Which method of estimating?


Old 08-11-03, 05:17 PM
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Question Which method of estimating?

I have the "Crafsman" cost estimating book for remodeling in which it gives 3 different methods for estimating stud walls/partitions. Lineal feet, square feet of wall space, and lineal feet of stick. By using each of these methods for the same wall I come up with 3 very different numbers. Is there a preferred method? Do you use one method for, say, a finished basement wall/partition and another for a load bearing outside house wall?
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Old 08-11-03, 06:58 PM
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It depends on what you are wanting to acheive. Do you want just labor costs, material or both. You then have to include overhead. If you look at the book, it would explain what each column represents. I have browsed at these type of books in the past so I don't know exactly what they are depicting nor how they are laid out. You'll have to look in the front of the book to determine what each column is calculating and how it relates to each other.

Most builders around here use the Means book which are very accurate and give costs to owner based upon these along with "alot of experience" as the books are "Just A Guide" and not what you should expect to have someone do the work for. As with most books that are used for estimating costs, the title of the book says it all "Estimating". Bear in mind that General Contractors have to keep up with material costs as they change almost as bad as the gasoline prices!

A good contractor may use them as a reference but not rely on them for total accuracy as each remodling project is different and prices they denote for materials are not accurate as you're getting a published item that may already be 6 moths to 1 year out of date!

I would use square foot for a initial guide to pricing for the client but in estimating, depending on project, L.F. can be used for wall assemblies, etc.

As you asked, "do you use one method for exterior load bearing walls than partiton walls?" The answer is yes due to various items like double top plates, maybe 2x6 wall versus 2x4, are walls 16" O.C. or 24". Insulation, wall sheathing versus drywall only, height of wall, headers required, etc. alot of variables have to be figured before using these types of books. It's a good idea to know construction methods and requirements to make this book an asset.

Conclusion: Read the book!

Hope this helps!
Old 08-12-03, 09:05 AM
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Thanks for the reply Doug.
What I was referring to in the book was strictly labor rates. The book doesn't address when to use which estimating method. It just shows the different prices for each method.
Obviously a different amount of material will be a different amount of labor.
The Craftsman estimating guide states that they obtain their figures by surveying the various tradesmen around the country and averaging out the costs of labor, materials, overhead, etc. The costs can be further adjusted to the going rates in each area of the country.
I know that the esimating guides are just that and not exact costs and rules. The authors of the book had to talk to many tradesmen who may each use a different method of estimating. I would just like some input on what method(s) are used the most, should be used, and why.
For simplicity's sake let's use this example...
An interior wall/partition 8' tall by 8' long using 2x4 lumber, studs spaced 16" on center, single top plate, single bottom plate.
Here are the costs shown in the book using the 3 different methods:
LF of stick $40.32 ( 8 boards @ 8' = 64 LF)
SF of wall area $62.08 ( 8 ft tall x 8 ft long = 64 sf)
LF of wall $60.88
As you can see the prices vary greatly for the exact same section of wall.
Old 08-12-03, 08:04 PM
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Without knowing exactly what they are describing, my best advice is to call them. The number should be in the book.

Sorry I can't provide more advice to this question but I don't understand why the differences you mentioned.

Let us know what you found out.
Old 08-15-03, 07:07 PM
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If your trying to find labor rates, I do not think I would use a book. You could end up in a mess. Labor costs are not cut and dried. There are alot of variables, which are not covered by the book. I do alot of jobs that are labor only. Not a problem, you just have to know all the ins and outs of construction. One wall may cost you $250 by two guys, and another two guys might be able ot do it for $200 just because of certain tools they have, or shortcuts they know of in cutting lumber and a great many others.
Hope this helps.
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