Budget and scope can be the most challenging aspects of any project. Because of this, it is important to continuously evaluate costs on all design concepts throughout a design assist (DA) process. Careful accounting and reporting of these costs with the design assist team helps drive good design decisions, ensuring cost-effective, constructible solutions to reduce or eliminate RFIs and change orders later in the project.
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Any good design assist process begins with a conversation amongst project stakeholders about a project’s design inspiration, vision, intent, and objectives. The estimator’s role in this conversation is to guide and inform the design assist team about every aspect of cost.
Our approach to providing these cost estimates begins with a key understanding of the project requirements. Listening to the project team is first and foremost on our list. Simply talking about the objectives and goals for a project allows us to achieve a deeper, more personal understanding of every project. Then we move to the more technical aspects; specification reviews, material take-offs, logistic plans, and detail evaluations form the foundation of the estimate.
We take a pragmatic approach to cost estimating to develop a GMP starting point. As we work through the DA process, we can increase our pricing accuracy and confidence, which reduces the contingency that is incorporated into all estimating processes. During the development of key details, we help guide the design to ensure that each detail is thoughtfully created with the goal of accurately capturing costs. These cost evaluations are documented and shared with the team so decisions can be easily made about how to proceed. In most cases, we provide several detail options that the team can select, helping to balance cost and design.
During the design assist process, we balance creativity, quality, and cost to present options to the project team as we continue to refine the plan to deliver project success. Accurate cost evaluation and reporting during design assist avoids late-stage value engineering and design compromises while providing predictability, quality assurance and flawless execution.