How assemblies add value to your cost data
Although the concept of estimating the costs of a project is fairly straightforward, you’ll soon realize it can get rather complex when that estimate contains tens of thousands of cost items. What’s more, if you pull those items from a centralized database like CESK Data, you will have to find what you’re looking for in over one hundred thousand items. How’s that for finding a needle in a haystack?
Search and find: the database
Luckily, when designing and setting up the CESK Data knowledgebase, they thought of this search issue and made two kinds of structures to easily find what you’re looking for. The first, a horizontal structure, groups the cost data according to their parameters split into several levels. For example, you start looking in a certain discipline, then select the equipment category, type, size, material, et cetera, until you end up with just a handful of options to choose from.
The second kind of structure that was implemented in CESK, is a vertical assembly structure that groups together cost components that are part of the same item. For example, on the lowest level, there is the cost per hour for a welder and the cost of a 6” stainless steel pipe. Assembling those two together, with additional information added such as the time it takes to make one weld and the number of welds per meter of pipe, results in the total costs of a meter of pipe, welded and all. This in turn can be part of an even larger assembly, including isolation, scaffolding, painting, and so on.
Search and find: the estimate
A vertical assembly structure is just as valuable in an estimate as it is in a database. Not only are you better able to match the design structure of the project, but it is also easier to read, understand and control. Hiding the most detailed levels gives you a more general overview of the project without bothering with all the nuts and bolts.
It also saves a lot of time when looking for a particular item. Furthermore, it simplifies replacing items. When you replace an entire component, for example, the fully welded 6” pipe we mentioned earlier, with a 10” one, all components such as the time needed to perform a weld will be updated as well. Finally, using such an assembly structure in your estimate allows your colleagues that are looking at your estimate to better grasp how the estimate is built up.
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