There’s a reason the carpenter’s saying, “Measure twice, cut once,” became so popular. When you’re working on a takeoff estimate for a new construction project, it’s easy to make mistakes. Whether it’s an issue with the measurements, the timing of your takeoff, not having accurate price information available for the materials you regularly require, or any number of other aspects, failing to look at the entire picture can cost your company money.
Here’s a quick look at some of the major risks in project estimating and how to avoid them:
- Incorrectly calculating your materials takeoff. Was that measurement 40 feet or 44 feet? Exactly how many of the anchor bolts were needed? Your estimate is only as good as your takeoff. Failing to account for all the materials, incorrect measurements and bad guesses can all eat into your profit or make you run into the red.
- Failing to account for jobsite waste. A gallon of good-quality interior paint will cover 300-400 square feet, but under what circumstances? If you assume that the 1,200 square feet of wall you’re painting will take 3 gallons, you might be right. Or, you might be out of paint before you’re done. Similarly, that sheet of drywall, five 2x4s and a 1/2 pound of fasteners won’t be useable if your apprentice drives over them while trying to back up your truck.
- Lack of communication. Plans can shift suddenly, foremen can be out sick, and a disconnect in the sharing of information can occur in myriad other ways. When project estimating takes place with no way to account for sudden change and communicate them to the crew, there will be trouble afoot. An estimating software that incorporates the ability to add notes that automatically show up in the field can prove to be a real money saver.
- Estimating too early in the process. Completing a takeoff estimate when a project is in the design phase is almost certain to go awry. Get beyond the schematics, design development and construction documentation/bid phases to achieve the most accurate takeoff estimate for the actual construction phase.
By keeping these risks in mind when preparing an estimate, you should be able to avoid the worst losses for your company. If you’re concerned about the amount of time this process will take, there’s a better solution: PrebuiltML’s X and PROtrade software provides a host of options to help you automate the process. There’s no substitute for a complete and reliable takeoff software package.