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1

Check the how to estimate guide

Use our step by step guide to learn the main functions of our 360 Estimator software, with examples and pictures.

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2

Watch the video lessons

Relax and watch our video lessons and learn how to create a Takeoff, Estimate, Proposal, Gantt Chart and Cost Report, using 360 Estimator.

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3

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Construction Estimating Databases

What type of commercial pricing do you offer?
Craftsman publishes annually 11 databases, which include estimating data for commercial and industrial construction.

How many individual items are in your pricelists?
Craftsman offers a range of cost databases to suit your needs, including:
• General construction – approx. 30,000 cost items
• Repair & remodeling – approx. 6,000 cost items
• Renovation & insurance repair – approx. 12,000 cost items
• Electrical – approx. 9,000 cost items
• Plumbing & HVAC – approx. 8,000 cost items
• Home improvement – approx. 10,000 cost items
• Earthwork & heavy equipment – approx. 3,000 cost items
• Heavy construction – approx. 20,000 cost items
• Concrete & masonry – approx. 15,000 cost items
• Painting – approx. 5,000 cost items
• Framing & finish carpentry – approx. 5,000 cost items

What type of pricing services do you offer? (i.e. unit pricing, time & materials, etc)
Craftsman Book Company (“Craftsman”) has been a publisher of construction cost estimating references since 1952. Licensed Craftsman data shows the time (typical manhours per unit for installation), material cost per unit (including waste and coverage loss) and installed cost, based on an hourly labor rate (including taxes and insurance) appropriate for the locality. Overhead and profit are necessarily a function of the contractor performing the work, not the task.


Describe how you develop your estimating guidelines?
Estimating (including cat-loss adjusting) is an art, not a science. Good estimates are custom made for a particular project and a single contractor through judgment, analysis and experience. On many jobs the range between high and low bid will be 30% or more. There's room for legitimate disagreement on what the correct costs are, even when complete plans and specifications are available, the date and site are established, and labor and material costs are identical for all bidders. No one cost fits all jobs. There are better estimates and worse estimates. All good estimates are based on careful consideration of what’s included and what’s excluded. Without that, any price is the right price. That’s why Craftsman data includes robust explanations – a short essay anyone can use to evaluate how conditions on a particular job will affect costs.


How do you develop pricing?
Prices come from the same sources all professional estimators use: contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, analysis of plans, specifications, completed project costs, and both published and unpublished cost studies. In addition, Craftsman conducts nationwide mail, email and phone surveys and has the use of several major national estimating databases. Craftsman monitors prices for over 1,000 key construction materials in essentially all metropolitan areas in the US.

How do you verify pricing?
Prices are checked continually, both by Craftsman staff and by reports from the thousands of contractors who use Craftsman references when pricing construction and re-construction work.


How often do you update pricing?
Craftsman maintains a set of geographic modifiers for US zip codes and Canadian postal sortation areas. New modifiers are produced and distributed monthly, with other cost data adjustments distributed on a quarterly basis -- automatically on the Web.

Do you update pricing in a catastrophe, and if so how do you update prices?
Craftsman occasionally publishes regional (localized) editions which reflect experience of adjusters working in the communities affected by a catastrophe.

Does your pricing account for the amount items cost in particular geographic locations?
Yes. Geographic modification factors are revised and published monthly to account for relative changes in labor and material costs from area to area. Modification factors are available for essentially every US zip and more than 1,000 Canadian postal codes.

Are local prices surveyed on a regular basis? Do you call local contractors or is some other method utilized to determine local prices?
Yes. Craftsman receives, collects, processes and publishes thousands of construction material costs daily. The Craftsman support line receives over a hundred calls per week from contractors and construction professionals, many confirming prices Craftsman has published.

Do you consider feedback concerning inadequate pricing from area residents, contractors, company personnel in developing your guidelines? If so, how do you address this?
Yes. All inquiries are treated seriously. We research claims about inadequate or erroneous data and publish expanded or corrected information on the Web through the Craftsman Software Update (CSU) when appropriate.

Does increased demand for updated pricing result in increased frequency of pricing updates?
No. There has been no request for updating prices more often than quarterly.

Do you update pricing guidelines in reaction to local area items?
Yes. All pricing is based on local costs. As local costs change, we publish revisions.

How long does it take you to update pricing guidelines in reaction to discovering an item that is localized to a certain area?
Scheduled updates are published quarterly. Unscheduled updates can be published and distributed on the Web within 24 hours.

Does your software allow for minimum charges in all categories, for retail labor in all categories, for trip and/or preparation charges based on “pure labor” that can be adjusted to account for excessive drive or transportation times?
No. Driving times, trip, job preparation, supervision, mobilization, and demobilization costs (and all non-productive labor) are overhead costs which are properly considered separately from labor and material costs. Craftsman recommends minimum job charges for many trades and tasks. But labor and material cost estimates are based on typical installation rates and exclude non-productive time.

What type of data supports your pricing?
Craftsman is acknowledged as a leader in publishing backup data for estimates – offering an item by item breakdown of all components in each assembly – including typical waste and coverage factors.

Is the data readily available for access when needed to support your pricing?
Yes. Craftsman includes a summary of all the cost components side-by-side with most estimates


How do you monitor new products in the market place and how or when are they added to your program?
Craftsman publishes about 50,000 pages of construction cost estimating data annually. About 200 pages of new data are added each year. This information comes from the same sources all contractors, architects and engineers use: product catalogs, trade press, manufacturer press releases, and reports from building material dealers. New products are generally added during annual revisions but can be added with any monthly update.


For more info vist:



Construction Estimating How To Guide

The purpose of this lesson is to help you have an overview of the construction estimating software.

Construction estimating software is designed to assist you in the process of forecasting the costs of a building or a physical structure at the different stages:

  • Order of magnitude
  • Schematic design
  • Design development
  • Construction design
  • Post contract

Successful projects are delivered to required quality standards, on time and within budget.

The practice is not new. We find it mentioned in the Bible almost 2000 years ago: "Which of you, wishing to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost to see if he has the resources to complete it?" (Luke 14:28)

The technology is new. We created 360estimator.com, a simple but powerful construction estimating software, and we integrated a cost database used by construction professionals to estimate projects at different stages: preliminary, bid and execution.

If you want to create a clear and accurate estimate, then you should understand and operate properly with the next concepts:

Resources: all construction projects use three types of resources:

  • Materials
  • Labor
  • Equipment

Unit items or cost lines are the basic parts of an estimate and represent quantities of various items of work that need to be done. A unit item has a symbol, description, material costs, labor costs, equipment costs for one unit.

Assemblies are useful for developing a budget estimate right from the design development stage of a design project. Estimates can be developed quickly since the “assemblies” format groups commonly used construction work tasks, simplifying the estimating process.

Overheads are regular expenses that are not directly related to specific construction jobs such as office expenses, bills, bookkeeping, accounting, taxes, legal costs, your insurance for independent contractors.

Profits are what’s left from what you were paid, after you’ve subtracted your overhead and the costs of the construction.

Estimates are the basic unit of a project and are created using cost lines: unit items or assemblies.

Divisions are parts of a project used by the General Contractors to create a Work Breakdown Structure for their projects. A division may include one or more estimates.

Creating a cost estimate for a project, as complicated as a building, calls for a systematic way of enumerating costs. To simplify the process, cost estimators may use Uniformat, Building Elements Template with a set of six functional divisions. These are: 

  • Substructure
  • Shell
  • Interiors
  • Services
  • Equipment
  • Furnishings

A project includes all tasks that should be done in order to create a building or a physical structure. A project is split into divisions and divisions into estimates.

Folders, are used to organize and store your projects.

Proposals are written offers from a seller to a prospective buyer.

Cost reports will help you to submit regular, monthly in general, up-to-date and accurate cost reports in  order to be able to control the cost for your project.

Gantt Chart and S Curve will help you have the right materials on site at the right time, meeting deadlines for inspections and sign offs or getting the right equipment and labor to the site at the right time.

 

An estimate is part of a division, a division is part of a project and a project will be placed in a folder. Before you add an estimate you should add or choose the division, project and folder where you want to place it.



1. How to create an Estimate?

  • Select the Estimates module
  • Select the Proposals Folder and using the contextual menu, press Add project
  • Enter the name of the Project for example Apartment 3 story and press the Enter
  • Enter the name of the Division  for example Substructure and press the Enter
  • Enter the name of the Estimate  for example  Standard foundations and press the Enter to open the Estimate

2. How to create a Work Breackdown Structure using Uniformat Templates?

  • from the left pannel, press Items, chose Templates, and press  + button in front of the template you want to use

3. How to add unit items in an Estimate?

  • open the estimate where you want to add and press Add button
  • enter the keywords for your line items, for example:  Concrete slab
  • choose the right unit item, enter the quantity and press Enter key to add the unit item in your estimate

4. How to set the Area of your project in order to be able to apply the Area Modification Factor?

  • from bottom left corner, press Settings button, choose Properties, Location Settings for Craftsman Books
  • select Country, for example United States, select State for example Alabama,  and select City for example Alabama Average and press Save button

5. How to search for a unit items in a specific catalog?

  • open the Items left panel and for example Choose Standard items, Craftsman books, General Construction, Residential division, Concrete, Concrete formwork and press Search button
  • choose the right item, for example: Forming and bracing,  enter the quantity, for example 200 SF and press Enter Key to add it in your estimate

6. How to change the position of a line item in your estimate?

  • edit the WBS cell in front of the line item you want to move and enter the new position  

7. How to setup the WBS for your project?

  • select the project and from bottom left corner, press Settings button, choose Properties, WBS
  • chose the type of codification you want to use for each level and press Save button

8. How to print the Proposal

  • from the top right corner, press the Reports button, choose Estimate and press Export 

 

Quantity takeoff from drawings, can be carried out by using the On-Screen Digital Takeoff. The purpose of measuring is to establish the correct amount of work to be carried out.


1. How to load a blueprint

  • select the estimate for which you want to takeoff quantities from the blueprint
  • select the unit item for which you want to calculate the quantity and using the contextual menu, choose Quantity takeoff 
  • press the Add Blueprint button and choose the blueprint in PDF, DWG or JPG format from your computer 

2. How to set the scale

  • in the top right corner, press the Takeoff the scale button
  • draw a line and enter its length 
  • in the top right corner you can modify the Scale if it is needed

3. How to takeoff areas?

  • in the top left corner, press the Areas button
  • on the blueprint draw the area using points for each corner
  • press the Save button when you finish the Area
  • in the left panel, rename the parameter, and verify the area calculated

4. How to takeoff lines?

  • in the top left corner, press the Lines button
  • on the blueprint draw the line using points 
  • press the Save button when you finish the Lines
  • in the left panel, rename the parameter and verify the length calculated

5. How to takeoff points?

  • in the top left corner, press the Points button
  • on the blueprint draw the points
  • press the Save button when you finish the Points
  • in the left panel, rename the parameter and verify the Number counted

6. How to create a formula and calculate quantities?

  • choose the Quantity takeoff Page
  • press the arrow in front of the parameters you want to add in your formula
  • choose the math signs you want to use in your formula for example times 8 inches divided by 12, to convert in feet, divided by 27, to convert in cubic yards
  • press the Save button to close the quantity takeoff window and return to the estimate

7. How to print  the Schematic Design Estimate?

  • from the bottom left corner, press the Setting button
  • choose Report tab, General section and uncheck Display prices
  • from the top right corner, press the Reports button
  • choose the format of the Estimate XLSX or PDF and press Export

 

The key guide to pricing is to make sure it's accurate, reliable, it takes on broad market conditions, location factors and is project specific.

1. How to modify prices for a Unit item?
  • select the project, division or estimate for which you want to modify prices
  • open the Estimates page
  • select the unit item for which you want to modify prices
  • modify the unit price for Materials, Labor or Equipment directly in the table

2. How to modify the Soft costs?

Soft costs are indirect costs that are normally added to the hard costs. Generally, these are, builder overhead and profit and are carried out on a percentage basis of your hard costs.

  • from the bottom right, click on the Soft Costs 
  • Modify the percent directly in the table, for example set Overhead and Profit to 8%.

If you want to add special soft costs for a project, open the Items left panel, from the Soft Costs section, select Special soft costs,  press plus button in front of the Soft Cost you want to add.

3. How modify prices using percents?

You can use a percent to modify the prices for your materials, labor and equipment to modify the value of your project or you can set a final value for your project

  • select the project, division or estimate for which you want to apply increases
  • select the Estimates tab
  • select the line items for which you want to apply increases, use Ctrl + A to select all
  • using the contextual menu, choose Apply increases
  • Enter the percents you want to apply for materials, labor and equipment, for example increase the labor cost with 10%  and you will have a final value for your project
  • or enter the final value for your Project, and a percent will be calculated for materials, labor and equipment 
  • press the Save button

4. How to create and use price collections?

Price collections are a unique collection of prices for the materials, labor and equipment. A price collection can be used to transfer prices from one project to another.

  • select the project, division or estimate for which you want to save the unit price of the resources in a price collection
  • using the contextual menu press Save prices
  • press the + Button to add a new collection or choose one from the list and press Save
  • from the bottom left corner press Settings button
  • choose properties Tab, Prices collection section, choose your prices collection and press Save

 

Unit items or cost lines are the basic parts of an estimate and represent quantities of various items of work that need to be done. A unit item has a symbol, description, material costs, labor costs, equipment costs for one unit.

1. How to modify an existing unit item?

  • open the estimate where the unit item you want to modify is
  • select the unit item you want to modify
  • edit the Symbol, Name, Materials price, Labor price or Equipment price

2. How to create a new unit item?

  • open the estimate where you want to create the unit item
  • select the line where you want to add, using contextual menu press Add and enter the name for your unit items
  • if the unit item will not be found in the cost database, you can press Enter to add a new one
  • edit the quantity, unit measure, materials unit price, labor unit price or equipment unit price  for the new unit item

Note: If the unit item will be found in the cost database, but you still want to add a new one, you should click the edit name box and press Enter

3. How to add resources in a unit item?

  • if you want to create a resource based unit item, select the unit item you want to modify
  • if you want to create a resource based unit item, select the unit item you want to modify
  • using the contextual menu press Add button
  • enter a keyword for the material, labor or equipment you want to add 
  • select the Material, Labor or Equipment page
  • check Add within the unit item box
  • choose the resource from the results or press Enter to add a new one if there are no appropriate results
  • enter the quantity of the resource used for one unit of the item
  • repeat the operation until you have all the resources needed

Note: The unit item materials price, labor price and equipment price will be calculated from the resources and it will be no longer be available for direct edit. If you want to edit the price of a resources based unit item you should expand it and edit the unit price of the resources that compose the unit item.

4. How to save a custom unit item?

  • select the unit item you want to save 
  • using the contextual menu, press Save button
  • choose or add a collection where you want to save the custom unit item
  • choose or add a division where you want to save the custom unit item
  • press the Save button

The new unit item will be saved in Custom items, Unit items database and will be available for your next projects

5. How to create an Assembly?

  • select one or more unit items you want to save in an Assembly (for example you can select all unit items from your estimate)
  • using the contextual menu, press Save
  • Enter a symbol, Unit of measure and a Name for your Assembly
  • choose or add a collection where you want to save the custom Assembly
  • choose or add a division where you want to save the custom Assembly
  • press the Save button

Note: The new Assembly will be saved in Custom items, Assemblies database and will be available for your next projects

 

The Gantt Chart and S Curve will help you meeting deadlines for inspections and sign offs or getting the right materials, equipment and labor to the site at the right time.

1. How to set the start date for your project?

  • select your project and open the Gantt Tab
  • from the top right menu, choose Display and check the level of details you want to see on your Gantt, for example Days and Line items
  • select the black bar from the Gantt that represent the Division you want to move and, using your mouse function drag and drop, move it on your Graphic to the new start date
  • repeat the operation for all your Divisions

2. How to change the order of your activities?

You can create your work breakdown structure by rearranging your activities in the order in which you will execute them.

  • from the left table, select the number cell in front of the activity you want to move and, using your mouse function drag and drop, move it in the new position

3. How to modify the time lapse for your activities?

The time lapse in days for your activities is calculated from the labor hours divided by number of workers and working hours per day.

  • If you want to modify the time lapse calculated for your activities, select the left or right margin of the bar from the Gantt that represent the activity you want to modify and using your mouse function drag and drop, change the end date on your Graphic
  • If you want to recalculate the time lapse for one of your activities, select the activity and using the contextual menu, choose Calculate duration

4. How to create conditions for your activities?

  • If you want to create a Finish to Start condition, select the finish point of the  activity you want to include in your critical paths and using your mouse function drag and drop and link it to the start point in front of the  activity which is conditioned
  • Repeat the operation until you have your  conditions created on your Gantt

Critical path is the longest length of time it will take to complete the project tasks.

5. How to use S Curve to level the resources?

  • from the top right menu, choose Display and check the Gantt and S Curve view
  • from the bottom left section, check the labor checkbox to see in real time the number of laborers needed for your tasks
  • move tasks on your Gantt chart until the number of laborers is leveled

6. How to print the Gantt Report?

  • from the top right menu, choose Export Gantt and open the pdf file with your Gantt chart

7. How to export your project?

  • from the top right menu, chose Export and choose the format you need: PDF Gantt, Excel Gantt or Microsoft Project Manager

 

We are now in post-contract phase of the project. Successful projects are delivered with the required quality standards, on time and within budget. One of the most important cost control actions is submitting regular, monthly in general, up-to-date and accurate cost reports. 

1. How to create a Cost Reports?

  • select the project, division or estimate for which you want to create a cost report, for example Standard foundations
  • move on the Estimates Tab and from the Top of the table, press the plus button from the right of the Proposal Box
  • enter the name and the date of the Cost report, and press the Save button
  • enter the quantities completed current
  • repeat the operation until you finish your cost report
  • enter the quantities canceled current if there are any
  • add new items to your cost report if you have any 

2. How to create the Final Cost Report?

  • select the project, division or estimate for which you want to create the final cost report, for example Apartment 3 story
  • move on the Estimates Tab and from the Top of the table, press the plus button from the right of the Proposal Box
  • enter the name and the date of the Cost report for example Final Cost Report, date February 29th,
  • check the Completed remaining quantities and press the Save button

The Cost report is connected with your Gantt chart and if you move on your Gantt chart you can see the percent completed for each activity from your project.

3. How to print a Cost report?

  • from the top right corner, press the Reports button
  • choose the Cost report or Summary of Cost Reports and press Export 

You can use Export function to send your project to a partner, or Import function to import a project received from a partner.

1. How to export a project to send it to a partner?

  • select the project, division or estimate you want to export
  • using contextual menu, choose Export
  • choose Estimate type and save the XLSX file on your computer

2. How to import a project received from a partner?

  • Select the Folder where you want to import the Project
  • using contextual menu, chose Import
  • choose the Estimate type
  • press Browse button and select the XLSX file you want to import
  • Pres the Import button

3. How to export a project for Microsoft Project Manager

  • select the project, division or estimate you want to export
  • using contextual menu, choose Export
  • cho0se Microsoft Project Manager type and save the XLSX file on your computer

 

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) help you to keep the records of all contacts and projects for your customers.
 
 
1. How to add customer details for your project
  • select the Estimates tab
  • select the project for which you want to complete the customer details
  • from the bottom left corner press Settings button
  • select the Partners Tab
  • press Edit or Add button to complete the details about your Customer

Note: If you want to setup an existing customer for your Project, use Search button to find him in your CRM Database.

 2. How to send your proposals and cost reports by email

  • select Estimates module
  • select your project
  • press reports button
  • choose estimate report
  • Press send by email button
  • Choose a template for your email
  • Preview your attached report
  • Press Send  button

3. How to keep a record of your emails, phones or customer visits related to your customer

  • select the CRM tab
  • select your customer
  • in the left panel press Add Note button
  • Enter a note and press save button

4. How to add a project for your customers

  • from the main menu of the program choose the CRM page
  • in the left panel, select the folder where you want to add an accounts or use contextual menu to add a new folder, for example Customers 2020
  • position the cursor in the accounts table and using the contextual menu choose Add account for example:  ACM Holding
  • enter your account details in the appropriate boxes and press the Save button, for example Contact: Andy Thompson, email: andy@acm.com
  • from the right panel, press + Project, enter the name of the project, for Example Apartment 3 Story, press Save button and you will be redirected on Estimates, Projects page to continue to define your project

 

The Dashboard help you to have a 360 view of your projects.



The standard panels on your Dashboard are:

  • Planning - a calendar with your projects and cost reports
  • Projects stages - a funnel with your projects in different stages
  • User Actions - a summary of the activities of all the users
  • Estimates - a list of your projects and their values
  • Projects - a graphic with your projects and percent completed
  • Projects Map - a Google map with your Building sites

All the information from your panels are linked to the Estimates module so you can see the details about your project simple by pressing one click.

1. How to to hide and view the panels on your dashboard?

  • from the right menu bar, chose Settings: general Settings
  • open the Dashboard page and press the Hide/Display button for the panels you want to see or hide on your Dashboard
  • press Move up and Move down buttons to rearrange the panels on yourr Dashboard

2. How to set-up your panels?

  • from the top right corner of your panel, press Settings button
  • configure your panel and press Save button

 

You can configure users for your application depending on the number of Subscriptions you purchased.



1. How to add a new user?

  • from the right menu bar, chose Settings: Users
  • from menu bar, chose Add: User
  • complete the information boxes about the new user and press Save button

2. How to configure an existing user?


  • from the right menu bar, chose Settings: Users
  • select the user you want to configure
  • configure User details, User permission and Subscriptions
  • press Save button

 



Construction Estimating Video Lessons