CHAPTER 1 Components of an Estimate

One of the most difficult tasks in estimating any project is to capture all of the costs involved in the project. Construction has many variables, and it is these variables that can have an impact of the way the estimator “sees” the work and ultimately its costs. The means and methods selected, or the plan to execute the work, will impact price significantly. Another important variable is the bid documents; comprehensive, fully developed designs offer a better chance for the estimator to reach an accurate price. It is the goal of the estimator to arrive at the most accurate price for the cost of the work under a specific set of circumstances and conditions.

While different estimators may see a project differently and thereby arrive at a different price for the work, all estimates share some basic components. Every cost estimate requires three basic components. The first is the establishment of standard units of measure. The second component of an estimate is the determination of the quantity of units for each component, which is an actual measurement process: how many linear feet of wire, how many device boxes, and so on. The third component, and perhaps the most difficult to obtain, is the determination of a reasonable cost for each unit.

The first element, the designation of measurement units, is the step that determines and defines the level of detail, and thus the degree of accuracy, of a cost estimate. In electrical construction, such ...

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