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When your Estimator leaves – a plan of action

While every company perceives itself as an ideal workspace, filled with content staff members in perfect working conditions, very often the opposite is true. These environments may well be filled with underlying currents of office politics and personal tension leading to constant employee turnover. Such conditions can inevitably cause skilled employees to seek greener pastures, leaving the company backpedalling furiously to make up the shortfall. Experience shows that it’s always better to plan for such eventualities.

1. Setting a standard

The first step is to have a standardised blueprint for estimating. This allows new personnel to get up to speed on a company’s best practices in the minimum amount of time. With a standardised approach to business practices, no one is dependent on any specific individual or their knowledge base.

Implementing a standardised process lets a company leverage its best practices, minimising errors and creating consistency across estimates. This also allows for a repeatable process and, in turn, an accelerated workflow.

However, personnel and their training are only part of the solution. What about your tools, are they up to the task? Could your construction estimation software be a limiting factor?

2. Excel

Microsoft Excel is perceived to be the go-to estimation software for companies in the built environment. However, it does have a series of drawbacks that quickly suggest it shouldn’t be. While Excel is user-friendly, it doesn’t share information easily and its high level of customisability allows for a greater margin for error. Considering the sheer scale of the average estimation project, this is a worrying prospect.

Even when working as a team, tracking changes through Excel becomes a serious issue. Imagine the problems caused by the deletion of one formula. If a fault of this nature isn’t caught early on, the discrepancies caused could wreak havoc. Then there’s the issue of silo knowledge, where different pools of information are used by different people on the same job.  As with unchecked errors, it won’t be long before problems arise.

One solution is to look to the cloud. Candy Cloud allows for an ‘information anywhere’ level of usability. Put simply: wherever you are, so is your data, in real-time. This greatly reduces mistakes while ensuring everyone always works within the same knowledge pool and templates. As a result, the additional oversight created means that someone will almost always see a discrepancy before it becomes a problem.

3. Developing a database

Developing a central-cost database, comprising common assemblies, best practices and trusted formulas, is a reliable way of creating a standardised estimation backbone. Having a backlog of previous projects enables you to greatly reduce errors. Implementing a cost catalogue will also help less-experienced estimators avoid the exclusion of relevant amounts on an estimation, eliminating reliance on more experienced estimators as a constant source of information and support. Again,  Candy includes many of these features as standard, freeing you up to focus on the project at hand.

4. Teamwork

Essentially, the easiest way to avoid major upheavals when staff leave is to take a team-based approach. By pooling all your talent and knowledge, you reduce your company’s reliance on an individual and their unique expertise, while simultaneously training up less knowledgeable members of the company. With everyone learning from each other, a team’s effectiveness also improves, thus producing better structured and more attractive tenders.

With over thirty years’ experience in construction estimation, RIB CCS can help you find the ideal solution to optimise your company’s performance.

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