4 Ways to Speed up your Cost Estimating Processes

Winning more profitable work is one of the most important cost estimating goals. To accomplish this, many estimating teams put in lots of overtime simply to keep everything running at current levels, let alone grow the business. Data needs to be captured and analyzed, and mistakes and redundancy are all-too-common with generic software such as Microsoft Excel.

What stands in the way? Old systems, manual effort and inefficient processes can all lead to bidding fewer jobs, winning less work and, ultimately, lower company profits.

In our recent webinar, “Overcoming the 5 Most Common Project Cost Management Challenges,” we polled the 100+ attendees to share *their* top challenge.  Slow and inefficient estimating, no ability to benchmark estimates, and limited visibility between office and jobsite were selected as the overall top three challenges.

To address the first in that list, here are 4 ways to deal with slow estimating:

#1) Ensure easily reproducible data

Having the ability to quickly copy, multiply and split data items can significantly reduce effort and organize jobs. In an ideal system, when changes are made, all related items are updated automatically, including equipment, manpower, hours, production or materials.  Speed estimating by reducing manual work!

#2) Leverage NORMS databases

Standard cost libraries that have industry-standard details about productivity rates and costs can make it much easier for estimators to quickly create more accurate estimates. Examples include RSMeans and Richardson Construction Estimating Standards.

#3) Save time with material/quantity takeoff (MTO/QTO)

Leveraging designs to quickly build more accurate estimates is a crucial step to expediting the overall process. Estimating systems that integrate with RIB MC2 or On-Center On-Screen Takeoff can quickly move design data about labor, material, and assemblies to drive the cost estimate.

#4) Keep the estimate and schedule synched

The ability to link estimating and scheduling systems allows data to easily flow between the two, speeding processes and reducing errors. Save time by taking the initial estimate and move it over to a scheduling system to have the time-phase element that is a key part of a bid.

As the construction industry is so competitive with such low margins, winning more jobs by producing more bids is key to keeping the company going. Any inaccuracies can affect the company in its entirety.  Substantial amounts of time, manpower and money are often required, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
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