Efficient cost estimation is a critical part of growing your construction business. It can help you meet deadlines and stay within your budget.
Vendors that offer pricing estimate solutions for mechanical contractors will have a large database of items and components, including fittings, valves, piping and sheet metal. They will also have labor rates and equipment costs for both commercial and industrial projects.
A construction estimate requires the proper estimation of materials. Without a precise material quantity takeoff sheet, a project could go over budget or fail to get started at all. The best way to ensure accurate estimates is to use the right takeoff software. This digital technology can perform all the complex calculations and counting for you, which saves time. It also produces detailed sheets that include unit counts, category totals, and line item portions, which makes the entire estimating procedure much easier for mechanical estimators.
This step lists all the raw materials needed for a construction project. For example, a building may need wood, concrete, and steel, which will be listed on the material takeoff sheet. Then, the corresponding costs will be added to create a cost estimate for the entire building. Using an automatic takeoff system can help you save both time and money, and it is also easy to adjust for unforeseen changes.
Contractors use the data from the material takeoff to create a project schedule that includes labor, equipment, and overhead costs. In this stage, contractors review the material list to determine if they need to purchase or lease specific pieces of equipment. Then, they will need to contact equipment vendors for pricing. This is a crucial step in the estimating process, and it can make or break your profit.
Submittals are a critical component of estimating because they ensure that a project’s scope and schedule align. The submittal process also provides the opportunity to review project information on a detailed level. This allows design professionals to approve materials before they are fabricated, helping prevent timeline delays and costly setbacks.
To prepare a cost estimate, the contractor prepares shop drawings, product data and samples of products to be used in the construction. The submittal is then reviewed by the design professional to determine if it complies with the construction documents. If there are any deviations, they must be explained and agreed upon before the contractor can proceed with that aspect of the construction. If the submittal meets with approval, it is stamped to represent acceptance.
Labor costs are a significant part of any mechanical estimate. This includes the wages of construction tradespeople and their equipment, as well as overhead costs such as insurance and bonding. The contractor may also incur other indirect expenses such as travel, lodging and meals for personnel.
Depending on the type of project, the contractor may employ three-point estimation methods to calculate a project’s total costs. This method is more time consuming than the ballpark figure but is more accurate because it takes into account uncertainties and risks. It is important to keep in mind that industry conditions are constantly changing, so the final cost estimate must be updated as necessary.
Bill of Quantities
In construction projects, a bill of quantities is a detailed list of the required materials and equipment to complete a particular project. This document provides a clear overview of the project requirements and allows contractors to prepare cost estimates for their bids. It also eliminates confusion and misunderstandings, and helps ensure that the project stays on budget.
The process of preparing a bill of quantities is complex and requires a professional quantity surveyor or cost consultant. It begins with obtaining the design team’s drawings and specifications. Then, the quantity surveyor takes off quantities from the drawings and creates a bill of quantities using the information in the specification. The bill of quantities should be prepared according to a standard methodology, so that all parties can understand what has been priced.
During the preparation of the bill of quantities, it is important to consider local prices for construction items and labor costs. A quantity surveyor can often obtain this information by checking with hardware stores and speaking with contractors who have worked on similar projects. It is also a good idea to make a conservative estimate of the time required to finish each item.
In addition to listing the required items, the BoQ should include a unit price for each item. It is best to use local market prices, but it is also possible to calculate unit prices using online pricing tools.
Once the contractor has determined which equipment it owns, what it needs to lease or rent and how much it costs to operate those pieces of equipment during construction, the total cost of a project can be estimated. Estimators will also review structural drawings to determine if the building design will influence material and equipment needs. Finally, estimators will work with equipment vendors to obtain pricing for any necessary equipment not already owned by the firm.
The construction takeoff process is used to determine the quantity of all material required to build a building, including materials and labor. It involves reviewing the project blueprints to create a list of all material quantities and types needed for a particular section of the building, known as a “takeoff” list. The list is then used to generate a detailed estimate for the entire project.
Using local unit prices, the project is decomposed into various items for bid by subcontractors. These items may be as small as a floor panel or as large as a heat exchanger. For each item, the contractor submits a quote for its proposed costs, and the general contractor selects one from among several quotes.
The final estimate is then prepared and submitted to the client. Good mechanical estimating software allows contractors to prepare estimates quickly, making them more efficient than manual estimation procedures. Once the estimates are complete, they can be double-checked for accuracy and given to the client for approval.