Reviewing Estimates

All estimates should be reviewed by all responsible parties at every stage. An estimate review should begin with a survey of the verbal description of the work, including all or most of the following: scope statement, assumptions, clarifications, qualifications, and exclusions.
As an example, the estimate is to be reviewed for a warehouse to be built in an urban area as part of a redevelopment project. The scope statement should specify the location, refer to design drawings and specifications, and list applicable building codes. The assumptions might include such data as the number of persons who will work in the warehouse. This is an indication of the number of restrooms and fixtures needed, which can be listed as a clarification. If the price quotes are valid for 90 days, this should be stated as a qualification. Handling and disposing of any existing hazardous material found on the site might be listed as an exclusion.
This warehouse description may be reasonably complete from the viewpoint of designer and contractor and may be accurately priced. But because of the assumption regarding the number of occupants, it may not be suitable from the viewpoint of the intended users. The exclusion regarding hazardous materials may result in unacceptable financial exposure for the client. Issues such as these need to be addressed. The client may decide that the prospective tenants, or users, may employ more persons than the number assumed. Hence, either the estimate will have to allocate more money for rest rooms or the client will have to give the tenants an allowance to enable them to build the rest rooms they desire. The client may also decide that an analysis of soil samples may be necessary before any construction is done to determine the extent of contamination, if any, and cost of cleanup.
Bearing these issues in mind, the parties should now review the quantitative part of the estimate. This review should comprise the following:
A summary of the key quantities involved; for example, floor area, tons of steel, cubic yards of concrete.
As a cross check, a list the key quantities by discipline if the estimate has been prepared with the industry approach or by industry if the estimate has been prepared by the discipline approach.
A summary of the project, by industry or discipline.
At each step of the review, changes may be made, as required. After all parties agree to all parts of the estimate, it can be considered final. At this stage, the designer should be satisfied that enough money has been allocated to carry out the project. The client should have a clear idea as to what the project will entail and how much it will cost.

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