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The Fundamentals of Electrical Estimating


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About the Author

Don Kiper – Don serves as President of Estimating 101 an electrical estimating consulting and training business.  With forty-two years’ experience in electrical industry as an electrician, estimator, estimating manager, and project manager, he brings the best practices and outcomes for estimating electrical projects.

Content Summary

  • 28 Chapters of Estimating Philosophy
  • 250 Pages

A detailed table of contents for each volume is listed below.


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  • Chapter 1 – Introduction to Electrical Estimating
  • Chapter 2 – Estimating Principles
  • Chapter 3 – The Estimator
  • Chapter 4 – Estimating Tools
  • Chapter 5 – Organization
  • Chapter 6 – Material Basics
  • Chapter 7 – Understanding Labor
  • Chapter 8 – The Estimating Sequence
  • Chapter 9 – Detailed Takeoffs


  • Chapter 10 – The Contract Documents
  • Chapter 11 – Estimate Preparation
  • Chapter 12 – Pre-Bid Meeting & Site Investigation
  • Chapter 13 – Structuring the Estimate
  • Chapter 14 – The Estimating Sequence – Steps 1 -14


  • Chapter 15 – Introduction to Takeoff
  • Chapter 16 – Estimating Technique
  • Chapter 17 – Installation Labor Factors
  • Chapter 18 – The Estimating Sequence – Steps 15-19


  • Chapter 19 – The Importance of the Extension
  • Chapter 20 – Checking the Takeoff
  • Chapter 21 – Focus on What Matters
  • Chapter 22 – The Estimating Sequence – Steps 20 – 28


  • Chapter 23 – Introduction to Bid Summarization
  • Chapter 24 – Project Labor Factors
  • Chapter 25 – Summarizing the Estimate
  • Chapter 26 – Labor Summary and Costs
  • Chapter 27 – Bid Day
  • Chapter 28 – Checking the Bid Summary


  • Appendix A – Estimating Glossary
  • Appendix B – CSI MasterFormat
  • Appendix C – Electrical Abbreviations
  • Appendix D – Conversion of Minutes to Decimal Hours
  • Appendix E – Estimate Checklist
  • Appendix F – Bid Summary Checklist

Part I – Fundamentals of Electrical Estimating – This section will provide the estimator with a solid foundation for producing accurate and detailed estimates. Just as no building will stand very long without a good foundation, no estimator will be successful in the profession of electrical estimating without a solid understanding of proper estimating principles.

Part II – Estimate Preparation – Preparation is key to perform an accurate estimate. This preparation will require a careful examination of the contract specifications and drawings. When the estimator attends the project’s pre-bid meeting, he or she must be prepared beforehand and know how to conduct a site examination of a project. Properly setting up an estimate before quantifying the project is vital.

Part III – The Takeoff – One of the main responsibilities of the estimator is an accurate quantifying of the project. Every estimator must develop a technique that allows for an accurate, detailed, organized takeoff. The estimator must know the difference between estimating and bidding. Estimating is the quantification of the project. Bidding is the summarization of the project. The estimator must provide a complete list of all direct material and labor costs for a detailed takeoff. Having a knowledge of labor factoring is necessary to arrive at an accurate direct labor hour total.

 Part IV – The Extension – With computerized estimating, the estimator has control over the consolidated takeoff totals. The estimator may modify material pricing to current market levels and labor units to suit the project conditions. However, the Extension Screen should allow the estimator review labor percentage totals to determine risks and make adjustments to help mitigate project risks

Part V – Bid Summarization – The Bid Summarization, sometimes referred to as the Bid Recap, must be complete.  An accurate takeoff can be useless if the project is not properly summarized.  Summarizing the estimate is the final step in the estimating process. It is the most important step in preparing an estimate. The potential for major mistakes during this step is highly possible unless it is handled carefully.


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