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Estimating, Ceilings and More

Our primary focus this month is on bidding, and the two outstanding articles in this issue address that subject in one way or another. The first article (page 24) may make estimators re-think their bidding processes, and the other (page 30) could make your jaw drop when you see and hear about the specialty ceiling work done by Compass Construction.


The team at Compass Construction has seen a lot of changes in their Ohio ceiling market in just the last 10 years, and the importance of getting in on the planning meetings early is a key to success. Good relationships with the local architect also play a big role, as does knowing your products and how to install them. Comments from two of Compass’s carpenters—those on the front lines—reflect the various challenges and how they were met. We are also fortunate to hear from the company’s estimator, who describes jobs that involve acoustics, artistry or both—and more. Go to page 30 to see this company’s remarkable work and learn more about how they do what they do.


Note to estimators: The estimator in the Compass article uses an old-fashioned approach to calculating costs, but the article on page 24 shows that the estimator’s approach has nothing to do with winning or losing the bid because it’s really all about the economy. How do you price materials when you don’t know if you will be able to get them in time? And don’t get us started on labor. Do you use different tactics if a recession is looming? What if the economists are wrong? Will you know when it’s time to jump ship (not bid a particular project)? Or maybe it’s time to consider branching out and offering specialties that complement your core services.


The author of this article is Vince Bailey, the columnist who brings you “Estimator’s Edge” in this magazine every month. I am very grateful and happy that Vince agreed to write this feature article. His wealth of knowledge on the subject cannot be denied, and I know our readers—whether their title is estimator or something else—will learn the answers to the questions above, and then some.


I have just returned from Build23 as I write this. Of course it was an incredibly successful event, but no spoilers for those who were unable to attend. In next month’s magazine we will tell you about the convention and trade show, and bring you details on all the winners of AWCI’s excellence awards.

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