Build the Estimate the way the job will be built

In Electrical Contracting Articles, Electrical Estimating Articles, ramblings by David Parden

Electrical estimates should be structured in such a way as to easily setup job budgets, buyouts, and schedules upon award of the project. It is much easier to do these things if some thought is given to the take-off up front. Bucket your estimate the way your company will build and manage the project. Do your take-off within these buckets. An example of a typical bucketed job would be as follows:

 Buckets / Sections

  • Temp Power
  • Feeders: Includes feeder raceways & conductors
  • Branch Power: Includes both underground & above ground installations of boxes, conduit, wire, and devices
  • Switchgear: Includes mounting cans, terminations, and labeling
  • Branch Lighting: Includes fixture installation, fixture assemblies, conduit, wire, and devices.
  • Equipment Connections: Includes disconnects & flex connections
  • Site Work: Includes conduit, wire, concrete light pole bases, pole mounted fixtures, monument signs, and etc.

Most estimating software will sort the material and labor within a section. The example above would be the various sections. When an estimate is bucketed like the example above it will be very easy to setup a budget and schedule that looks like the one below after the job is awarded.

 Budget / Schedule

  • Temp Power
  • Feeder Raceways
  • Branch Raceways
  • Switchgear
  • Feeder Conductors
  • Branch Conductors
  • Fixture installation
  • Device installation
  • Equipment Connections
  • Site Work
  • Commissioning

Once your project budgeted you can slice it and dice it in all sorts of ways. You will easily be able to tell how you are doing on the job from both a labor and material stand point as the project progresses and you will be able to take corrective actions as soon as overruns occur.