The Top 5 Risks of Construction Estimating Using Excel

All construction projects come with risks, from more serious instances of on-the-job injury to missed deadlines or faulty equipment.

But when it comes to cost estimates on a construction project, those risks have the potential to become costly mistakes. Construction estimating using Excel spreadsheets and manual systems isn’t just an outdated process — it also has the potential to cost your firm tons of money.

That’s why it’s so important for construction firms to invest in a robust system for organizing and collecting their project data.

Why Construction Estimating Using Excel Is So Risky

The construction industry isn’t known for being quick-to-adopt new technology. While it’s certainly not the only industry that’s behind on tech adoption, it’s becoming more important than ever for firms to implement better ways of collecting project data and communicating that data.

There are a few risks that come with this “messy data” problem in the construction industry.

1. Relying on anecdotal data or memory leaves you open to mistakes.

Using manual data collection methods (like paper forms or Excel) to track all of your project information can cause a number of problems for stakeholders on the project, especially if you’re relying on the memory of team members to make decisions or to bid on a project.

Many construction firms have “struggled to identify and use hard data to baseline project (and project managers’) performance, rather than anecdotes about the difficulty of a project,” according to construction research by McKinsey.

“To truly transform on-site execution,” suggests McKinsey, “owners must implement change across all three aspects of a project: management systems, technical systems, and mind-sets.”

In other words, only relying on methods you’ve used before doesn’t give construction estimators enough hard data to deliver an accurate estimate.

2. Your competitors ARE advancing technologically.

More construction firms have recognized the risks that come with traditional methods of data collection.

They’re adopting construction technology to help streamline their processes and produce more accurate construction estimates. With successful implementation of construction bid technology, construction estimators are able to bid on construction projects more quickly.

Using construction estimating tools that integrate with project management systems (like ProEst) also means setting up a new project is more streamlined. “With a couple of clicks, we can go from estimate in ProEst to job setup in Viewpoint,” says Harry Frondorf, Cost Engineer with HGC Construction.

“On a large job, it used to take at least half a day to set up a project in our accounting system. Now, complete setup, including the estimate transfer, is done in less than an hour,” explains Frondorf.

3. Today’s workforce is more tech-savvy.

Commercial construction is on the rise, but the demand for new building projects hasn’t helped the construction industry’s labor shortage. There is a growing need for skilled construction workers.

Construction firms can help to secure the future of their business by investing in training for younger workers and using new technology throughout the company. The more tech-savvy Millennial generation expects digital, automated processes, especially in their workplace.

“To bridge the labor gap in the near future,” says Dianne Earl for Construction Pro, “the industry can implement technology on the jobsite that will empower workers, streamline processes and create a safer work environment.”

4. Communication breakdown on projects is killing the industry.

Using manual methods and systems (like Excel) only adds to project challenges, because you’re just having to track down more data. It means having to manage additional aspects of a project, which makes communication even harder for construction firms. For bigger commercial projects, this kind of risk can spell disaster.

“In our discussions,” write experts from McKinsey, “stakeholders voiced several challenges with on-site execution, including inconsistent use of best practices across all sites, projects, and staff, as well as difficulty finding and developing talented project managers.”

5. Going over-budget on projects eventually adds up.

Some construction firms are hemorrhaging money because they’re using the wrong data.

According to RSMeans, “only 31 percent of all projects came within 10 percent of their budgets. To top it off, 78 percent of engineering and construction companies believe project risks are rising. Suffice it to say, there is room for improvement.”

Solutions for Commercial Construction Success

By forgoing construction estimating using Excel and using the tools provided by ProEst, construction estimators can avoid these risks. Using an integrated software platform gives professionals all the resources they need to deliver accurate cost estimates more quickly:

  • Digital takeoffs so you don’t miss any details
  • Data integration for seamless and clear communication between team members
  • Sleek, professional reports that rely on hard data

There are many challenges that today’s commercial construction firms face, but investing in technology like ProEst can help you face those challenges with confidence (and deliver more accurate cost estimates).

Make the job easier on you and your team, and take a test drive of our innovative software today.

ProEst is a cloud-based pre-construction estimating platform that helps you create accurate estimates and digital takeoffs directly from blueprints quickly, allowing you to determine the most favorable rates for your company within the estimation process. There’s no guesswork involved. ProEst makes quality assurance in commercial construction projects estimation effortless. You won’t have to engage your entire team to be sure your numbers are accurate.

If you would like to learn more about how your commercial construction company can increase its profits and reduce miscalculations during the estimation process, reach out today and schedule a 1-on-1 walkthrough with one of our specialists!

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