My aims in this book are to introduce a practical approach to estimating and tendering from a contractor’s point of view, and explain the estimator’s role within the construction team. The book therefore differs from previous textbooks in three main ways:
1. In general it is assumed that it is the contractor who prepares estimates because in the majority of cases an estimate is produced to form the basis of a tender.
2. I have introduced many typical forms used by estimators to collate data and report to management. Most of the forms relate to two fictitious projects: a new lifeboat station and the construction of offices for Fast Transport Limited.
3. The pricing examples given in Chapter 11 have been produced using a typical build-up sheet. The items of work to which the prices relate are given at the top of each page. Estimating data are given for each trade so that students will have a source of information for building up rates. I suggest that before pricing exercises are undertaken, the first part of Chapter 11 should be read and an understanding of estimating methods should be gained from Chapter 5.The first pricing example is for a ‘model rate’ that gives a checklist of items
to be included in a unit rate.
The estimating function has changed more in the last 15 years than at any time before. Many estimating duties can now be carried out by assistants using word processors, spreadsheets and computer-aided estimating systems. The estimator manages the process and produces clear reports for review by management. Estimators need to understand the consequences of entering into a contract, which is often defined by a complex combination of conditions and supporting documents.They also need to appreciate the technical requirements of a project from tolerances in floor levels to the design of concrete mixes, and from temporary electrical installations to piling techniques.
The Chartered Institute of Building publishes a series of guides to good practice – the Code of Estimating Practice and its supplements. I have not duplicated their fine work in this book but hope that my explanation and examples show how the guidelines can be used in practice. Contractors now assume an active role in providing financial advice to their clients.The estimator produces financial budgets for this purpose and assembles cost allowances for use during construction. Computers have been introduced by most organizations, with a combination of general purpose and specialist software.
Computers have brought many benefits during the tender period, and are seen as essential for the handover of successful tenders; adjustments can be made quickly, information can be presented clearly, and data can be transferred in a more compact form.