Harnessing the Power of Data to Perfect Project Estimates

Every year, General Contractors passively waste thousands of man-hours of actionable information by doing nothing with their project bids. Teams of estimators create invaluable stores of project information to win business which, awarded or not, are incredibly valuable. However, the ways which general contractors and their partners can leverage this data has not been explored, until now.

At Bldbox, we recognized this challenge and went to work building a better, less painful, way to estimate a new project quickly and without sacrificing accuracy. In consulting our early partners, we identified a real need for “software which will allow us [GC’s] to better understand a project before we commit time and resources.” But to create this tool, we first had to understand the old processes, and the pain.

An Industry-Wide Problem (and Need)

We found that general contractors, and the AEC Sector in general, have been admittedly inconsistent when it comes to technology adoption. Certain sectors have experienced huge spikes in efficiency as a result of embracing tech (think BIM software and other visualization applications). Still, other phases of construction, like estimation and project takeoff, have not yet benefited from such technology adoption.

While some bidding and project management platforms may incorporate estimating features, most solutions are workflow intensive, cumbersome and don’t feature predictive capabilities. As a result, GC’s have become dependent on a slew of softwares to accomplish what should be a streamline processes. Through our own research, we identified a 10:1 ratio of initial project estimations to submitted bids. If 90% of estimations don’t lead to work, there needs to be a better way to identify the best opportunities so that time and resources aren’t used ineffectively.

A Data-Drive Solution

The novel approach that we developed with our Hard Cost Calculator directly addresses this dilemma and operates under the unique belief that estimator’s cost data should work for them.Bldbox

How it Works

After a brief pilot period and an initial data upload on the back-end, new Bldbox user groups are provided with their own, cloud-based, secure-login databases, ensuring that project (and cost) data remain private. Users can then input and manage project bids and leverage these to instantly generate new project estimates (in CSI Masterformat) based on their user-specific inputs. These generated figures account for volumes, cost-of-materials and building/construction type, but also reflect “hidden” cost factors like labor, location, climate and project duration.

As competition in the construction industry continues to inflate prices and extend bidding cycles, it is more important than ever to begin implementing process and technologies which can win you work now, but also prepare you for the future. The best of these new technologies will learn and grow with your company. And perhaps most importantly, they will give you the confidence to act faster, knowing that the quality of your work has never been higher.

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