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Get the Most out of RSMeans Data: Electrical Edition


Accurate estimates during the planning process decrease the likelihood of cost overruns, ultimately saving both time and money down the line. With RSMeans data being the ultimate tool in achieving that accurate estimate, we want you to experience our product at its maximum potential.

In this week’s tip series, we explore best practices and important details to take into consideration when estimating your next electrical project.

To start, conduit should be taken off in three main categories: power distribution, branch power and branch lighting. This allows the estimator to concentrate on systems and components, making it easier to ensure all items have been accounted for.

During cost modifications for elevated conduit installation, add the percentages to labor according to the height of installation – do this only to the quantities exceeding the different height levels, not to the total conduit quantities.

It’s important to remember that aluminum wiring of equal ampacity is larger in diameter than copper and may require larger conduit.

In the case of more than three wires at a time are being pulled, deduct percentages from the labor hours of that grouping of wires.

The estimator should take into consideration the weights of materials when completing a takeoff. Topics to consider include: How will the materials be supported? What methods of support are available? How high will the support structure have to reach? Will the final support structure be able to withstand the total burden? Is the support material included or separate from the fixture, equipment and material specified?

Be sure to not overlook the costs for equipment used in the installation.

When taking off cathodic protections systems, identify the type and size of cable and list each unique type of anode connection.

Lastly, lighting fixtures should be taken off room by room using the fixture schedule, specifications and the ceiling plan. In the case of large concentrations of lighting fixtures in the same area, deduct the percentages from labor hours.

For more information on to best use RSMeans data, RSMeans seminars and trainings are a great resource. See a full listing of seminars and find one in a location near you.