Estimating Complicated and Challenging Projects - Complicated and Challenging Part 1

The first step for reputable contractors in setting complicated and challenging projects up for success relates directly to a well-planned pre-bid analysis. This analysis includes a thorough understanding of the scope of work as well as other potentially unforeseen project requirements.

While putting together project takeoffs provides the material cost of a project, taking the extra time to really understand the specific labor requirements, project supervision requirements, and the physical environment of the project are all factors that require extra time, experience, and often collaboration to be properly estimated. Many contractors don’t take this extra time and often just double the cost of the project material estimate to cover the labor. This rarely works out in the client’s favor—charging some clients significantly more to complete a project than required, or in some cases, not having sufficient funds in the estimate to complete the job safely and properly.

As you are considering project estimates, keep in mind that the material costs for projects should be virtually the same for all bidders. Due to this, project estimate differences are going to be largely the differences in the labor estimate for projects. And having an insufficient labor budget, particularly on complicated and challenging projects, will not allow the contractor to provide properly experienced installation crews and project supervisors. When this is the case, and leaks finally do show up, hoping that the contractor you selected is still in business to stand behind their work is a risk. If you are not comfortable with hope as your strategy, follow through with some level of bidder pre-qualification.

Handling complicated and challenging projects is Standard’s specialty and we know from 75+ years of providing commercial roofing and envelop solutions that there is no shortcut to this process. Proper pre-bid analysis and bid preparation require taking the time to evaluate a project and planning how the execution will be undertaken. Many times, on challenging and complicated projects, some “out-of-the-box” thinking is required and some consultation among experienced managers and project supervisors is important to vetting all points of view.

Please continue reading our Complicated and Challenging series with Part 2 - The Vital Role of Experienced Installation Crews


If you have any questions or comments, please email me, Pete Taylor, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Standard, at:

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