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Old 10-07-2019, 02:44 PM   #1
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Default pricing out projects from drawings

anyone have any tips for pricing out project from architectural drawings?

its been pretty time consuming and usually a hit or miss on accuracy. anything you guys wish you had been doing when you first started out pricing these?
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Old 10-07-2019, 02:52 PM   #2
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A measuring tool like a Scale Master Pro is well worth the money (they're probably under $50). I'm sure there are new gadgets I'm not aware of, as I've been out of the game a few years.
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Old 10-07-2019, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lightningboy65 View Post
A measuring tool like a Scale Master Pro is well worth the money (they're probably under $50). I'm sure there are new gadgets I'm not aware of, as I've been out of the game a few years.
i should have probably mentioned, the majority of the time these are digital drawings (sent over email as a PDF).
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:02 PM   #4
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i should have probably mentioned, the majority of the time these are digital drawings (sent over email as a PDF).
Of course they are. I'm an old man!
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Old 10-07-2019, 03:45 PM   #5
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Did they send you the autocad files or just a PDF? IMO its unreasonable to expect a painter to spend hours to days pouring over drawings when AutoCad can calculate room surface areas for you.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:08 AM   #6
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Noones ever sent me any autocad drawings...
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:25 AM   #7
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Only pdf has been sent to me also.
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Old 10-08-2019, 02:01 PM   #8
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Noones ever sent me any autocad drawings...

Don't even need the drawings really, the architect should be able to include those measurements in the pdf. Its a drop down checkbox option in autocad for them. Able to calculate any labelled surface area. Walls, Trim, Doors, Floor, Ceiling etc.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:43 PM   #9
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I rarely am provided with full-size drawings and don’t have a plotter. The local blueprinter bangs me about $5/page to print out full-size drawings, some of the bid sets being upwards 200 pages. I think Staples might provide the service as well. I do my estimating manually, the pdf’s being too small to work off of, having to often spend upwards $1,000 for full-sized printouts. Builders used to provide drawings to all their subs, which is now a rare occurrence.

It generally takes me a good 3 hrs per 1,000 sq ft of living space to manually price off of drawings, most of my projects being in the 10,000 sq ft range, give or take, usually taking 4 business days to assemble pricing for an average sized project. I usually cover all surfaces including millwork and flooring, taking a bit longer with the additional scope of finishing.

I don’t mind spending the time or money, the estimates are usually non-compete, with the contracts being pretty much being guaranteed.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alchemy Redux View Post
I rarely am provided with full-size drawings and don’t have a plotter. The local blueprinter bangs me about $5/page to print out full-size drawings, some of the bid sets being upwards 200 pages. I think Staples might provide the service as well. I do my estimating manually, the pdf’s being too small to work off of, having to often spend upwards $1,000 for full-sized printouts. Builders used to provide drawings to all their subs, which is now a rare occurrence.

It generally takes me a good 3 hrs per 1,000 sq ft of living space to manually price off of drawings, most of my projects being in the 10,000 sq ft range, give or take, usually taking 4 business days to assemble pricing for an average sized project. I usually cover all surfaces including millwork and flooring, taking a bit longer with the additional scope of finishing.

I don’t mind spending the time or money, the estimates are usually non-compete, with the contracts being pretty much being guaranteed.
Wow, I never paid for a set of prints in my life. I too preferred using using prints, and if were sent PDFs would request prints and was never denied. It's been a couple of years, so I'm sure things are changing...contractors around here may be more reluctant to provide actual prints, IDK.
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:55 PM   #11
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It has been a long time since I looked at a set of paper prints. I much prefer plans on pdf. They cost me nothing, don't have to return them and frees up a lot of space in the office with the plan table gone.I am pretty much computer stupid, ask my wife and daughters, but I won't go back to paper plans.
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Old 10-09-2019, 10:46 AM   #12
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Im fairly confident doing this. The things that arent spelled out like the detail level of trim, closets, and extras (garage trim, etc.) Can be a surprise if you dont ask, arent informed.
Ofcourse if your working for a good GC then all things are on the table. Not so good GC, or a custom build that is getting changed/evolving on the daily, you may have some surprises if your not diligent about getting the unwritten details.
Number totals for sq footage are good and all, but the devils in the details.
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:41 AM   #13
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https://knowledge.autodesk.com/suppo...64D1B-htm.html
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Old 10-09-2019, 11:44 AM   #14
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Here’s a good one that I bet nobody has encountered:

I was provided with a pdf file once for pricing which I sent off to the blueprinter. The architect who drew the house utilizes multi-color drawings to denote different surfaces to receive different finishes. After receiving the printouts from the blueprinter, who I paid, I put together the estimate based on the printouts, not checking them against the pdf for completeness. In my estimates I always include the drawing page #’s and dates with an exclusion...”anything not provided on drawing #’s such-and-such dated xx/xx/***x to be billed additionally at the rate of $xx/hr + materials”.

One of the colors “did not print out” and that surface was not figured into my price. What was overlooked was 130+ linear feet of painted built-in cabinetry, the color not printing out.

Now here’s the problem:
I had my standard exclusion written into the contract. I had been provided with a pdf file which included the built-ins, not even looking at the pdf. The built-ins didn’t show up on the floor plans or interior elevation printouts. When I saw the cabinets being installed I submitted a change order for the additional work. The builder says, huh? I brought my drawings down to the builder’s office and we compared them to the pdf I received. In all fairness it was me who opted to price off of full-sized drawings and not the pdf provided, so in essence it was my error, actually the blueprinter’s error. I ended up having to eat the cost of finishing 130 running feet of cabinetry. It was my responsibility to check the printouts against the actual files provided.

Live and learn.
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Old 10-09-2019, 12:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alchemy Redux View Post
Here’s a good one that I bet nobody has encountered:

Live and learn.
Ouch!!!
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Old 10-10-2019, 11:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cocomonkeynuts View Post
Don't even need the drawings really, the architect should be able to include those measurements in the pdf. Its a drop down checkbox option in autocad for them. Able to calculate any labelled surface area. Walls, Trim, Doors, Floor, Ceiling etc.
Wait, an architect that will do his job to make our job easier, perhaps in a different time space continuum. I consider myself lucky if they include the spec's. I looked at the auto desk link you sent and I find them hard to use and expensive for the monthly fee. I am limited in my computer skills but I would have been done with the take off on the rooms shown before I got all the settings correct. Maybe for big contractors with full time estimators but not for me.
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Old 10-13-2019, 11:15 PM   #17
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Totally. No architect is gonna specialize a drawing for our peeon butts.
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Old 10-15-2019, 10:34 PM   #18
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Default Estimating from Plans

Take a look at Active Takeoff software. It's affordable and easy to learn. Also, take a look at my website www.paintprecise.com. There are several blog articles and also tools that can help you learn to bid from plans.


All the best,


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Old 10-18-2019, 11:42 AM   #19
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Quote:
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Wait, an architect that will do his job to make our job easier, perhaps in a different time space continuum. I consider myself lucky if they include the spec's. I looked at the auto desk link you sent and I find them hard to use and expensive for the monthly fee. I am limited in my computer skills but I would have been done with the take off on the rooms shown before I got all the settings correct. Maybe for big contractors with full time estimators but not for me.

I guess so. I learned it that way years ago when I took drafting classes. Every software has some sort of function similar to that.
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Old 10-18-2019, 05:52 PM   #20
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Some of those programs are good if you need to have more than one person that uses it or you need to share info with but I am the only one doing estimates so don't need them for that.
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