A successful implementation does not just happen but is designed to meet the needs of the contractor. Implementation is interwoven with training. The following steps are offered as recommendations in meeting those needs:
An IT consultant may be asked to attend a meeting with estimators and accountants to discuss what is expected from the estimating system and to develop a road map to meet those objectives. The priority may be to determine:
• Content: What type of work will be included in estimates?
• Detail: Are conceptual and detailed estimates expected?
• Cost Type: Are unit-price, turn-key and/or manhours used for estimating?
• Organization: How will estimates be sorted and totaled.
• Labor Takeoff: What work could be self-performed?
• Material Takeoff: What materials may be purchased?
• Job Cost: What cost variances are monitored in the accounting system?
• Will estimates be used to prepare trade contracts, a construction schedule, or purchase orders?
• Who will coordinate implementation?
A few hours of training to use the database is recommended. A couple days may be needed to make complex estimates, model takeoff, custom sorts, and preparing estimates for bid packages, buyout, and scheduling. Some training may be needed for experienced sage users.
Before the new system is used in the real world, the system needs to be tested and proven to accurate and complete. Testing can be based on fictitious or real projects. It should 1) verify all materials purchased and the labor to install those materials are included, 2) Takeoff are complete and accurate, 3) prices are current, 4) expected markups are included.
This session is to determine how well the new database meets the objectives in the planning session. Are any cost items missing? Do WBS codes organize estimates to meet objectives.
• Is management committed to implement a new estimating system?
• Will profit and overhead be spread equally across the estimate?
• Which markup costs are rolled up or allocated into the estimate or job cost?
• How will cost items be organized and coded for job cost and accounting?
• Will material takeoff quantities and/or order quantities be rounded up?
• How will waste be added to material takeoff quantities?
• How is labor burden added to labor cost?
• Do labor rates vary by location or type of project?
• How will password protection be maintained?
• Who will maintain changes to the database?