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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My estimating job requires about 250 bids a year.How can we get architects and engineers ,who all use different programs,to include the relevant info to accurately and quickly finish bids?

I have made a list of items that if included on plans could standardize and speed the process but not sure how to get the info out.

Any ideas?

Thanks
 

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Architect
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Norton, you can't even get the design team working in the same office to agree on CD standards. Some drawings are better than others. Do you have your list in a PDF format? I would be interested in taking a look at it.
 

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The Duke
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I would say if you could coerce architects into doing something for you on a mass scale, you'd be my hero. Hell, I think you'd be everyone's hero.

I think it comes down to them not wanting to accept full responsibility for what they submit. You ask for something specific, they will say "it's on the plans" or "we don't have any problems with other GC's, they seem to do OK"

I support what you say, but you have a big hill in front of you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
With every plan from a different A/E,time and money is wasted trying to find where needed info is "hidden".

Info like dimensions,elevations etc.

Just yesterday,to find out that it was a simple 12x12 grade beam,the plans sent me to 4 different pages.

The lumber industry has standardized 4x8 plywood,some of these changes I'll post could be done very easily.I think some of the problem is probably in the drawing programs are not set up from the contractor point of view.
 

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Architect
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Making a contractors life easy isn't too high on most architects list. As long as the information is in the drawings or specs, they're happy campers. Their contract is with the owner.
 

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Eater of sins.
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With every plan from a different A/E,time and money is wasted trying to find where needed info is "hidden".

Info like dimensions,elevations etc.

Just yesterday,to find out that it was a simple 12x12 grade beam,the plans sent me to 4 different pages.

The lumber industry has standardized 4x8 plywood,some of these changes I'll post could be done very easily.I think some of the problem is probably in the drawing programs are not set up from the contractor point of view.

Info like dimensions,elevations etc.:eek:

Holy crap man?! They don't give you dimensions and elevations? Jeez, I thought that those would be just standard and the most minimal thing that an Archy would have on plans.

I know that I some times miss a dimension line or two but I can always call up the plan on computer and find the needed dimension.

What are the drawing programs that the others are using, do you know? Most I think would be using some flavor of AutoSCAB (autocad), I use Chief Architect that allows me to send a DWG file if needs be to an engineer for editing.

Are you looking for material lists and take-offs from your Archies or Designers?

Andy.
 

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Please post your list. As a designer I'd like to see it. Also, it's in everyone interests to have the information as clear as possible and to be as thorough as possible................... It saves a lot of hassles down the line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
That is the problem that plans are not consistent with even putting the basics like dimensions and elevations so the estimate can be completed accuratly and quickly.

We use Timberline Estimating with a GTCO digitizer and work up our own material take offs.

As others have wrote,the clearer the info the faster the estimate can be completed.The timeframe for turnaround is shrinking

It is in everyones interest,Owners,GC's,Architect's and Engineers that the estimating process continues trouble free to accurately reflect the true costs and design intent.
 

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Just yesterday,to find out that it was a simple 12x12 grade beam,the plans sent me to 4 different pages.
This is typical as if you put too much info on one page the plans become unreadable.
All the info is in there, and at 250 estimates a year you should be getting familiar with the different styles the A/E's have.
Taking time to fully understand the drawing before doing the take off helps me, and that can take a while sometimes.
Most of the people reading the plans don't have to understand the big picture as well as you do, plans are broken down and spread out over many pages for a reason.
 

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I would like to see your list too, Norton. We do CAD in house for our own projects and for others to build from. I am always looking to increase their ease of use.

I do think Bill (bconley) is right. When there are a bunch of details to include, pages quickly get too cluttered to decipher. We have taken the approach of having different subsets in our plan sets, namely site plan, demo, framing & structural, MPE, RCP, cabinets (showing the interiors and planned functions), surfaces (showing cabinet doors, pull placements, tile, millwork, switches etc., and finally overview pages showing flooring, transitions, paint schedules etc. Within each subset, we show a plan view, followed by elevations, followed by any detail drawings needed. Dimensions are included on all pages refering to the specifics of that set; ie: only light, skylights and ceiling blocking dimensions are called out on the RCP, etc.

It's not perfect... but it is a uniform system we are still developing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
LivinTheDream,it sounds like you have your plans set up correctly.
I'm having trouble attaching the list,the attachment button is not allowing anything to be done.
I will check how many different A/E plans we have bid this year.
Majority of plans reviewed are done by unique A/E.

Here is some of the list of items that may help in plan review and construction.

Schedules on appropriate page ex. foundation schedule on foundation page.

Elevations shown on plan view ex. foundation elevation,slab/beam elevations.

Details backnumbered to show page referred from.

Cloud changes on revised plans.

Grid lines.

Foundation,column,beam etc.designations relate to their size ex.F3-0 not F1 to mean a 3'x3' foundation pad.

Section and detail cuts show room names,column/beam designations etc.

24x36 plan size.

I appreciate all the input and comments from everyone.
 

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Grid lines for residential plans?

Maybe on large complex buildings, but for most house plans, forget about it.

Lots of luck getting your own preferences baked into the SOPs of all those in the plans biz with which you interface.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The grid lines are to allow to quickly locate any area on the floor plan.They could either correspond to specific points at a varied distance around the plan or at a set distance around the plan with no relation to the actual drawing.

As was said they may not be needed on most residential homes,but when they are there they help to identify and locate.

They are just a numbering/lettering grid around the edge of the plan all 4 sides or numbering/lettering grid around the edge corresponding to specific points of the drawing.

Think of the x-y axis drawing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
You need 15 posts to attach anything.

Grid lines are used in commercial and industrial. Not once have I seen it in residential. Not saying it can't be done.

Keep posting, I'd like to see this list also.
Thanks Framerman for the attachment answer,thought it was my computer again.

Some of the items were in a previous reply.
 

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Specs and Bid Format - Idea

My estimating job requires about 250 bids a year.How can we get architects and engineers ,who all use different programs,to include the relevant info to accurately and quickly finish bids?

I have made a list of items that if included on plans could standardize and speed the process but not sure how to get the info out.

Any ideas?

Thanks
Seems like Architects are asked to keep their design budgets low by Owners who take over many of the specifications or will decide specs later in the process which makes it hard for the Contractors to bid.

Our firm might be different. We mostly do Design Build so we do the design and specify projects in our format.

We bid a couple of jobs for the US Forest Service and their RFP did not have the specs in any kind of sequence or logic. I remember having kitchen cabinets, linoleum and the heating on the same page of specs.

What we did is -
1) came up with our own category list in sequence

2) We ask if the specs can be sent to us in digital format ( Excel, Word, etc Most architects type in Word first then copy and paste )

3) I know it takes time - but we recategorized their specs into our category numbering system.

We received raves from the Forest Service because it was logical and you could find all the mechanical items - DUH ! under the Mechanical Category


4) If you are doing 250 bids per year - have you developed a list of your standard topics ( Specs / Bill of Materials / Tasks ) ?

You probably have many of the same things repeat in your bids.

We have everything in our database.

To build a home we have approximately 1000 topics

Example:
Kitchen Sink -> Spec -> Product -> Qty -> Cost -> Markup/ Tax -> Sell Price

5) After working with Subs, Staff, Designers , Building Departments

We changed our plans drastically -
We were having problems with the staff looking up specs in our project notebook. We had some specs on the plans and more in the project notebook.

We took most of the specs OFF the plans - door schedules / window schedules,

It really saved on drawing time - we use a sub for design - they only worry about the drawing details - dimensions

The specs are in our database - so when the owner decides we pull up the spec - update it and print out that spec locally - I don't have to call the designer to change plans - send for reprint - pick em up and distribute.

Even the Building department seems to like the system - it makes them read ( some hate it )

We have used 36 x 24 plans and after visiting several competitors in my industry we might change our plans to go down to 11 x 17 or 13 x 19 sizing. We might even start adding color to the Shop set - like showing circuit diagrams, etc.

Lower cost printing - can do in house - can send to most any one and may stay nicer in the field.


If you use your own system - and format - You will be faster, might catch more items and the Owner - Decision makers - might not care if you resorted their requirements - just as long as you have them in the bid.

We also put in our bids - Items NOT Included - to be clear and open for discussion - So if you see something they missed and you most likely know it will be in the project - I believe it makes your bid "Apples to Apples" but, you have covered your Company.

Yours,

Terry
 

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Nice thread. I think you will have quite a task in front of you.

There is already a lot of guidelines for plan submittals. Not only is there industry standard submittal guidelines, but individual owners have submittal guidelines, and then there is the building code submittal standards. By the time a designer (engineer, architect, etc) has finished a set of design docs, they know where everything is, and that everything is accounted for. Generally, they are out of time, out of budget, and really glad to have that plan set finally approved by the owner.

On big projects, I have had contractors call me and had my staff do a detailed take off of plans we drew (no incidentals allowed), and in many cases plans that other firms drew. You just have to be willing to pay. With money, all things are possible in this biz.

It sounds like you are a good estimator, in a large part because of your ability to read through plans to find the little aggravating things. If we made it too easy, then you would have a lot more competition for your job!
 
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