How to Generate Accurate Construction Estimates – Every Time

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The Impact of Current Regional Cost Data in Estimating

The construction industry has been in the midst of intense pricing fluctuation for years now, and while things may have calmed down a bit from the height of the pandemic, they’re in no way stable. Continued supply chain problems, labor shortages, and the threat of recession all continue to contribute to frequent material price changes. 

None of us can stop price volatility, just like we can’t control the economy. So, what can we do about the situation to mitigate risk? Here’s our 3-step strategy: efficient, accurate takeoffs; detailed, accurate estimates; and current, accurate pricing information. 

In this article, we’re introducing STACK’s partnership with BNi Building News, which will be a game changer for estimators using our platform. But first, let’s start at the beginning.

Step 1: Performing the most accurate takeoffs

No matter how up-to-date your pricing information is, your estimates will be way off with bad takeoff data. With STACK, not only are takeoffs simple to complete with just a few clicks, but also the platform automatically names and numbers pages, allowing for easy searching and document organization. 

Attaching items and assemblies to takeoffs also streamlines the process, and collaboration among teams is easy with markup options. All of these features taken together can make the work of takeoffs up to 50% faster without the risk of mistakes that come from paper plans or manual data entry in older software tools.  

Accurate measurements combined with a team that’s less pressed for time sets you up for the next phase of your preconstruction process: the estimate.

Step 2: Creating thorough, detailed estimates

Your takeoff gives you the amount of materials you need for a particular job, but of course there are many other costs to factor in when preparing an estimate. STACK’s estimating functionality allows you to easily account for labor, waste, sales tax, overhead, and non-measured costs like equipment and permits. 

You can also add markup by line item or by project and quickly visualize your profit for each project. Flexibility is key when it comes to estimating, so you can make changes until you reach your desired profit, choosing how much detail, if any, to include in your final proposal to clients.

Step 3: Current regional material pricing

The secret to a profitable project is access to the most up-to-date, realistic pricing available. You probably have experience with needing to call around to check for pricing, or searching online, or simply making your best guess as you put together an estimate, but now those inaccurate, inefficient methods are a thing of the past. 

BNi has been providing trusted construction cost books since 1946 for a wide variety of trades, and now you can put their expertise to use within your STACK estimates. Leveraging our cost data integration, you can populate your estimates with pricing that’s optimized for your project location, using regional or national pricing provided by BNi.  

With a trusted source of pricing at your fingertips, you can: 

  –  Eliminate guesswork and feel confident in the accuracy of your estimate 

  –  Generate truly competitive bids up to 50% faster 

  –  Use regional pricing to compare with your suppliers’ quotes  

Setting Your Team Up for Success in the Field

Your estimate’s purpose is not only to win the job but also to help your procurement manager and field crews succeed during the construction phase. So many projects go over budget during the build because of crews working from inaccurate estimate data.  

Maintain your reputation as a contractor who is consistently on the money with strong estimate data to keep your relationships healthy and ITBs flowing in the door. 

Find more information on STACK + BNi and get started today! 

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