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How Technology Improves Accuracy in Home Construction Estimation

Like most estimates, costing a home construction project surfaces expenses you never saw coming. No more rude shocks if you’re in the middle of one, so let’s get straight to the point!

Technology for Home Construction

Homeowners could always be caught off guard with the real value of their properties. As years march on, a multitude of real estate factors affect its list price—but clearer answers lie in the construction of the property before it first went on the market.

How do you know if your home has been priced fairly? What components influence the estimation process? How does technology help add up an accurate budget?

Home construction projects are a delicate inter-mingling of owner desires and engineering possibilities. While every owner wants a comfortable and decently equipped living space, not all have the budget to justify initial expectations. Moreover, not every home builder comes with requisite resources and equipment to lay out a project to meet a buyer’s expected move-in date. Not so long ago, construction estimators would cost projects after a series of deliberations with the architects, putting down costs against each section of the drawings plan before arriving at an estimate.

In the present-day’s seller’s market, deals move faster than ever with buyers largely pinning their faith on real estate brokers to work out a reasonable deal.

If you’re buying a house or getting one built, technology has an easier way.

Construction Estimating Software Is Your Unbiased Calculator

Home construction estimation has been entrapped by over-extended manual procedures. Contractors have grown to rely on paper-based estimations as floor plans tend to change during the construction process. This has proven to be inefficient as multiple stakeholders involving the architect, contractors, sub-contractors and the owner can get easily misguided by multiple drawings—failing the consensus required to move the project forward.

Estimating software purges you of such inefficiencies by helping everyone collaborate on a digital platform that consolidates real-time data. It eliminates arbitrary bidding and loopholes available for any party to unfairly leverage the estimation process. Many software come free of charge but the more comprehensively loaded ones with greater chances of success come at a cost and your contractor will know which one suits best for your project needs.

GPS Facilitates Accuracy in Costing House Construction Tasks

A project estimate not only shows the house’s build cost but more significantly documents the building process itself. Procore technologies lead this thought by providing a complete perspective of how the actual building process is represented in an estimate.

Global positioning systems (GPS) introduced in pre-construction stages are enabling fairer estimations. GPS devices help contractors grade a site with appropriately excavated foundations, lifting a major concern off their heads to ensure site prep accuracy. Moreover, GPS technology has knock-on effects on other site work, helping workers accurately survey site areas before they’re turned into full-fledged floor plan sections. By having precise measurements and grade work fed into the estimating software, estimators don’t need to second guess their costing.

In an industry mired with low productivity instances, integrating such devices in the early stages will prevent snags as the project progresses—with many of them relating to inaccurate estimates and reworks for sub-par quality of work.

Business Information Modelling Benefits Residential Construction Estimating

BIM has become the new project management benchmark for a majority of construction businesses. It helps them edge out their lesser savvy rivals in planning a project’s phases from design to closeout.

Enabling rich data-gathering attributes, BIM supports project managers in discerning material cost and type, its performance grade, and logistical support needed to help contractors plan out build work. Several contractors rely on receiving up-to-date project information—BIM takes it a step further by helping users visually represent site conditions. Through real-time images, construction managers can gain a first-hand perspective of contractor concerns and rectify design-level inaccuracies if needed, so that field workers can utilize appropriate judgment in carrying out tasks.

When formulating estimates for residential construction, certain key elements to be accounted for in the contract include:

  • Landscaping costs
  • Grading costs
  • Type of house (detached, townhome, semi-detached home, duplex)
  • Utility connection costs
  • Driveway costs
  • Contractor costs
  • Plumbing, electrical, and structural work
  • Home liability insurance costs

Not only does BIM aid a macro-level strategic outlook, it extends all the way through from surveying to project maintenance, automating project lifecycles. It ensures everyone stays on task with architects or designers updating design specs as needed, project managers conveying owner concerns where applicable, and contractors and subs providing bottom-up information when necessary. When all parties are aligned, estimators benefit from reduced errors and change orders tending to prolong project timelines. When discrepancies get caught after construction commences, it’s highly expensive to replace contractors through new bidding rounds, and have past work rectified with revised timelines affecting client bottom lines.

While BIM improves accuracy, it only works as efficiently as its operators do. The entire system bases its projections and insights on the information embedded by project owner teams. If primary information defaults, cost estimators face the risk of mis-quantifying items from the takeoff sheet which ends up misrepresenting the final estimate. Alongside keying in the right information, project teams should ensure they’ve placed filters and verifications to critical BIM features, so that relevant people access relevant data without losing time.

Mobile Technology Has Changed Home Construction Estimation

It’d be a rare case to see a construction worker without a smartphone. Mobile apps allow construction teams to upload project drawings, contractual documents, addendums, and ongoing project files that expedite problem solving. Site superintendents can walk through site activities on a smart device that supports easily usable CAD files, allowing quick communication among parties and eliminating the need for arbitrary in-person meets for everyday challenges.

Having sped up cross-functional information sharing, mobile technology has synchronized estimating too. Estimators can draw and verify their pricing from updated project documents. In home construction, a finished cost of a home is higher than the original bid price. Such an outcome is avoidable with homeowners getting a realistic view of expenses should they desire higher-end flooring, landscaping, wall finishing, and décor work. If you’re budgeting for new house construction, understanding how to pick the right plot is a strong start.

Through a controlled approach to phasing out your home construction, you’ll avoid chances of fielding change orders to contractors, which does nothing but add your costs and extends your move-in date. An experienced builder will quantify each phase through the efficiencies afforded by mobile-optimized construction software so that you don’t get overcharged for services you didn’t exactly agree on.

Closing Thoughts

Formulating estimates isn’t an exact science. Despite technology improving accuracy, estimates are vulnerable to human and mechanical glitches. This makes accuracy relative to base-level data entered by project teams thus rendering the estimation process as competent as them.

Home construction estimation is a tricky path, especially because they come with build restrictions that trickle down to the community the buyer chooses to reside in. Experienced contractors will take stock of the socio-economic factors affecting a project before bringing in build-specific costs into the final estimate. They would need to be rigorous and thorough in their estimations since if they go awry, they can quickly lose credibility among local customers, potentially even excluded from consideration from entire neighbourhoods. Onboarding professional estimators is another idea to provide detailed and speedy turnarounds by effectively managing data.

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