How to Avoid Costly Construction Project Errors Before They Happen

How to Avoid Costly Construction Project Errors Before They Happen

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October 29, 2020

The construction bidding process is a fiercely competitive portion of any construction project, and as a construction management professional, you know that you can't afford to lose out on a bid. Many professionals have the ability to win the bid but don’t because of mistakes that were made during cost estimation—maybe a rival was able to quote a lower price or had more accurate information about line items. It may be surprising to hear, but your choice of office automation software may be to blame for these unfortunate errors. With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at five typical mistakes made during a construction project and how to avoid them with the help of ProEst software.

1. Relying on Spreadsheets to Create Bid Sheets

The biggest mistake you can make is often your very first. Construction management professionals fall back on Excel spreadsheets to record and present information that is essential for their team to put together a realistic bid on a project. The major drawback is that you may have a cost estimator working with the help of several teams, and the constraint of working on a common spreadsheet may have the same effect as cramming too many cooks in a kitchen. Excel can be a useful tool, but it is not customized to the specific needs of those working on construction projects and cost estimation.

2. A Template May Not Be the Right Answer

Some cost estimation professionals use templates to make Excel more useful in the construction cost estimation process, many of which are even downloadable for free online. However, anyone who has ever worked with these can tell you that even the most well-thought-out template still requires customization to suit the specifics of your project. These are work hours that can be spent more constructively. You not only need the template to record data but also have sort functions and features to make it easier to make calculations based on real and current data. It is best if you can do this without worrying if your spreadsheet template is correctly customized.

3. Don't Depend On Built-In Spreadsheet Functions

One common mistake that can sink a construction project bid is assumptions being made using incomplete data. For example, you may need to add the projected costs of permits that are addable or removable to create a price range. This is a simple function that your spreadsheet is capable of, but using these functions for every variable of your estimate can be disastrous. It is not unheard of to have these stored data sets applied incorrectly or placed in the wrong cells with an errant keystroke. The worst thing is that these errors are incredibly hard to troubleshoot because copies of data may be divided into multiple spreadsheet folders being used by different teams. Construction management software can solve many of the problems caused by this decentralization by providing a common database for the project.

4. Avoid Transcription Errors

Nobody is perfect, and mistakes such as typographical errors and duplicated data are something that can happen to anyone. Spreadsheets are designed to record information, but they are not well suited to analyzing or checking that information to detect incongruities. Many fledgling construction projects have been mired down in trying to discover what went wrong when numbers didn't add up. Software designed specifically for construction management can help catch and correct such mistakes before they snowball into a much bigger problem. Project tracking, for example, gives supervisors the ability to oversee data as it is entered in real time and generate reports to find where problems are starting.

5. Prevent Mixing Up Unrelated Data

The bane of every cost estimator is that the estimation process is dynamic, while spreadsheets are static. As you go through the process, you may have to grab and snatch every piece of data that you can find, but not all of it will be useful at the end of the process. You may need to work hard to compartmentalize this information throughout the project to separate what is relevant from what is outdated or contains significant omissions. With a construction estimating software program, such as that offered by ProEst, you can use advanced data integration functions to accomplish this and move on to the next phase of your project.

Avoiding these five common mistakes is easy with the help of ProEst software. Whether you will be able to see your construction project through to completion depends on accurately calculating and assessing your expenses, and our software is designed for just this purpose. Take a moment to learn more about how we can help you win the bid and take your project home.

ProEst helps commercial construction companies maximize profits by helping them streamline cost estimation, takeoffs, and more. We believe commercial construction companies grow at scale through visibility of data, cohesion among teams, and accurate estimating. To see how ProEst can streamline your commercial construction processes, contact one of our experts today!