Estimating Systems is a single-package, project control system designed by construction professionals specifically for the construction industry.
The Estimating, Valuations, Planning, Cash Flow and Forecasting components produce an integrated model of a project’s anticipated construction process and financial performance. Estimating Systems allows the estimator to work from basic resources so as to not only get to an answer in the estimating process, but to provide a solid information model for all later phases of the project.
Estimating Systems provides a variety of inter-related modules such as Material Costing, Drawing Register, Sub-contract database, Allowable Cost Reconciliation, Information Schedules and Time-Location charts to provide a wide range of analytic tools.
Foremost in the design of Estimating Systems is the similarity of operation to manual methods. For example, free format worksheets allow the estimator to build up ideas that can be shared and understood by all in the estimating process. All the relevant data produced is immediately available for use on site to control the project using the post-tender facilities. A resource library allows the capture and retention of pricing and production rates for future work.
A unique Estimating Systems facility, and one of its most powerful features, is the dynamic link between money and time – the interactive link between the bill of quantities or estimate, and the program or schedule of work. This interactive link, between these two most prominent factors of a construction project, provides a wealth of information at the finger-tips of both management and client.
Because Estimating Systems allows the estimator to work from basic resources in building up the cost model for the project, this information can be fed to the procurement system to integrate purchasing with the assumptions made in the estimate. Later, during valuations, this information is provided to the accounting system to compare actual costs to anticipated costs for the production of Earned Value reports.
The estimator can price a bid rapidly and identify the critical elements of a tender. Pricing libraries facilitate consistent, accurate and well-documented rate build-ups. Changes can be made in a controlled manner, reducing errors and speeding up tender preparation. Bills of Quantities are replicated with sections, specifications and multi-line descriptions. Item description libraries and electronic bill importation can be used to reduce bill capture time. Alternatively, you can create a bill using quantities derived from the Take-off module.
b. Indirect Costs
Indirect costs are priced in a separate bill within the estimate. The Indirect bill incorporates the powerful tools available in both Estimating and the Planning systems giving you a priced bill that changes with the indirect program.
c. Free-format worksheets
Item rates are built up on the free-format analytical worksheet using resources and production calculations. The worksheet allows the estimator to expresses his ideas and calculations in a manner very similar to manual methods. This ensures that all parties involved at estimating and post tender stage will have a full understanding of the estimate make-up.
Two kinds of resources are available: simple resources, which reflect the purchase cost of an item in any currency, and composite resources, which are made up of other resources. Items can also be priced by simply entering a net rate or by splitting a rate into user-defined components such as labour, material and plant. Multiple levels of composite bill items are supported – these are bill items that are made up from other items.
Net rates can be marked up by item, trade or page range, or by resource type. Local and foreign rate components can be marked up separately for multiple currency bills.
Relevant bill items are copied to the Subcontract Adjudicator for quotation comparison. The selected subcontract rates are transferred to the main bill so that the original items can be priced. A similar facility is available for materials.
There is a wide range of standard reports available, and the Report Manager is used to create presentation-quality reports and tailor reporting for management.
g. Integrating the Estimate with the Program
Items from the Bill of Quantities can be allocated to the program activities. The result of the linking process is an accurate forecast of the bill of quantities. Forecasts can be produced for bill items, individual resources or at summary cost code level. Any changes to either the program or the estimate will be immediately reflected in the forecasts.
h. Immediate forecast cash flow
Once the Estimate and Planning program have been linked, detailed information from these two systems can be transferred into the Cash flow module. This ensures no items are omitted and that the cash flow figures balance with the estimate. This technique allows tender alternatives to be tested easily and the latest bid figures to be included in the forecast cash flow as they become available.
i. Tender Finalisation
Last-minute changes can be made with confidence and the high speed of calculation allows rapid assessment of alternative strategies.