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Estimating Branch Wiring on Commercial Projects

If you track your estimates, you will find that the branch wiring is approximately 60% to 80% of the estimate in most commercial projects. On industrial projects, it may only be 5% – 10%.

It is a common practice among estimators to use an average foot per device. Let’s suppose you use an average of 15 feet when in reality the average was 18 feet per device. Three feet over on 15 feet is 20%….

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Understanding Labor: The Impact of Multiple Labor Factors

Understanding labor is one of the most important responsibilities of the estimator. There are three major components of labor. The estimator must understand all three of these.

They are:

  1. Labor Columns
  2. Labor Factoring
  3. Labor Factors

Factoring labor and labor factors are not the same. Factoring labor is the application of adjustments based on the difficulty or ease of installation. Labor factors are related to overtime, weather, multistory buildings, shift work, and site accessibility.

Factoring labor is an…

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Increasing Labor Productivity in Electrical Construction

How to Make a Good Estimate Look Even Better” was an article published in the August 2017 issue of EC&M magazine, that I wrote. It had such great reviews and response, I thought that I would expand on this subject.

I expanded this topic into a six-page article that is available on my website.

FREE DOWNLOAD – Increasing Labor Productivity in Electrical Construction

A brief outline of the article is as…

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Estimating and Lost Time

When workers perform eight hours of work for eight hours pay, then there is no lost time. If there is an hour a day of lost time, that is 12.5 % lost time. Contractors must know the productivity of their employees. Lost productivity is real and must be accounted for in the bid summary.

Here are some project conditions that cause lost time:

  1. Late start times
  2. Longer than normal breaks
  3. Longer than normal lunch times
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Dealing with Electrical Suppliers

It is very important to establish a good working relationship with several electrical suppliers. Having several quotations will help you know if you are getting the right pricing levels. Manufacturer’s representatives can also provide great support to the electrical contractor during the bidding process.

What suppliers expect from contractors:

  1. Keep their pricing confidential
  2. Prompt payment
  3. Proper purchase orders with detailed instructions
  4. Returned materials minimized

What the contractor should want from suppliers:

  1. Timely quotes
  2. The lowest quotes
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Estimating and Bidding Mistakes

Estimating mistakes are made during the takeoff process. Bidding mistakes are made in the summarization and submission of the bid. An incomplete estimate and incorrect estimate are not the same. An incomplete estimate has omissions. An incorrect estimate maybe complete, but it could be based on an incorrect labor column and incorrect labor mix.

The following are common mistakes:

Estimating Mistakes

  1. Missed takeoffs on the drawings
  2. Failure to highlight items as they are taken off
  3. Missing…
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Estimating Demolition

Estimating demolition is relatively simple. First, identify the scope of the demolition. Check all drawings, this includes the site, civil, mechanical, and electrical. Some general contractors only want the circuits to be “made safe,” and they will have their laborers perform the removals. Or, you will perform all the removals with your labor forces.

If you are making safe the circuits, then a detailed takeoff of the demolition is not necessary. Just estimate the number…

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