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Re: Construction Estimating

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When asked to provide a cost estimate, I will first let the client know that
is not my general areas of expertise, but that I can prepare costs based
upon accepted practices relying upon the data in published references (such
as Means or Dodge), using the best information available. My costs will
typically be submitted as a spread sheet citing the specific costs used.
This includes location factors, contingencies, assumptions, etc. Also, I am
always sure to mention the option of employing a professional cost
estimator. The language in the scope of work is "approximate budgetary costs
of construction".

Finally, I stress the uncertainties involved (aka contingencies) and that
there is no estimate like a contractor's bid, after, of course, adding at
least 10-15% for the "extras".

The spreadsheet includes columns for the general item, the specific item,
the line reference, the assumptions, unit cost, quantity, subtotal, location
factor and total. I sum these up by items of work and provide a grand total
at the bottom.

James Cohen, PE
James Cohen Consulting, PC
Pennington, NJ

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