“As an estimator, what should I keep in mind during the Coronavirus issue?”
The Chief Says:
These are uncharted waters for everyone. We have no idea how long the “social distancing” will be necessary. That means that many estimators are going to be working under unusual circumstances.
When I was estimating, I relied on my routines to help keep me on track. I don’t know any estimator worth their salt that doesn’t spend a good deal of time worrying about what they may have overlooked. I relied on tried-and-true processes and routines to help me accomplish that. Something as trivial as working at a desk (other than my own) could throw me off those routines.
With many people having to work from remote locations like their own homes during the quarantine it’s more important than ever to have processes in place that keep you in your lane and make sure you’re following your best practices.
That’s one of the things I always liked most about using HCSS products like HeavyBid. The codebooks in HeavyBid make it so much easier to standardize estimating. Going to the same place to easily find the things I need to completely capture the costs in my estimates helped ensure that I didn’t overlook those little details that can add up to a big hole in my estimate.
As a Chief Estimator, I relied on my estimators to use our well-stocked Activity Codebook to find the vast majority of the items we needed to build the costs for our bid items. That meant that as I was reviewing the estimates, I didn’t have to wonder how someone came up with crews, production rates, subcontractors, and materials that were included in the activities. They were re-established and factored to the quantities automatically. The estimators and I could focus our attention on the unusual items that we needed to include in our scope instead of taking large amounts of time on the items we bid over and over again.
Another great feature in HeavyBid is the Estimate Review, or flashlight icon. This takes you to a series of tabs that run dozens and dozens of checks throughout the estimate looking for anomalies. Those are flagged and give you the chance to review them before the bid goes out. I can’t even begin to count the number of times running those checks saved me from sending a bid out with something missing because during the hustle and bustle I told myself, “I’ll remember to come back and fill that in later”. The phone rings, someone comes into your office, and “I’ll remember” doesn’t happen.
Estimator software and features such as Estimate Review can’t catch everything, but it sure can help!
So during these trying times, remember to stick to what you know works. And if you haven’t set up your Activity Codebook yet, or you’re not used to using Estimate Review, now is the time.
If you need any help with either of these, HCSS Technical Support is there 24/7 at 800 444-3196 to assist you and offer guidance. So relax, keep your head in the game, and we’ll all get through this.
Estimating Success Manager
For the past 30 years, Ray has held positions as an Estimator, Project Manager, or Chief Estimator for civil construction companies operating in Ohio, Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Norwalk, Connecticut. He has a heart of a teacher, and takes pride in listening well to others before offering advice.