Estimating Around The World

As I mentioned in a previous blog, we are undertaking the long process of updating our website. I wanted to share with you one of our reader’s favorite sections of our site.

I am very proud of our Representative Projects page. It features a map of the United States and all seven continents. If you click on a state or continent you can see what projects we have done in each location.

For instance, in Alaska we have estimated a prison, a hospital, an airbase, three industrial projects and a museum! In Africa we have worked on a distribution center, a waste water treatment plant, two pump stations, a vehicle maintenance depot and five United States Embassies. I invite you to check it out and see for yourself what we have done. What projects have we performed work on in your state?

The only location in the world where we haven’t worked on a project is Antarctica. I always joke that if anyone has a project in Antarctica, we will probably estimate it for free just so I can add it to the map!

Oh by the way… All it takes to get your project added to the map is to give me a call! 1-888-334-3332.

map with pushpins

Construction Innovations

I like to keeper our readers up to date on the latest construction related happenings. This is not one of those times. I came across this article, but it is about old construction practices. Very, very old construction practices.

Take a look at this article from Discovery News.

First Conversations Two Million Years Ago Likely About Tools

The first verbal conversations likely occurred between 2.5 and 1.8 million years ago and were about tool-making, a new study suggests.

The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, presents compelling evidence that stone tool-making helped to drive the evolution of language and teaching among prehistoric human ancestors in the African savanna. A possible first sentence might have been, “Tool bad.”

“We suggest that the use of tools drove the evolution of language, and it seems likely that ‘words’ for things other than current emotional states would have been very useful for learning to knap,” lead author Thomas Morgan told Discovery News.

What I learned from this article is that tool making might have been the launch pad for verbal communication. The researchers think that it was because of the need to teach about the construction and use of tools that expedited beginning of verbal communication. I can just imagine one person saying to the other “Are you sure that is the right tool for the job?” or “You’re doing it wrong! Or even “Can I borrow that went you are done?”

What Do You Think?

Notice anything different? We are getting close to our blog’s sixth year anniversary (More on this at a later date). After six years, we thought a change was in order. It’s one of those things though, like painting a room a different color. You have to look at it several times and mull it over before you can make up your mind. So while we “mull it over”, I want to know what you think!

Our Construction Estimating Blog In Review – 2014

Thanks to all of our readers and commenters for another great blogging year! You are the reason we continue this blog year after year!

Here is a look at the 2014 annual report for our blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 14,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

The Adrenaline Rush Of Construction Estimating

Justin's Jump & More 108I am an adrenaline junky. I enjoy rollercoasters, rappelling off buildings, skydiving, … and estimating. All of these give me the rush that I crave.

The estimator high is something that most estimators have experienced. It is the feeling that you get when the bid time is looming and you still have a few numbers left to plug into your estimate. Your heart rate speeds up as you eagerly anticipate the finalization of the estimate. You receive the final numbers with just enough time to review them and make sure the scope is complete. Everything comes together right at the very end, so you can submit your numbers just in the nick of time.

Your estimate goes out the door and your heart rate slows. You take a deep sigh of relief as another deadline is met, and you wait to hear who is awarded the project. After all the dust settles, and the project is awarded… this is when the full estimators high kicks in!

Oh By The Way… The above picture is really me. When I turned thirty, my wife gave me skydiving lessons. It was an incredible experience, and even though it was years ago, every time I talk about it my heart starts to speed up!

A Look At Construction Waste

Here is another great blog from Liz O’Sullivan’s Comments From a Spec Writer. Architects get a lot of blame for design problems, and I appreciate Liz pointing out that everything is not necessarily their fault. Read it, then come back and tell me your thoughts!

Construction Industry Waste – Where Does It Start?


Construction industry waste – where does it start? Sometimes it starts with the contractor team. Sometimes it starts with the design team. And sometimes it starts with… owners.


Oh by the way… As Liz points out, it isn’t always the owners “fault” either. Those of us in the construction industry, me included, need to put the situation into perspective when dealing with a frustrating owner. This is our profession and we understand the ins and outs. But, the owner doesn’t always appreciate what information is significant, or even know the questions to ask which make us aware of their unfamiliarity. When I work with an owner, I know I will spend a fair amount of time educating them on what drives cost, and the best times to make changes to the project. I consider all of this as part of my responsibility to an owner.

Leave No Trace

planetLeave No Trace is a program that promotes the ethical usage of the outdoors and focuses on land conservation. It is built on seven principles: Plan ahead and prepare, travel and camp on durable surfaces, dispose of waste properly, leave what you find, minimize campfire impacts, respect wildlife, and be considerate of other visitors. Simply put: You are supposed to use the outdoors responsibly. This should be carried into our everyday life by conserving resources and being mindful of our impact on everything around us.

As an estimator, I like to leave a trace though. And although I like to leave my mark on drawings and contracts, that isn’t exactly what I’m talking about. I like to be a part of a construction project that will leave a lasting mark on a city skyline, or make an improvement in the lives of others. Being able to point out a project to my kids is something that I have always enjoyed. Just because I didn’t perform any of the construction doesn’t mean that I was not a part of it.