single items or a whole construction system simultaneously.

What If You Did It This Way Instead?

To guard against mistakes or missing information, it helps to be able to review costings from different angles. Think of it as proof-reading for project estimates, if you like. Good estimating software like Sage Estimating offers a wide range of standard sort codes or the possibility to define your own. Changes in perspective like this can then reveal opportunities for improvement. Sage Estimating has built-in tools for ‘what-if’ modeling as well. You can make conceptual estimates as initial predictions of costs of potential projects, a valuable feature for you and your customers that lets you filter out unrealistic approaches and home in on the ones most likely to fit the customer’s budget and desires.

Onwards and Upwards

When your estimating has been done, your bid made, and the customer’s agreement received, the estimate data in Sage Estimating can be transferred to project scheduling software like Microsoft Project and Primavera – both also offered as hosted applications by LoadSpring. The same data can also be used in procurement applications to jumpstart preparation and execution of the construction project in the same way. Winning estimates, accuracy and precision then all carry through to set the tone for the rest of work up till and including final delivery.

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