MEP Estimating – Our Top 5 Tips

1. Assess the tender enquiry straight away

Okay, well straight away might be difficult, but it should be a priority. It is a priority, as you need to identify the tender return date (TRD) and also to gauge the size of the project, the latter because this will inform you of the amount of effort needed to produce the quotation.   You then need to decide if you can submit a quotation, which you are prepare to standby, by the TRD.

2. Go out to the market 

Once you have decided that you will return a quotation, you need to request prices, from any named manufacturers, specialists or subcontractors, listed in the tender documentation.  From experience it is often the case that those named, are late in providing their price.

3. Start and finish the take off

If you want to submit an accurate quotation it is very important to ensure that the take off for the labour and materials aspect of the estimate is as accurate as it can be. Often the take off is overlooked and less accurate quotations are produced.

This can be risky in two ways:

1) you ‘over allow’ for labour and materials as you take a guess – this makes your quotation too high or

2) you ‘under allow’ for labour and materials as you take a guess – this makes your quotation to low.

4. Collate and assess the information 

As prices starts to arrive from those named in the tender documentations, they need to be checked to ensure that the price is a) based on the most recent drawings, b) it satisfies the requirements of the tender documentation, as defined by the Employer/Client and c) it does not exclude elements of work that you assume it will include.

5. Appraise the quotation 

Sit down with a colleague(s) and objectively assess the quotation before it is submitted.  Have you allowed for all items required? Have all prices been received from those named? Have you made any assumptions due to missing information and are those assumptions sensible and has a sensible monetary allowance been made for them? Does the quotation set out precisely what the price is based on, namely what documents from the tender documentation have been priced? Does the quotation clearly exclude the works you have made no allowance for?  

All of these are key considerations that should not be overlooked. Final note, it should be in the forefront of the estimators mind, that the submitted quotation is the probably most important document that will pass between their company and their client, not dismissing the final account statement of course, therefore it has to be right.  If the project is secured the Operation and Commercial departments will fully rely on the submitted quotation when planning the delivery of the project.

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