Digital Dryshack #66, “Accumulator” items for Estimating Cost Analysis

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Digital Dryshack #66, “Accumulator” items for Estimating Cost Analysis

Cassell Consulting is pleased to be working with Dominick Rose on several projects.  We first met at Timberline Estimating Conferences back in the ’80s, in  his various roles as a senior estimating consultant, trainer, and database administrator. As Database Administrator most recently at CDM, Dominick, Alan Watt (DPR Construction), & I started the Northwest Estimators Roundtable, an informal group with the goal of sharing ideas as to the evolution of our unique discipline, construction estimating.

One of our current projects with Dominick involves building a custom ProEst estimating database for an industrial contractor in the mid-west. A key component of our estimating database is the use of “accumulators”, (items that sum overall quantities for estimate analysis). For instance, we use accumulators for the primary Level 2 sections of Div 03 Concrete, as follows:

  • Sec 03-10-00 Formwork: we build an item “Form Oil & Accessories”
  • Sec 03-20-00 Reinforcement- we build an item “Rebar Unload, Sort, & Accessories”
  • Sec 03-30-00 Cast in Place Concrete: we build an item “Concrete Tools & Equipment”

Each of these items automatically sums all work under its numerous subsections during  assembly takeoff. That quantity is then easily visible, for evaluating total man hours and dollars. It allows a senior estimator doing a review to analyze the total level of effort and cost quickly and efficiently at a high level. If those numbers make sense, he or she can move on to analyze the the next big money item, and so on, until time runs out and the final number submitted. It’s a truism in estimating that there’s never enough time to double check every item in a bid. But it really helps to have these accumulator items that reliably pick up and subtotal significant components of the project for quick analysis.