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Estimating With Electronic Documents Kevin R. Miller, Ph. D. Brigham Young University kmiller@byu. edu
Technology Assisting the Estimator Estimating loads are becoming more demanding. Estimate more projects in less time. Electronic documents help estimators fight back. Electronic documents may help estimators win more projects.
What Are Electronic Docs? Same thing as paper, just on a computer screen. Spec’s are typically PDF files. Drawings are often TIF, CALS or DWF files. They are not the computer automatically calculating all the quantities.
Creating Electronic Documents Generated directly from CAD or Word Processor Generated from the applications in the exact same way as paper documents. The files that are created are Read-Only. The PDF spec files can are searchable. Scan Documents Readability issues. Wasted resources. Scanned specifications are typically NOT searchable OCR helpful but not 100%
Drawing File Types FILE TYPE READ- SOURCE OF FILES Color ONLY DWF YES Designers Color CALS YES Corps of Engineers B&W TIF YES Reprographics Companies B&W DWG NO Designers Color The print driver for each file format comes standard with Auto. CAD.
PDF Drawings PDF files will work but may operate slower. PDF will operate faster if they are converted to a TIF format. PDF file creation is not a standard Autodesk print driver.
Electronic Docs Come From Owners Corps of Engineers on pilot project saved $20, 000 in reproduction costs. Federal / State Agencies Designers Architects / Engineers Planrooms FWDodge. com Repromax. com Network or reprographic companies SBR Technologies - Utah utbx. com Builders Exchange network
Typical Costs to Contractors The contractor pays a local reprographics company to print the entire set of documents Contractors prints only the sheets they need. The contractor may elect to print smaller sheets to reduce costs. A free viewer is used to print the documents to scale in-house. The above options does not represent a cost savings to the project, rather a cost shift is what has occurred.
Alternative to Printing On Screen Takeoff Measurements are taken from the computer screen. Identifies what has been taken off. An organizational structure can be used.
Takeoff Viewer Features Digitizer like Features Count Lineal measurements Area
Additional Features The measurements are modifiable. Review of takeoff easily accomplished. Highlighting View multiple views at a time. Ability to efficiently perform repetitive takeoff. Ability to copy and paste or link into estimating software.
Electronic Document Benefits Contractors can review the doc’s to decide if they want to bid the project. Receive project documents quicker (Internet/Email). Addenda docs are readable vs. faxed docs. Better distribution to subcontractors. Subcontractors receive a full set of plans that they can keep.
Additional Benefits Greater accuracy than digitizers. Easier to identify where cost differences occur in design/build projects. Measurements are modifiable and stored. All the measurements can occur before calculating quantities. Easier archival of documents. Ability to overlay drawing changes.
Benefit to Estimators The Takeoff and plan checkout process is streamlined. Takeoff time is reduced. Standardized colors can be used for takeoff. Takeoff review is visual. Plans are easily taken with you, as well as the takeoff tools. Takeoff can be “Linked” to Excel
Benefits for Clients Graphically designated quantities with the numerical quantities. Increased communication prior to construction. Better estimates from contractor.
Other Benefits of Using Electronic Documents Presentations to show staging and site considerations. Project Manager can verify estimate quantities. % complete calculations and provide support to the calculations. As-built drawings. For remodel work, photographs can be included with the drawings.
Google Earth and Takeoff Viewers Allows for preliminary site takeoff GPS integration using. gpx files with Google Earth Layouts of site roads and utilities www. earth. google. com
Screen Size Does Matter Minimum monitor size should be 17”. Recommended 19” or Larger. Screen resolution 1600 x 1200 or above. Dual monitors are great. Plan view on one screen; details, schedules, specifications, or estimating software on the other screen.
Challenges Learning curve Large curve until you start, then it is small. (half a day or less to start using the software) Small screens difficult to work with. Getting the documents from designers without scanning
Takeoff Viewer Companies Product Company URL On-Screen Takeoff Tool Max View Bid. Screen XL (Excel Add-in) Plan Swift Capture On-Center Software US Cost Inc. Max. View Corp. Vertigraph Inc. Tech Unlimited, Inc. E-Ring www. oncenter. com www. uscost. com www. maxview. com www. vertigraph. com http: //www. planswift. com http: //www. ering-cad. com/
Elect. Doc’s in Education Greater accessibility to plans & specs Reduced cost to students Introduce students to more types of projects Easier to show students the solutions. Require students to still use scales and digitizer.
Elect. Docs in Education Cont. Computer lab has 50 computers with dual screens. Faculty have gone to dual monitors. Industry is switching as a result of summer hires and graduates.