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June 1, 2022
Author : Alex Bustillos and Patty Allen
Without construction estimators most public works projects would never get off the ground. They prepare the bid documents and figure out budget costs after studying plans and specs.
It’s one of the most important jobs for any firm seeking out government-funded construction projects.
Depending upon how well an estimator does his or her job, bids and profits can be won or lost, project costs can go over estimates or be kept down. So much rests upon the shoulders of a construction estimator.
It’s important then to look at the new tools that construction estimators are using to better perform their job.
As Contractor News examined last week, a variety of digital technologies are being used to improve public works construction.
Similarly, new tech is being used to streamline the bidding and estimating process for federal, state, and local government projects. Connecting with the right vendor partner and helping gauge the correct estimates always impacts the profit margin.
The capacity to quickly measure the extent of work required for trade is key to today's digital take-off. Computer-based systems enable today's estimator to 'crank' out the requisite number of estimates while maintaining the appropriate accuracy.
A digital take-off tool can help an estimator to figure out the quantity of material needed for a project. The best part about digital take-off software is that it will always perform all of your calculations.
For example, STACK is one of the more popular tools. Being a cloud-based construction software, STACK provides professional support for all the major construction trades. It also offers an excellent user interface and is available on any PC, Mac, or iPad device.
Electronic Bidding/Estimate Prep/Email Tools
Construction bidding software handles tasks like creating, tracking, or managing a bid, such as project and contract management, reporting, and analytics. Estimating software tools can automatically sync with the take-off tools in real-time. If you want an effective solution within budget for strategic decision-making, you can choose from tools such as ProCore, eSub, eBuild Construct, B2W Estimate, etc.
There exists a variety of bidding management email tools that can help estimators keep in touch with a large group of contacts, manage outgoing requests for proposals, and help in scalability. A variety of platforms exist, like ProCore, BuildSmart, SmartBid, BuildingConnected, BuilderTrend, etc.
Making Outreach Efficient
Contractors bidding on public works projects in the United States can face a hurdle in successfully doing their “good faith effort” outreach to government certified firms (such as small and local businesses, as well as disabled veterans, minority or women-owned firms, or disadvantaged business enterprises, also known as DBEs).
One popular platform is Compliance News which can help construction estimators efficiently and cheaply complete their outreach. The firm is constantly updating, gathering, and accessing hundreds of government directories of certified firms. They will select, contact, and provide fax, email, and phone logs documenting your outreach. As part of your outreach package, they also publish bid notices, document the public agency directories that were accessed, and provide contact details and work codes for each subcontractor and supplier that was contacted.
Electronic Job Costing
If you find it difficult to estimate the total project cost accurately, using a digital job costing software like JOBPOWER can be your solution. This tool can help you determine job expenses, stay updated with labor rates, review tax rates, etc.
Using online tools for construction job costing, estimators can increase revenue and set up more projects at a quicker pace. It can help then in reducing the cost of future projects.
Construction is a labor-intensive process involving multi-disciplinary networks that involves various subsidiary teams, specialized professions, equipment, and materials.
Computer-aided scheduling software can be essential in safeguarding your future projects. For example, the Online Gantt Chart is a tool that can help you plan construction schedules by importing task lists and allocating time for each in the pipeline.
Keep an eye here, on Contractors News, for the latest news and analysis that can help construction estimators and the public works community.