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An Internet-Based Cost Estimation Tool Charles Engelke November 4, 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "An Internet-Based Cost Estimation Tool Charles Engelke November 4, 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Internet-Based Cost Estimation Tool Charles Engelke November 4, 2005

2 Another Estimation Tool? Info Tech already distributes several, both its own and AASHTO’s –Trnsport PES Generate Bid-Based Prices –Trnsport Estimator –Trnsport CES They cover a wide range of methods –Cost-based –Bid-based –Parametric And CES is highly extensible –So even more methods can be supported

3 We Were Building a New System Appia - simple construction program management for small agencies –Created as client/server in the 90s –Reconceived from scratch in 2003 –Web-based system Needed to define and estimate projects –So we used Estimator –(Just as the older Appia did) –But it was a poor fit for the web-based system

4 Appia – Estimator Mismatch One Web, the other Windows –Estimator required software installation –Didn’t want to transfer files So we developed a web solution –Which we hadn’t really thought feasible –In the process, we reconsidered bid-based methodology We liked the result –So we adapted it for the new tool –And hooked it up to Bid Express data

5 How This Tool is Different For one thing, it doesn’t quite exist –I’m talking about a prototype, not a product It doesn’t work the same way –Different bid-based methodology And it has a different goal –Not trying to be a comprehensive solution for expert estimators –Instead intended to be the easiest tool for a novice or “casual” estimator –While still providing good results

6 Functional Differences Methodologies –Trnsport supports many, the prototype is only bid-based When the data is analyzed –Trnsport does it ahead of time and generic results are applied to specific projects –The prototype does it on the fly Interactivity –Trnsport is automatic (for bid-based), the prototype lets the user “tinker”

7 How Trnsport Does Bid-Based Estimation Agency feeds all letting data to BAMS/DSS –Usually by just using PES/LAS A DSS model analyzes the history –Breaks down by item, quantity ranges, dates, work types, … –Sophisticated statistical procedures PES, CES, Estimator use the model output –Not the raw historical data

8 Trnsport Bid-Based Data Flow

9 How the Prototype Does It Raw bid data is provided by Bid Express To estimate an item, the tool –Finds recent bids on the item, for reasonable quantities –And calculates a weighted average price and a simple price/quantity curve The user can change the criteria and manually prune the data –The tool will recalculate When satisfied, the user selects a result

10 Internet Estimation Tool Data Flow

11 Different Philosophies Trnsport –Maximum flexibility –Standardized processes –Users will invest effort to use it Web estimation prototype tool –Easy to use –“Eyeball” the data –Users aren’t full-time estimators, and won’t invest much effort to learn to use tools

12 So… The Prototype Isn’t for You State DOTs have no problem using Trnsport –And reap lots of broad organizational benefits –PES, CES, and Estimator are good fits for your agencies But what about other organizations? –Small government agencies –Design consultants –Even private owners –Maybe contractors?

13 Why Should You Care? These organizations often are your partners –Or at least look to you for guidance Some ideas may be relevant to Trnsport and other tools you use –Or can supplement them You’re here to broaden your perspective

14 Prototype’s Key Characteristics No installation –Everything resides on hosted service –User only needs a web browser No data management –Relies on public historical data –(In this case, from Bid Express ® ) (Almost) no training needed But no “data jail” –All estimate data can be uploaded and downloaded –In standard XML formats

15 Work Flow User signs up for service –Either as a subscription, or per project Sees all of “his” company’s projects Invokes “Create Estimate” function –Fills in header information –Adds items and quantity take-offs Prices items –View historical data –Modify parameters (quantity, dates,…) –Prune data –Select average or regression fit

16 Demonstration

17 Other Features Import project items and quantities –Using aecXML or Estimator XML –Supported by some design tools Create project templates –Copy them to start new estimates Study project location –On maps, satellite and aerial photos

18 Recap We’re investigating a tool for the “casual estimator” –Who typically isn’t an estimator at all –But who has to produce cost estimates Sophisticated statistics are replaced with interactivity –Users can play with the data –Increase user satisfaction, though it doesn’t necessarily improve quality of estimates Works well with Trnsport –Supports same XML formats as Trnsport for both import and export –These formats are also used by some design tools

19 An Internet-Based Cost Estimation Tool Charles Engelke November 4, 2005

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