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National Construction Estimator


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2008 Merit Award Winner

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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 12/3/2007


I stumbled on to a gold mine for easy initial budgeting.  I recently ordered the book 2007 National Construction Estimator and it happen to come with a DVD that includes all the info in the book and the software to do the estimating... it's all point and click by using mostly square footage and linear feet to estimate the different components of construction.    It took me about 8 hours estimating all the different components of the construction using the software. In setting up the software it asks for you zip code so it can adjust the national average to fit your particular building location.  I now feel like I have a solid base to work from when going out to get actual bids from subcontractors.   I at least know what it should cost (or at least reasonably close).

Pat

 


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By Lisa in Fredericksburg, VA on 12/6/2007


Where did you get it?
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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 12/6/2007


I ordered the book on-line through Amazon.  The book has a disk inside that has the software on it.

Just go on to Amazon and search under books for "2007 National Construction Estimator".


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By Barbara in Gladstone, OR on 12/10/2007


Pat,

I'm curious if you have compared your estimate to the one available at building-cost.net and how close it comes?

Thanks!


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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 12/10/2007


Yes I did compare the two.  Building-cost came up with $273,000 and the National Constructon Estimator came up with $334,000.  Thats a huge $61,000 difference.  I thought the $273K seemed  low and that's why I sought a more detailed estimating software.  So, instead of $180 a sq foot I'm now coming in at $230 sq foot which seems much more in line for the California area.   
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By Barbara in Gladstone, OR on 12/11/2007


Hi Pat,

Thanks for the response.  I noticed on another thread you are building with SIPs and timber frame, do you feel that contributes to the additional cost to build? Could that be part of the reason why the building-cost.net site was not accurate for your build? 

So far the Building-cost.net site seems to be in line with our research for our area (Oregon) for standard stick-built,  but we are afraid to rely on it too much.  I will be glad when our plans are complete and we can get actual bids.


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By Pat in Arnold, CA on 12/11/2007


I wasn't comparing apples to apples in either software since neither supported timberframe/SIP costing.  The National Estimator just was in such detail that I knew where I could omit product that would be covered by the timberframe or SIPs.  If anything the bulding-cost should have been higher since you can't manipulate certain line items not to be included.  It's a lot like comparing a notebook writing software you get free on a computer to the full blown version of Microsoft Word.  They both do the same thing but one is much more powerful and includes a lot of details.


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By Guy in San Luis Obispo, CA on 12/16/2007


Our local library had a copy of National Estimator so I was able to get it for free.  Unfortunately, the software seems geared towards big construction firms and is a bear to learn.  Sounds like you have a lot of experience with spreadsheets or other similar software which is a big plus.  Good luck on your build and please keep posting links to websites you find.

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By Guy in San Luis Obispo, CA on 12/30/2007


I checked out the calculator at building-cost.net for our home in Hawaii.  It was amazingly close to what we have been told to expect, but I'm sure I will need to do a more thorough analysis since neither that nor the National Construction Estimator allows for alternative construction methods.  Our approach is going to now be one of set budget first and then determine what we can build within that budget.  Looking at 2,000 sf home on a $300K budget.  However, allowing $100K for site work leaves $100/sf for the building.  We'll see what we can do with that.  One way I propose to save is to use all the rocks on the property to build gabion retaining walls with.  That's basically building metal wire cages filled with the rocks we have tons of on the lot to act as retaining walls for the driveway up to the garage.  It solves both how to get rid of those rocks and how to build retaining walls inexpensively!  Hope it works.

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