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The Front End of the Specifications

An estimator must carefully read the project specifications.  Sometimes, there are labor and material costs that are required for specified items for the project.

Here are the most important questions to answer and items for review:

  1. Scope of work
  2. Summary of work
  3. General conditions
  4. Supplemental conditions
  5. Are there any special insurances required?
  6. Are there any allowances? Is the OH&P included in the allowance or do you need to add in your bid summary?
  7. Are there any existing hazardous materials on the project? ie: lead, asbestos
  8. As-built drawings – required in CAD?
  9. Is there a BIM requirement?
  10. Can you get paid for stored materials?
  11. How are change orders handled? What is the allowable OH&P?
  12. How are delays handled?
  13. How will disputes be handled?
  14. Is it a prevailing rate project?
  15. Liquidated damages amount?
  16. What is the maintenance period?
  17. What is the material substitution policy?
  18. What is the OH&P allowed on change orders?
  19. What is the payment protocol? Do you get paid only if the GC gets paid?
  20. What is the retainage percentage?
  21. What are the work days and hours?
  22. What is the project duration?
  23. Are there any owner furnished items? Have you including additional handing and transportation of these items to the site?
  24. Are you required to clean and relamp all existing light fixtures?
  25. are there any journeyman hours required for the discretionary use of the owner or construction manager?
  26. Noise limitations – is off-hour work required?
  27. Is non-working supervision required?
  28. Are there any painting requirements?
  29. Is the project completed in phases?
  30. What is the frequency of project meetings?
  31. Who is responsible for the power consumption charges?
  32. Are there any pre-construction site surveys of existing building(s)?
  33. Is there a safety inspector required?
  34. What are the OSHA safety requirements?
  35. What are the temporary power requirements?


Estimating is expensive, poor estimating is costly, and quality estimating is profitable.