20 Jan

NJIT CLASS ESTIMATING CET 411 2017
Posted by: Alain @ 2:00 am

Takeoff lecture at NJIT Fall semester 2017

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30 Nov

Hard Bid Estimating
Posted by: Alain @ 2:53 am

If estimating were a football field, the hard bid estimator would be the kickoff returner on special teams.  The complexity and intricate details in receiving a hard bid can easily be compared to catching the pig skin descending from the heavens.  A hard bid is just as it’s name suggest hard to get.

The estimator typically is bidding against all kinds of hungry, raging competitors as numerous as tacklers on a field.  Relying on the special teams to win the game is not at all a good strategy but if a touchdown is attainable that is just icing on the cake.  Hard bids just pay the bills unless you can secure multiple bids and package the jobs together on the buy out.  a hard bid estimator has to be able to make his or her way out of the maze of subcontractors screaming for attention, zombie architects with their never ending addendums, clarifications and all the confusion of a horrendous set of drawings and specs just like a receiver must get through all the mean determined tacklers to get to the in-zone.

Estimating brigs a rush unlike no other.  All the last minute decision making bursting thought are like the rush a runner gets from dodging one player, leaping over another and side stepping yet another.  an estimator can simulate the rowing of a packed stadium by  a touchdown only when a job has been won and bought out at a profit.

2,568 Comments
11 Nov

Inside look at construction careers
Posted by: Alain @ 10:03 pm

This article is to look at the various career choices inside the construction industry.  I’ve had a chance to interview several professionals in their expertise.

1. Estimating

Salary range?

80-90K in 10 years

What do you like about your job?

I like the freedom that a smaller company provides, I wear many hats all related to the estimating position.  my job provides a rewarding opportunity.

What do u do (describe position)?

After receiving and reviewing a request for proposal from a client, I solicit to vendors and sub-contractors.  Once the drawings and specs are out for bid, I then dive into them and scope the complete job out.  it’s like going through the drawings with a fine tooth comb.  If certain scope is not clear than I would either put in a request for information or exclude it.
How long was the training?

Training was for about 2years.  I was lucky to have worked for one of the best firms in the business before they were ousted from the industry
What kind of crudentials, certicates , degree etc do u have?

I have a masters degree in civil engineering
What do u hate about being an estimator?

Not be able to know where my submitted number lies ( too high, too low ).  In the private industry the numbers aren’t revealed, so you never know for sure how to adjust future bids.

What would you advise people who are still in school or looking to become an estimator?

School has taught me that there is nothing that I can’t achieve.  Ironically the first time I took estimating in college I had to withdraw from the class because I almost failed.  Although schools give you a good theoretical foundation it can’t be at all compared to real life experience.

What has been one of the most rewarding events in your career?

Winning my first competitive bid, it was small but man what a high!
What has been one of the most challenging events in your career?

Getting laid off and having to re-establish yourself all over again.  Hardship builds strength if you don’t let it destroy you.  It’s through the hardships of the industry that I taught about definitely pursuing my own business, and I never looked back.

How long have u been an “estimator”?

Although I have been in the industry for ten years, I’ve been  an estimator for seven years.  I started out in the field as a CAD manager/ project engineer
What would you say are some prerequisites of your position (any specific training or positions that may be required)?

Good understanding of geometry, being redundant and persistent

2. Scheduling

Scheduling is the ability to list all the construction activities required to complete a construction project.  The critical path method plays an essential part of the constructibility of the project by determinating which activities may lead to catastrophic results if delaid.   A scheduler is required to be an expert in the various software applications on the market.  Here are a few: Microsoft Project, Sure-Track, P6.

Salary range?

70-80k in 7 years

What do you like about your job?

I get to schedule, which is like mapping out a project.  If a construction project was a car then the schedule would be like the navigation process of the car.  working independently most of the time is enjoyable and the ability to creatively build a project from scratch.

What do u do (describe position)?

I schedule projects for a transportation company. Updating, reporting and managing them.  A schedule can predict the future of the construction process.

How long was the training?  2 weeks

What kind of crudentials, certicates , degree etc do u have?

BS in Building Construction and LEED AP

What do u hate about being a “position”?

Don’t have the freedom to make the big decisions.   After all a schedule is only one component of the construction process.

What would u advise people who are still in school or looking to become a ” scheduler”.

Be confident and genuine. Don’t give up, just keep networking.

What has been one of the most rewarding events in your career?

Becoming a scheduler, being able to forecast the constructibility of the a construction project has been richly rewarding.  Taking pride in good work is vital to growth.

What has been one of the most challenging events in your career?

Having to leave a company because the roll I want to fill is not there.

How long have u been a “scheduler”

7 Years What would you say are some prerequisites of your position (any specific training or positions that may be required)?

Experience in CPM scheduling, knowledge of the construction process.

3. Project Management

A PM is the invidual in charge of the entire construction project from start to finish,  they have to be increadible at multitasking.  A great PM has knowlege of scheduling, estimating and the construction process.  if a construction project is  a jungle the PM is the lion.

Salary range?

85k-90k for 16 yrs
What do you like about your job?

The satisfaction of seeing a building that has been completed.
What do u do (describe position)?

Sr. Proj Manager with a Construction Management firm. I perform constructability reviews, manage the construction and building turnover process.
How long was the training?

No training involved here.
What kind of crudentials, certicates , degree etc do u have?

B.S. Civil Engineering; LEED Green Associate
What do u hate about being a “PM”?

Having to be at the becking call of a position and not really in charge of your own schedule.

What would u advise people who are still in school or looking tobecome a ” PM”?

Gain whatever experience you can in the industry to build ground level knowledge.
What has been one of the most rewarding events in your career?

Completing construction on a number of schools for minority children in challenged communities.
What has been one of the most challenging events in your career?

The instability that hovers when you’re in between projects.
How long have u been a “position”? 16 yrs

What would you say are some prerequisites of your position (any specific training or positions that may be required?

No specific training before starting, but a variety of development as you progross through the years is expected

4. Superintendent (coming soon)

5. Purchasing (coming soon)

2,656 Comments

This article is a brief rundown of what to expect once you graduate college and go out to the real word as an estimator. In college my estimating classes focused more on theory, than actual real world practices.   After I graduated and embarked onto an intensive career path as an estimator, I wasn’t as prepared as I thought I would be. Here are a few steps that can help you make a good transition from text book to real world practice.

1. Work as much internships as possible, here are a few in the construction industry: BCA (Building contractors association of NJ), CIAP (Construction industry advancement program), Housing scholars program:

“Internship, internship and more internship”,  they are so vital to your career path.  Many companies typically look for new hirers that are eager to learn with some experience under their belt.  Having some basic experience like blue print reading and being able to do a takeoff puts new hirers in the lime light of employers.  Having a quality internship will help to get your foot through the door and will give you an edge over your classmates that weren’t able to take advantage of  internships.

2. Focus on developing a skill before you get into management:

Some employers may be quick to move a college graduate up the ladder, without having the proper experience to be a well rounded manager.  My advice is to develop your skills and be patient so that when the management position comes up, you may be well suited for the position.

3. Ask all the questions you can:

The first few years of your career as an estimator should really focus on absorbing as much information as possible.  Many new hirers seem reluctant to ask questions, afraid of not looking competent.  This is a big misconception because your employer should already realize that you are inexperience as a new college graduate.

4. Do not be a” clock in clock out person” (if you need to stay a few more hours to complete your assignment do so):

My advice is to definitely try to live a balanced life.  Work your position as if you were working for your own company.  Being a time watcher doesn’t help anyone.  Spending the extra time in the office or taking some work at home is well worth it in the end.

5. Move around your first five years in order to find your niche, estimating is a big field (heavy highway, interiors, core & shell, ground up):

The construction industry is very vast.  If possible spend your first few years experiencing how the industry is broken up.  After experiencing all that you can, than pick one branch that you may focus on for the next 30-40 years of your career.

2,750 Comments
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