Today’s estimating tools are basically upgrades to pre-1970’s spreadsheets of unit prices applied to quantity take-offs, based on completed drawings. Estimators and other pre-construction professionals are faced with force-fitting this one-size-fits-all legacy estimating structure — wasting time with speculative (phantom) quantities, and applying unit costs rarely validated by real-world experience. See Historical Data Mining to learn more.
An advanced, structured approach to estimating draws from multiple integrated modeling and estimating tools and processes, depending on the level of development (LOD). CATALYST integrates predictive conceptual modeling with continuous estimating.
- In the early planning stages, all systems, from A – Substructure to G – Sitework, are automatically modeled with CATALYST. Known non-predictable scope like offsite construction or environmental remediation can be manually evaluated and brought into the cost model.
- In the conceptual design stage, many of the systems selections can be explored in real-time through CATALYST’s HD Benchmarking from your portfolio of completed projects.
- In the schematic design stage, selective systems can be isolated and estimated at the assembly-level. Composites of exterior wall assemblies (such as brick, metal panel, architectural precast, curtainwall, etc.) can be rapidly composed and compared, one-to-another. These system estimates can come from CATALYST’s assembly catalog, or automatically imported from a third-party software or Excel-based estimate. As the level of design develops for interiors, MEP systems, etc. benchmarked model predictions can be over-written by assembly-level estimates
- In the design development stages, more and more of the systems estimated can move from predictive models to assembly-level estimates to component-level estimates.
- In the contract document stages, the component-level estimates take over, and can be assigned to specific trade contractors. The metal stud back up and sheathing work, for example, flows into the drywall and acoustical contract estimate, while the brick veneer flows into the masonry contract estimate.
This approach to integrating conceptual modeling with continuous estimating brings a number of benefits, including:
1. Ready comparative analysis at every stage of the project, from early planning to project completion.
2. Easy tracking of current estimates to an approved budget or target values.
3. Producing cost models and estimates in a fraction of the time that it takes using conventional tools.
4. Slicing and dicing estimates and producing different reports based on the particular needs of project team members.
5. Enabling trade contractor data to be more readily mined and used on future projects.