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Responding to the Conceptual Estimating Challenge

Estimators often face an unenviable task in the early stages of their involvement in a construction project. Even if there are very limited details at hand, the client may ask for a conceptual estimate to be produced.

This process doesn’t always provide a positive return on investment. It can take significant effort and rework to produce an estimate that is as accurate as it can be given the circumstances. Construction estimators are expected to provide this information quickly, but they often don’t have the necessary data and tools at their disposal to achieve this goal.

Our latest blog post looks at the conceptual estimating process, which is likely to continue evolving as our industry moves forward.

Why Is Conceptual Estimating So Important?

Conceptual estimating is considered a critical practice for major developments. Project managers need to establish feasibility as early as possible, and the resulting estimates can significantly impact the future path of the project. It could be that a conceptual estimate finds a project plan to be entirely impractical, or else identifies the need for serious design revision to remain under budget.

Construction cost is a key input to feasibility studies, so it’s imperative that the estimator is able to provide a realistic early assessment of the project. With little or no design data to call upon in many cases, estimators are expected to apply their expertise and industry knowledge to good effect. If time constraints are strict, this can be a difficult proposition.

Upon receiving a conceptual estimate request and establishing the project scope, estimators need to move quickly. They will begin to gather relevant historical data related to past projects from their records; it’s vital that they are judicious in these selections, as the use of inapplicable data can compromise accuracy. Once relevant data is gathered and conclusions are drawn, the estimator will provide as much detail as possible regarding how they have drawn their conclusions. This might include the adjustment of data to reflect time or location-based cost changes, as well as a variety of other assumptions and procedures.

A solution to the time constraints of conceptual estimating lies in advanced, data-driven software that allows estimators to apply their knowledge quickly and effectively. The right platform will support users in efficiently gathering and adjusting data and tracking all relevant variables as they go about creating conceptual estimates.

CostX® Benchmark – Exactal’s Latest Web-Based Solution

Our newest construction estimating software platform has been built to support quick and accurate conceptual estimating at the earliest possible stage. CostX® Benchmark draws upon client data to create a database of high-quality historical project information, which can be utilised for early project cost estimates. With all relevant material aggregated in the one place, estimators can go about their work quickly and efficiently.

Users can build comprehensive multi-level estimates within Benchmark and dynamically expand these estimates to interrogate data at numerous levels. Functional analysis is also supported, with key project information able to be viewed, compared and summarised depending on project type.

Other important features include the ability to adjust data based on index factors such as time and location, as well as a range of customisable report options for client presentation.

As is the case with our flagship CostX® platform, CostX® Benchmark will be regularly updated to improve functionality and address client feedback. If you’d like to learn more about our latest estimating software, take a look at our website or get in contact with your local sales team today.

CostX® Benchmark is available as of now in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Ireland.