Estimating Building Costs for the Residential & Light Commercial Construction Professional Second Edition by Wayne j. Del Pico.
Estimating has always been one of the weakest links in the construction process. Most contractors can recall one or two craftspeople whose talents have been enviable but who have ultimately failed miserably in business. Many of these failures were the result of poor estimating practices. As common a problem as estimating appears to be, a systematic approach is clearly needed.
This book was created as a reference for professional contractors—in both the new and the remodeling markets—who want to master organized, efficient industry standards for estimating residential and light commercial projects. It is designed and presented for use by the professional contractor or homebuilder who has some experience in the industry and is familiar with the materials and tasks typical of building projects. The chapters provide step-by-step guidelines—ideal for learning industry-accepted standards for estimating.
For novices, Estimating Building Costs, second edition, explains the fundamentals of the estimating process in a clear and concise format, which will become an essential part of their work. Experienced estimators will find the book useful for reviewing their own methods and enhancing their expertise. Regardless of whether the “estimating staff” is a dedicated person among a company’s many employees or the same individual who performs the work, the principles are the same. The text is written in what is referred to as general knowledge estimating practice, from the point of view of the general contractor’s estimator, yet it is equally helpful as a foundation for subcontractors’ estimators. The second edition has been reorganized to reflect the new CSI MasterFormat 2010™ structure. Readers should find this a benefit in locating specific topics.
Chapters 1 and 2 explain what estimators can expect to find on the drawings and in the specifications—the information and details necessary to create anaccurate estimate. These chapters have been revised to reflect changes in the contract document language and practice since the original publication.
Chapters 1 and 2 still reinforce that plans and specifications are complementary tools that must be reviewed and understood before attempting to prepare a project estimate. Chapter 3 presents the time-tested mathematical principles needed to accurately take off material quantities, by calculating area and volume, and the extension of the units into the final estimating units.
Chapter 4 reviews the accepted rules for quantity survey, or takeoff, and the mechanics of the takeoff process. This chapter also explores the pricing part of the estimating process. It has been retitled to more accurately reflect its contents. Chapter 5 explains in detail how materials costs are derived, how to determine allowances for waste, and how to assign markups typical for materials and labor. These are essential to understanding how a unit price estimate is built. The chapter also covers labor productivity, crew and individual tasks, and budgeting for subcontractor work. It is a cornerstone of the book and has remained virtually the same.
The next group of chapters, 6 through 25, have been rewritten and reorganized according to MasterFormat 2010™ of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)—the most widely recognized and used system for organizing construction information in specifications and estimates.
Learning estimating techniques for each building system in this format helps estimators understand and apply them according to the industry’s most professional standards. Sections have been expanded and new topics added to reflect industry changes since the original publication date. Each chapter describes specific estimating tasks for that particular trade—including special cost considerations and standard quantity takeoff guidelines for each building system and material. The examples and easy-to-follow steps can be referred to time and again. These chapters include all of the work you might encounter on a typical residential or light commercial project—from demolition, concrete, and masonry, to windows and doors, siding, roofing, mechanical and electrical systems, finish work, and site construction.
Chapter 26 introduces two topics crucial to finalizing a reliable estimate yet rarely addressed by books or courses on estimating: profit and contingencies. This chapter considers both the tangible and the intangible aspects of residential and light commercial projects that must be evaluated before assigning a suitable profit or adding a contingency amount to cover unknowns. Some of the factors to evaluate are risk, scheduling impacts, and contractual obligations.
Chapter 27 explains computerized estimating, including benefits and cautions. It includes tips for developing and customizing simple spreadsheet estimating applications, rather than relying on “canned” software alone. New to the second edition is a discussion of software for performing quantity takeoff, which has become fairly mainstream since the original publication.
Chapter 28 is new to the second edition and is a discussion of conceptual estimating and its most common methodologies. It covers what can be expected for accuracy and how to determine when conceptual estimating is appropriate.
Two of the divisions of the Site and Infrastructure subgroup and all of the divisions of the Process Equipment subgroup have specifically been omitted, as they are beyond the scope of this text.
Overall, the second edition has updated and supplemented the graphics as a result of feedback from readers and students since the original text was published. We have added clarifications where needed.
Accurate construction estimating is an essential skill for every successful professional contractor. Estimating Building Costs, second edition, builds on the foundation of estimating principles in the original text and adds topics addressing changes to the industry since the original publication was released.
“Wayne J. Del Pico”.
the new edition provides experienced contractors and novices alike with essential information on:
– How to correctly interpret plans and specifications, reflecting updates to contract documents since the first edition.
– Computer estimating techniques and new estimating software for performing quantity takeoff.
– The best methods for conceptual estimating as well as the extremely useful topic of parametric estimating.
– How to allocate the right amounts for profit and contingencies, and other hard-to-find professional guidance.
– How a unit price estimate is built along with labor issues and budgeting for subcontractor work.
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