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The estimator should organize his or her work with project management in view. A detailed and well-organized estimate will give the project manager a jump start at efficiency. Most projects are comprised of various systems such as lighting, branch wiring, feeders, fire alarm, and so forth. When the estimate is organized by these systems, it will provide project management with material listings for each system. If the project is a multi-story building, having a breakdown by floor also provides good information about materials and labor for an efficient installation. Project management will need to focus on planning material deliveries, adequate tools, and providing the workforce with good information to install the work as efficiently as possible.
Contracting in the simplest form is three steps:
1st – Get Work
2nd – Do the Work
3rd – Get Paid
Here are some things the estimator should do that will provide the project manager with the best opportunity to be as efficient as possible:  

  1. Structure the takeoff by buildings, floors, and systems.
  2. Keep a good record of communications (written, verbal, and electronic) with the architect, engineer, vendors, and general contractors.
  3. All documents used during the bidding process. 
  4. Resolve major conflicts in contract documents.  If the estimator doesn’t know what to include in the estimate, how would the project manager know what to install on the project?
  5. Comprehensive notes from specifications review.
  6. A list of immediate items and concerns that need to be addressed at the preconstruction meeting.
  7. Important dates related to schedule and phasing.
  8. Estimate reports printed by floors, systems, labor cost codes, and material categories.
  9. Copies of all quoted material packages from all vendors.
  10. A detailed Bid Summary report. 

In a relay race, the next runner performs better when a smooth handoff of the baton takes place.  The better the handoff from the estimator to the project manager, the better the finish!

Remember, estimating is expensive, poor estimating is costly, but quality estimating is profitable.