In all construction projects, it’s imperative to have an accurate understanding of projected costs from the outset. Not only is this important to prevent projects from going over-budget, which poses considerable problems for clients, it’s also necessary to assess project viability and allow alterations to be made where necessary.
Because of the complexity of providing quotations for construction projects, the process can be lengthy. Some larger public sector projects require highly detailed bids, through which contractors and builders submit their proposals, summarising the costs they expect to pay for the development. In this situation, it is normal for many contractors to be invited to submit bids before a single winner is selected by the project owner.
Construction estimating is the process by which the detailed costs involved in a building project are identified. In smaller projects, the contractor can usually provide this quickly, with some research and preparation. In larger projects in which bids are invited, the process of construction estimating is more complicated and requires more care to ensure accurate costs are provided.
To create an estimate, contractors must calculate:
- The quantities and cost of materials.
- The cost of equipment, including purchase, hire, and consumables.
- Labour costs.
- The costs incurred by subcontractors.
A takeoff list is created from information in the bid package, which details the quantity of labour required on the project. These calculations enable the estimator to work out the volume of materials and labour required for each stage of the project, from which the final estimate and bid are derived.
Different Types Of Construction Pricing Software
Before choosing construction pricing software to support the process, it’s important to understand the different tools available:
- Construction bidding software: Usually focuses on generating bids and proposals for construction projects, in addition to project scheduling, client management and bid analysis or reporting.
- Takeoff software: Generates cost estimates by pulling down information from digital blueprints and spec sheets.
- Estimating tools: Tools such as cost summary templates, part/material cost databases, and preconfigured formulae and calculations help contractors to generate line-by-line costs and materials estimates.
- Bid management software: Similar to construction bidding software, bid management tools are used by contractors to manage subcontractors’ bids.
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