I learned my trade from two excellent estimators, a series of N.E.C.A classes, and of course, the school of hard knocks. I was taught to measure the branch conduit. Everywhere I have worked, it was expected that the branch conduit would be measured. All this was on the west coast.
Soon after starting this company I begin getting work from the east coast. Imagine my surprise when I opened the plans and found that the branch was not engineered. No solid lines. No dashed lines. No hash marks to indicate how many wires. Just circuit numbers at the outlets.
At first I thought this was a fluke. Maybe it was just one lazy engineer. But that was not the case. Most of the projects I received from the east did not have engineered branch. At first, I drew the branch in, and then took it off. This got to be a very time consuming on larger projects.
While this was going on, I switched to the ConEst Intellibid estimating system. I soon found that the fixture and outlet assemblies included the branch conduit, and prompted for the average footage between outlets. Since ConEst was developed by an east coast estimator, I started to get the picture. Fortunately, I was able to find a mentor who taught me how to take branch off using the averaging method.
Being west coast trained, I am more comfortable with measuring. For my customers that prefer to save on estimating costs, I will use averaging, very carefully. Consider a project I recently estimated, a large furniture store. The main sales floor lighting consisted of about (50) 12’ tracks. If an estimator did not study the circuiting very closely, they could have missed the fact that each 12’ track was on a separate circuit with an average homerun close to 100’. Additionally, the specifications did not allow combining of circuits in homeruns. This could have been an estimating disaster.
So this leads to the argument. Many estimators believe strongly that the only safe way to take off branch is to measure it. Others argue with equal passion that measuring is a waste of time, time that could be used to get out more estimates per estimating dollar.
I am looking for comments on this topic. Please let me know how you feel about this argument.