Of the many positive attributes that our esteemed profession offers, I think that none distinguishes us from other 9-to-5ers better than the myriad approaches we can take to our work. Think about it. What other management-level vocation presents by its very nature such a diverse variety of ways to complete a task? The almost-infinite combination of built-in options in our programs allows each bidmeister an estimating style that’s as individual as his DNA. Moreover, the many assorted types of physical structures we encounter and the divergent approaches of various design teams we interact with in our industry render each project a combination of combinations. Clearly this is a welcome scenario that presents the exactimator with a new and refreshing set of challenges with each new endeavor, and a remedy against the tedium of repetition. But for me, it’s not so much the extraneous variety in projects that saves me from the throes of boredom, but more the ongoing development of my own distinctive style that makes my work rewarding.
Having rubbed shoulders during my lengthy career with estimators of every ilk, I have observed a whole host of differing practices used by various bidmeister. While I believe that some ways of doing things are inherently more effective than others, I will do my level best to maintain an objective viewpoint as I make my observations below.
Different hues for different views. I really like the plethora of colors that are available for use when doing takeoffs, and I understand the purpose behind keeping each wall or ceiling type visually distinguishable from another. But there are estimators out there who like to assign some sort of significance to each color that they use! I can go along with selecting red lines for fire-rated walls; there’s some value in that, although if you’re a stickler, there are limited shades of red—not nearly enough to cover all the different rated assemblies. And there are some who use dark blue for the nother topic that seems to grow as it’s discussed, and one that deserves even more attention than we’ve given it up to this point, so we will resume where we’ve left off here next month.
Vince Bailey is an estimator at E&K of Phoenix.