Need to update estimating methods

TULSA, OKLA. I have been trying to locate Ottaviano's estimating books for several years but cannot locate updated versions. Where is Kent Craig's source for current books? The latest book that I have was published in approximately 1980, and I really would like to review a more current publication. Also, could Kent comment on the Estimation estimating system vs. Quick-Pen vs. anything else out there?

TULSA, OKLA. — I have been trying to locate Ottaviano's estimating books for several years but cannot locate updated versions. Where is Kent Craig's source for current books? The latest book that I have was published in approximately 1980, and I really would like to review a more current publication.

Also, could Kent comment on the Estimation estimating system vs. Quick-Pen vs. anything else out there? We are still using the "old-fashioned" method of take-off, listing and pricing, and we would like to improve our processes very soon. Years ago, we used the Greggway System, but this was a short-lived experience.

Any help or advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

BILL RUSSELL
STREAMSIDE MECHANICAL SERVICES

H. Kent Craig replies: Unforunately, I don't have a source for current Ottaviano books; the newest one I have is also from about 1980, and I had to look a long time on eBay to even find that one. For sheet metal jobs in particular, I still feel that the labor units and tables given by Ottaviano are very accurate even in today's business climate, and I do frequently use them in my own estimates.

Back in 1999, I had a column published on computerized estimating systems and the information there is still very useful. The URL for it on CONTRACTOR's Website is http://www.contractormag.com/articles/column.cfm?columnid=122.

Regarding QuickPen vs. Estimation, I've used both extensively in the past. The one thing I want to plug is TRAINING! Please do not consider buying a QuickPen or Estimation system unless you have the money and are prepared to send your estimator or whoever will be using it to the respective system course school.

Yes, it will cost you money, but you're going to pay for training one way or the other, either by sending him to school or having him trudge around, be highly inefficient and learn by screwing up for a month. So, sending him to a training class is far cheaper for the company, and then when he gets back he can hit the ground running.