Improve The Flow of Preconstruction Estimating to Job Costing

Posted by Chris Lee on May 14, 2020

Project Manager Referring to Estimates and Blueprints

Preconstruction Estimating for the Specialty Subcontractor

As the preconstruction process has evolved, one thing has remained steady - correct and complete job cost data allows you to build a competitive estimate, win the job, build out a payment schedule, and prepare your payment application.

For the General Contractor, building an estimate has mostly been enabled by digital takeoff and estimating software. However, there are not that many products built specifically for the specialty subcontractor such as concrete, electrical, heating/air conditioning, telecommunications, fire alarm, electronic safety and security.

To address this, an integration between Deltek+ComputerEase and Esticom is now available. Contractors can now create an estimate in Esticom and import it into ComputerEase, properly formatted and ready-to-go. For the Deltek + ComputerEase and Esticom specialty contractor user, this will save time generally spent transferring information between two products, provide assurance that all the specialty components in a job were picked up, and help with effective job costing.

If you are like most contractors, you’re probably still using Excel to build an estimate, and there are good reasons to do so – one being that certain materials may have costs which aren’t captured in an automated estimate (e.g. your costs are different than what’s in the database). We understand and we’re confident that you will be able to build your specialty subcontractor estimate more accurately, completely, and faster with the combination of Deltek+ComputerEase and Esticom.

Imagine the scenario below:

You just received an email notification that your company has been awarded a large construction job. You spent weeks going through revision after revision, estimating every nut and bolt required to complete the job profitably, and your hard work has finally paid off — what a great start!

Now comes a critical but often overlooked step, which is properly coordinating a project handoff between the preconstruction and construction teams to ensure your profitable job stays profitable.

Project Managers rarely build a project in the same manner that it was estimated. There are unknowns during the estimating process like scheduling, site conditions, material and labor shortages that have to be reevaluated and adjusted during the project planning and execution phase. Therefore, the Project Manager and accounting teams must understand the estimated budget and use it as a guide when making decisions and managing costs on the job.

Deltek + ComputerEase and Esticom makes it easy to hand off a job to your construction and accounting teams, and it all starts with the job budget. You can easily export the job budget to Deltek + ComputerEase organized by category, phase, and cost code.

Example Job Budget (Building A, 1st Floor):

Division 26, Lighting

  • Material – $100,000
  • Labor – $30,000 (2,000 labor hours)
  • Equipment – $8,000

Division 26, Power

  • Material – $60,000
  • Labor – $20,000 (1,200 labor hours)
  • Equipment – $6,000

In the above example, we have everything we need to build a contract, set up our schedule of values, and once work proceeds, begin the process of tracking material, labor, and equipment against the budgeted costs.

As your work crews track their time on each item, and that time is approved, it automatically deducts from the budget by phase and cost code so that you can track your actual costs against the budgeted cost to spot overruns and make adjustments before it’s too late.

By building your schedule of values using estimated job costs, your actual work should align closely. You are making the process of submitting your application for payment (e.g. AIA G-702) a breeze ensuring that you get paid faster giving you the details needed to back up a payment application if it’s disputed.

Esticom’s cloud-based takeoff and estimating software makes it easier than ever before to move an awarded job from an estimator to the project management team. Including all updated drawings, specifications, takeoffs, the scope of work, approved quotes, and any previously estimated revisions.


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About the Author

Chris Lee has an extensive background in preconstruction management as a former specialty contractor and business owner. As the Chief Estimator at Esticom, he’s helped thousands of specialty contractors digitize their preconstruction process to increase revenue and profitability while decreasing unnecessary overhead.



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