ConstructionPro Week, Volume: 4 - Issue: 3 - 01/23/2015

Estimating Spreadsheet Best Practices – Use of Multiple Sheets and Tabs – Part 2

Last week we reviewed the three major tabs that every spreadsheet-based estimate should have:

  • Project Summary Tab
  • Commentary and Assumptions Tab
  • Estimate Details Tab

These three worksheets provide the contractor of a consistent way to organize an estimate, easily find information, and document pertinent information discerned over the course of producing the estimate. In addition, there are a number of other tabs a contractor might consider adding depending on the nature of work and complexity of the estimated projects. In Part 2 of this article, we offer a few additional tabs to be considered in producing an estimate.

Estimate Calculations  The contractor can maintain calculations in the Estimate Details tab, or may elect to keep all calculations in a separate tab. Typically, this might include various elements of work that may be needed for a single bid line item. It could also include labor productivity calculations, disposable materials and supplies, support items such as scaffolding and cranes, etc.

Estimate Details “Sub-tabs” For contractors preparing their own estimate for various divisions of work, such as HVAC, electrical and plumbing, keeping separate tabs for each division, or trade, can aid organization of data, as well as facilitate multiple people working on the same estimate.

Request for Clarifications and Pre-Bid Records A separate tab is a good place to jot notes about items that need further clarification from the owner, as well as other data pertinent to preparing an estimate, such as information provided at pre-bid meetings and RFP amendments. This might also be a place to include photos and other notes from pre-bid site visits.

Bid Submission Checklist  While the Summary or Assumptions tab may have this information on small projects, it could be useful to have a checklist for submission of a final bid package, including list of all documents that need to be signed, small business and diversity requirements, bonds and other information required by the owner.

Bid Results  It is always a good idea to record the results of the final bid right in the work sheet. This is particularly useful for unit price contracts, as it gives a range of the cost expectations of competitors.

Contract Performance  If you win the bid, this tab represents the “as-built” estimate for the project. Variances from the bid can be easily calculated to help future accuracy, and notes can be added for aid with future estimates.

The above tab recommendations are not meant to be exhaustive and we are sure our readers have their own preferred way of keeping spreadsheets. Please let us know of tabs that you use that help with your estimating and project management success.



I need to know more about computer estimating
Posted by: clyde carr - Sunday, January 25, 2015 5:32 PM

Please send more information and practice demo on the Following:Estimating Spreadsheet Best Practices – Use of Multiple Sheets and Tabs – Part 1 & 2. Thank you.
Posted by: Charles McCollum - Sunday, January 25, 2015 9:34 PM

I would like to learn more about the recent techniques in the estimation practices,

Thanking you
Posted by: Mohammed Mustafa - Monday, January 26, 2015 3:53 AM


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