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Old 12-31-2013, 01:50 AM   #21
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What about when looking at blueprints online, would it be the same as real life/real size?
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Old 12-31-2013, 03:41 AM   #22
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What about when looking at blueprints online, would it be the same as real life/real size?
Probably pretty tough to run that little wheel across your monitor....
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:24 PM   #23
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I use the scale master for online plans all the time, using it now. I put a thin piece of paper up on the screen and the plans show through and the wheel rolls real well. I have not looked at a set of paper plans for several years and prefer online plans. No deposit on them, keep them forever,it's also hard to get paper plans easily where I live with out spending a lot of time and money.
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Old 12-31-2013, 12:42 PM   #24
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I can read plans pretty easy (all my years of building model cars and airplanes, an HO scale train layout 45' long 18' wide), we did have plans for a I think it was a 10 bedroom home, house was built in the 90's but to far of a drive to go do a walk thru (not knowing if it was to far away or scheduling) I had a hard time with those plans but after a couple hours and a day I got it figured out only to find out they decided not to paint their interior just the exterior.
My best advice is have scrap paper, base each ceiling height at 8' (unless other wise stated) and figure out room by room.
Have a co worker or friend with you, check off each room to figured out and have the other double checking to make sure you get every room. As for trim, Crown can be added after and some changes so make sure you state that your estimate is for what is on the plans, any thing else is considered an extra.
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Old 03-23-2015, 08:00 PM   #25
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Hello, education---education -education. However if you cannot find the time to read the prints and do the estimating maybe I could help.

Thank you and best of luck
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Old 03-27-2015, 09:06 PM   #26
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1.) If this is your first time reading from prints, get a set printed. You can save on $ by only getting the Architectural/ID prints.

2.) Before you even start a takeoff, go through the print and familiarize yourself with the job. Take one color highlighter and highlight ANYWHERE you see "Paint" or "Field Finish".

3.) Find the "Finish Schedule" and "Finish Plan". Alot of times these will be IDX.X drawings. Look at the Finish Schedule first and check to make sure there isn't anything quirky. Things to look for are products you haven't heard of or crazy colors (ie reds, yellows - multiple coat colors.)

4.) Use the Finish Schedule to highlight the hell out of the Finish Plan. If there is no Finish Plan, use another page (don't use the Demo page). Invest in multiple color highlighters.

5.) Get the ceiling and walls square footage. Be sure to look for ceiling height changes on the RCP (Reflective Ceiling Plan). Take the numbers you get and multiply by your rates.

6.) Get the doors and openings. Alot of prints have a Door Schedule or Opening schedule.

7.) Check for base/trim. The Finish Schedule should have these listed.

8.) Look for misc. items. Definitely read through all of the notes, even if you don't think they apply to you.

9.) Define your scope. In your bid, include EVERYTHING you intend to do. Worst case scenario, the GC asks why you didn't include something on the print. This will protect your butt. This is probably the most important step!!

10.) Consider variables. Does this work have to be done after hours? Will you have to get training for your employees? Do you need a lift? Does the job need to be done quickly? DO you have to go out of town? Consider these all when pricing!

11.) Ask questions. Some questions may sound dumb, and they may make you sound dumb; but ask them any way. The last thing you want is to have a ton of structural steel on the Structural Drawings that you didn't include. This again is why defining your Scope of Work is so important!

12.) Call the Architect that is listed on the print and see if any other GCs are bidding. Unless you know a GC has a job, you need to bid with all the GCs who are giving a hard bid.

13.) Give yourself wiggle room. If you have steady work, the worst thing you can do is take commercial work without making money. That is not to say have a 40% markup, but definitely mark it up a little. Losing money to keep work isn't an option unless you have quite a few guys who you know need to feed their families.

14.) Be professional. Bids are submitted on a company letterhead. Even if you aren't a "big guy," look like you are.

15.) Get feedback. Some times GCs will tell you where you were too high. It doesn't hurt to ask. Don't probe, but asking questions like, "Was I really high compared to the bid winner?" can sometimes be asked.

16.) Even though what I said in #13 is usually true, sometimes you should adjust your bid down. If you see a huge amount of work in the future for the GC you are bidding with, don't include alot of markup. This is really hard to judge and comes with experience. Most commercial GCs (in my area) are attached to a group of companies they use exclusively. You have to get your foot in the door.

17.) Quality and professionalism. I can't tell you how many commercial jobs we have gotten on our reputation. Even if we weren't the low bidder. They know we will get the job done and if it isn't right we will make it that way.

Wow, didn't mean to type this long of a post, but it just came out. I guess this is more about being a quality commercial painter than it is estimating. Keep at it. The more prints you read the easier it gets.

J
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:00 PM   #27
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8.) Look for misc. items. Definitely read through all of the notes, even if you don't think they apply to you.
J
This step is very important.

Some prints seem like a Easter egg hunt. Almost like they want you to miss something and then point it out to you after. I think it makes them think they out smarted you or something. One stupid note hidden with a structural detail can cost you lots money.

Great guide line Laserlines. Should help out some of the new contractors
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:18 PM   #28
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This step is very important.

Some prints seem like a Easter egg hunt. Almost like they want you to miss something and then point it out to you after. I think it makes them think they out smarted you or something. One stupid note hidden with a structural detail can cost you lots money.

Great guide line Laserlines. Should help out some of the new contractors
The only thing I can think to add is to check Section 9900 of the specs. It's usually all boilerplate, but can hide some na$ty $urpri$e$.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:24 PM   #29
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The only thing I can think to add is to check Section 9900 of the specs. It's usually all boilerplate, but can hide some na$ty $urpri$e$.
Oh man, I got burnt on a Spec Sheet detail once. It was 3 days of work for 2 guys. Painting the foundation of a building that had no reference whatsoever in the Arch sheets. Luckily, around here everything has gone digital and Spec Sheets aren't usually listed with the drawings.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:27 PM   #30
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This step is very important.

Some prints seem like a Easter egg hunt. Almost like they want you to miss something and then point it out to you after. I think it makes them think they out smarted you or something. One stupid note hidden with a structural detail can cost you lots money.
Appreciate it man, but i didn't learn without experiencing it. Working for free sucks!

And I agree, most architects love the fact that they can hide something from you. Nowadays, I don't even look at the actual images of construction while flipping through the prints for the first times. I just scan for the word "paint" or "finish."
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Old 03-29-2015, 09:32 AM   #31
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This step is very important.

Some prints seem like a Easter egg hunt. Almost like they want you to miss something and then point it out to you after. I think it makes them think they out smarted you or something. One stupid note hidden with a structural detail can cost you lots money.

Great guide line Laserlines. Should help out some of the new contractors
Cant Stress this enough

It is imperative to read all of the notes-i have found stuff 'slipped' in there

The devil is often in the details!
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Old 03-29-2015, 10:42 AM   #32
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Yup, working for free does suck and I think we have all been there. We get lots of digital plans here too, so I high recommend investing in a 11" by 17" printer. I bought a brother has 2 trays so I don't have to change paper when I change sizes. Wasn't too expensive, maybe $250. Cheaper then missing something. I will print them out and read through all the notes. I black out the ones that don't mean nothing to me as a painter and highlight the ones that need attention. This way I have a quick reference to what I need to pay attention to. There is a free measure/scaling tool online called VU360. I use it all the time. Perfect for r trade trying to measure out square footage and getting a count on door, etc.

*Sometimes the writing on the 11" by 17" is a little small to read. You can email the plans to a place like staples and have a bigger one printed for you.
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Old 03-29-2015, 11:56 AM   #33
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*Sometimes the writing on the 11" by 17" is a little small to read. You can email the plans to a place like staples and have a bigger one printed for you.
I usually ascertain exactly what pages pertain to me and send to staples
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Old 04-11-2015, 12:46 AM   #34
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I usually ascertain exactly what pages pertain to me and send to staples

This works well until you miss you structural steel on the Structural drawings. Scan them all!
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Old 05-13-2015, 07:55 PM   #35
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looking to get some help/tips for estimating if you can guide me. thanks
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:36 PM   #36
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looking to get some help/tips for estimating if you can guide me. thanks
Get a digital program to do take offs...doesn't get much easier...
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Old 06-10-2015, 05:51 PM   #37
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I am about to turn down the opportunity to bid a 23,000 sq ft new construction of a department store. It's a drag because I want to eventually take on big commercial work. I'm just afraid that I will get killed on this job so early in our start up. I'm not ready to hire a crew and deal with payroll, etc. Plus just the cost of paint could break us. Fortunately, my partner can read blueprints. He spent years drawing them. So one day we will be in the bidding pool...just not today.
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Old 11-10-2015, 03:29 PM   #38
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the major problem of bidding commercial off of prints( once you learn how to read'em) is to trying to figure out access. Are you gonna be alone? Do you have to work around other contractors whe don't give a crap about greasy hands on walls to put in switches. Make sure you find out the sequence or you'll get killed. Not sure where you are , but some places never heard of back charges. Be sure you can add on and consult with the supt. daily and keep a log of problems. As you do more of them, you'll get the hang of it. I remember taking plans to a friend in the trades for many years...get the hang of the terms...blk used to be block...but it can be called cmu???? concrete masonry unit. good luck pd
Excuse me but I'm a commercial painting contractor and I'm trying to figure this thing out.
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Old 11-17-2015, 05:37 PM   #39
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Excuse me but I'm a commercial painting contractor and I'm trying to figure this thing out.
What do you need to know?
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