Estimating: A Look Forward
October 17, 2012
With the convergence of new construction technologies for mobility, collaboration, and BIM (building information modeling), among others, how will tried-and-true construction processes such as estimating and takeoffs be impacted?
Speaking specifically to the trend of mobility and the impact on estimating and takeoffs, Thad Lutgens, IT director, L.P.R. Construction Co., www.lprconstruction.com, Loveland, Colo., says “Performing a pre-bid review including a jobsite walkthrough could be helped out tremendously with the use of some sort of tablet like an iPad. Drawings can be loaded on the device prior to the walkthrough, giving the estimator the opportunity to pull the drawing up during the process. Questions could be addressed and clarifications could be made right then and there.”
L.P.R. Construction is using On-Screen Takeoff from On Center Software, www.oncenter.com, The Woodlands, Texas, for electronic drawings. The drawings are loaded on the computer and quantity lists are created. Lutgens says nearly all of the data for the projects comes into the office electronically, which works well with the software, allowing L.P.R. to minimize printing of drawings, saving both time and money.
L.P.R then uses technology from MC2, www.mc2-ice.com, which was recently acquired by RIB Software, www.rib-software.com, Stuttgart, Germany, to build a bid document for submittal to the customer, which allows flexibility on how the bid is presented and proposed.
Another big trend Lutgens sees more and more is the interaction of engineering with estimating. Many of the decisions determined in the BIM (building information modeling) process factor into the pricing.
Lutgens adds, “Many of the ideas and better ways of building a project must first be run through a feasibility process before it can be incorporated with an estimate and bid. Our engineers use BIM technologies for determining crane selection, crane placement … and the safest way to build the project. All of these factors determine what our price will be when we submit our bid.”
Going forward, as BIM, mobility, and collaboration technologies find a home in the construction industry, processes such as estimating and takeoffs will surely be impacted as well. As a contractor or builder, understanding how technology is advancing can help to develop better business procedures.