Construction Estimating...Speed vs. Accuracy and PataBid Quantify
Updated: Jul 15
Construction estimators have one of the most vital jobs involved in the construction process. However, they do tend to be undervalued and misunderstood. It probably doesn't help that construction estimators are referred to by several professional titles - cost estimators, bid coordinators, or quantity surveyors to name a few. So, what exactly does a construction estimator do all day? According to the Canadian Construction Association, an estimator's job is to determine the total cost of a construction project. Key tasks involved in this generic description of an estimator include validating the scope of work on new projects, performing quantity takeoff, gathering equipment pricing, and producing a final bid price. Construction estimation plays a crucial role during the pre-construction phase of any build. The Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) notes that a thorough construction bid can help to avoid catastrophic outcomes that can happen when a job is over or under bid.
According to a recent survey done by QuickBooks and TSheets amongst construction companies in the US, almost 30% of the respondents made less profit than their estimates indicated they would. An accurate, or inaccurate estimate, has the ability to set a project up for success or failure from the start.
Let's look at the modern construction estimator again. Current construction trends are forcing companies to build more, with less. There are a variety of factors affecting this trend in construction such as shrinking government infrastructure budgets, fluctuating material costs, professionals retiring from the industry and a declining number of young people choosing to go into construction trades and/or pre-construction jobs. There is a pressure for small construction companies right up to large general contractors to build more with less. Given this mounting pressure that the modern estimator is under, do they choose speed or accuracy when completing estimates? According to our own internal market research, it takes approximately 40 hours (1 week) to prepare a small to medium size bid, with 90% of that time being spent performing the quantity takeoff. The remainder is spent collecting equipment quotes and consolidating the information for a final bid number. The industry standard average bid-to-win rate in construction is 1 in 6. Keeping that ratio in mind, it is easy to speculate that an estimator could often be faced with sacrificing speed or accuracy in order to complete enough estimates to win work.
We believe that an estimator does not need to sacrifice speed or accuracy in order to put together a thorough bid. That's where PataBid's newest bid automation tool comes in - Quantify. Quantify is another product in PataBid's automated bid tool line up that is built by estimators, for estimators. PataBid Quantify offers construction estimators everywhere a revolutionary option to combine speed and accuracy in the bidding process. Quantify is an electrical and mechanical estimating software platform, specifically designed for small to medium sized contractors. The unique feature about Quantify is that it has AI integration to automatically perform takeoff tasks for the estimator. If an estimator costs on average $35/hour and takes 36 hours to perform the quantity takeoff per bid, that equates to an investment of $1,260. If PataBid Quantify saves you conservatively 30% of that time using our machine learning platform to do the counting, this works out to a savings of $378 per estimate.
Lets say an estimator can produce one small to mid size estimate per week for a 52 week year, that is a total savings of $19, 656 per year. Thinking in terms of time, Quantify could save an estimator approximately 10 hours per bid, or 520 hours of total time savings per year. This time savings allows the estimator to bid a higher volume of work with improved takeoff accuracy, thanks to our AI integration. There is no need to sacrifice speed or accuracy - you can have both.
In addition to AI integration, Quantify has several other notable features that improve estimating work flow. The platform is cloud based, allowing users to work in a browser or an installed application from virtually anywhere. Also, Quantify offers pooled licensing to it's users, and allows those users to create an unlimited number of projects or bids within the system. And then there's the data importation feature. Maybe you've been using another estimating platform for years and it's being discontinued or further feature development on it has been abandoned. Sound familiar? This was a recurring theme from industry professionals when we did our market research prior to developing Quantify. So we came up with a solution. PataBid Quantify has the ability to import existing items databases from other estimating platforms, making the switch to new estimating software painless for the estimator. (Please connect with us directly for more information on data importation.)
All of these features are packaged together in PataBid Quantify for the low, yearly license fee of $1,200 USD. There are further features that will be coming soon as well to the software, including PataBid Tenders integration directly with Quantify at no additional cost to users (a $588 value.) This will allow an estimator to have access to automated tender searching to find more work to bid seamlessly; on one integrated platform. If you think that this sounds too good to be true, sign up for a free, 2 week no obligation trial of the Quantify platform today! You won't be disappointed. Quantify is currently in pre-release, and will be available to customers at the beginning of March 2022. To book a demo of Quantify or to learn more about how PataBid is disrupting the construction estimating world, click here.
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