The Importance of a Proper Estimate

Many problems can be overcome by good project managers and superintendents. However, nothing can overcome a poor estimate. Thorough, accurate, and detailed estimates/take-offs are a must, and because no workday or project goes flawlessly, certain assumptions and contingencies must be “built-in” to every take-off. Examples of some assumptions that we include in our take-offs are related to material loss or waste and weather-damaged material. Proposal exclusions can eliminate future problems by stating upfront the following contingencies:

  • We exclude all trough-wall, sill, and lintel flashing
  • We exclude all curbs, supports, and structural work
  • We exclude all electrical and mechanical work 
  • We exclude demolition
  • We exclude all woodwork
  • We require that all roof penetrations and parapet walls will be in place before executing our scope of work
  • We require that lead flashing for roof drains be provided by others
  • We notate that our proposal is based on the drawings/specifications on stated page numbers
  • Delays to our work caused by all other trades that result in additional labor or material expenses that can be documented will be charged as extra work
  • Damages caused by all other trades that require repair to our work while it is underway or after it has been completed will be charged as extra work
  • We require reasonable access to our work area 
  • We require a reasonable location for our lay-down area
  • Our price assumes we will be provided a suitable substrate for our work to proceed
  • If legal matters are pursued, we exclude the radically unpredictable payment of liquidated damages 

By including these assumptions and exclusions in our take-offs, we are able to remove most of the roadblocks to efficiently assemble a fair estimate of what the required work entails and provide that estimate back to the client in a very timely manner. However, you should be particularly wary of a vendor that does not include all of these exceptions—if issues arise with other projects they quoted in a similar fashion to yours, and they may run out of business before they can even get started on your project or even worse, they may go out of business right in the middle of your project… then what?

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