From a design standpoint, I often will preliminarily calc a system using Revit/AutoSprinkRVT & HydraCAD for Revit all during a bid. That in conjunction with some custom Excel spreadsheets and Drawboard PDF for markups and notes.
I personally do all my bidding and take off in Autosprink. It’s relatively quick I can layout a generic system them run a calc to get a fairly accurate estimate.
If I am doing takeoffs for sales, I'll use AutoSprink as much as possible (pumps, standpipes, sizing calcs...)
For a more general open warehouse type (mostly typical layouts) I have tool sets in BlueBeam that count how many symbols I drop onto a page or length of pipe drawn and just leave notes on the PDF as to number of BL, rough routing of main, and a typical sprinkler layout for a single BL.
Decades ago, with only rudimentary computer/calculators in existence, the sprinkler company I worked for spent years developing a very detailed and accurate method of estimating, incorporating many, many variables, and proven by empirical data. A lot of effort went into this hand-calculation method, and it was accurate. With the cross-pollination in the industry regionally, over the years it was interesting to find versions of this method of estimating having migrated to other local sprinkler contractors, sometimes in a more simplified form, eventually on an Excel spreadsheets, but unmistakable where it originated from. On the other end of the spectrum, I had one estimator who would square foot an estimate, and in 20 minutes would have a number comparable with competitive numbers (If he didn’t miss a floor). For rough budgeting, I use RS Means. One of the two simplest, but best industry lessons I learned (and they both came from the same boss) was “it’s all in the scope of work.” For pumps, I get pricing from one of the two pump suppliers I have established relationships with. Anyway, here I am an older dog in the industry, and am fascinated how Autosprink, despite drawings that are difficult to install from and lacking a lot of installation data that fitters used to benefit from, has risen to be a go-to program, even for estimating. So this thread is an interesting read.
Lee - what was the other lesson?!
Haha - It's been a while, but it was along the lines of, "It's all perception." Meaning, what a customer perceives, is pretty much the truth to them, so respect that. (Kind of a Dale Carnegie thing.)
And somewhere I picked up #3, it's all in the relationships.
Great topic as I'm always curious what others use for estimating. I use a combination of HydraBid and HydraCalc & a customized Excel spreadsheet that was passed down to me many years ago (probably a descendent of what Lee described above).
I use Hydra ad software, historical times for installation and current material prices.
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