Electrical Installation Estimating and its importance



Before the installation of electrical installation at any specific place, an assessment of necessary electrical appliances, equipment, and the cost expected to be incurred on them, is known as estimating. In other words, before the starting of any electrical project at any place, assessment of the total cost of appliances, apparatus, equipment, etc., to be used in the project, and all costs going to be incurred till the completion of the project, is known as estimating. Remember that estimating depends on experience and extensive study. 

The expected, probable or likely costs of any project, which are normally determined before the start of any project, is known as an estimate. Estimation is in fact an art for the assessment of the number of different items and their costs, wherein total costs expected to be incurred from the initiation of a project till its finalization, are determined. In other words, estimating is an art, wherein we can assess the costs going to be incurred on appliances, materials, and investment in any electrical installation, and the time required for the completion of the project. 

By estimating material costs, and time required for the completion of a project, we can get help regarding brokering a contract with any firm and in making a correct and distinct decision. However, this prepared report regarding estimating does not mean at all that the firm has issued tender in your favor, or that the contract has been awarded to you. The estimating task within different parts of the estimating program is so lively and coordinated that it becomes difficult to encompass it. However, the role of estimates can be elucidated to a great extent with the help of the following four topics; 

(1). The quantity of material and the costs expected to be incurred on it

(2). Analysis of prices

(3). Preparing a reasonable record, it’s looking after, and it’s rectification 

(4). Finalizing a comprehensive project report

During the estimation of interior wiring, an estimator must have knowledge about the following points regarding this estimate;

(i). Complete detail of an installation scheme, type of wiring to be undertaken, and the type and quality of material being used in it

(ii). A complete schedule of wiring along with switches and fittings

(iii). Complete detail of all wiring plans and sections, especially main switchgear and distribution boards

(iv). Other factors and information regarding estimate’s costs e.g., premises condition and construction, the distance of workplace from the main office, the time required for the completion of a project, type of required labor and craftsmen, seasonal conditions, etc.

Before the acceptance or presentation of a tender, or before deciding the terms and conditions of the contract, it is necessary that an estimate of the total cost expected to be incurred from the start till the finalization of the project may be prepared. Every committee or organization, whether it is of medium size, has a separate estimating department. The person who prepares estimates is known as an estimator. 

It has to be inculcated in mind that the basis of acquiring a contract from a firm depends on the estimate or estimator’s work. To get a contract from a firm and to avoid losses, it is necessary that correct estimates may be prepared as far as possible. If project costs have been finalized on the basis of simple guesswork, then there exists a risk of non–award of contract as a result of presenting potentially high prices of different items or presenting too low prices of items may lead to heavy losses instead of reaping profits.   

The electrical estimation depends on proclaimed expertise of an estimator. Only an educated, expert and skillful person can prepare a successful and economically viable estimate. A person who prepares estimates should have a complete idea about the material being used in the project, and their present prices. Thus, a good estimator should have the following qualities or merits;  

(1). An estimator must have full knowledge and practical experience in estimation

(2). An estimator should visit his started project on the basis of his estimates off and on.

(3). An estimator should have updated knowledge about the latest market prices of different items being used in the project. For this purpose, he should prepare and keep lists about variations in the prices of materials and items, etc., in his office.

(4). An estimator should tend to prepare an estimate  

(5). A good estimator should have the quality of being proficient, opportunist, and skillful about his presented project.   

(6). An estimator should be fully confident about the accuracy of data and layouts relating to his project. 

Importance of Estimating

The importance of estimating can be understood from the fact that working on any electrical project without it is as difficult as thinking about starting some project without any capital or sources, or electrical installation without any electrical appliances or equipment. The importance of electrical estimating cannot be denied, because it is a milestone in the electrical contracting system. As an electrical project can be finalized only through estimating costs related to electrical installation on equipment, components, apparatus, costs on electrical installation, labor charges, material costs, transport charges, and similar hidden and unhidden costs, therefore the significance of estimating cannot be denied from.

The electrical load of a building, estimating of which has to be carried out, can also be assessed by estimating, what will be the size and power rating of the cable according to the load to be used in this premises, how many lights (tube lights and bulbs, etc.) will have to be needed in every room, how many fans, and how many outlet points will have to be required. For an accurate estimate, the costs of all such necessities are assessed, to arrive at the total costs of the project. It means that accurate planning is a must for accurate estimating purposes, following which estimate of total costs is assessed keeping in consideration the required apparatus, components, equipment, etc. A successful accomplishment of any business objective depends on estimating, therefore carried-out estimate should be correct and comprehensive in all respects. 

A correct estimation of the total costs expected to be incurred on all engineering works is absolutely essential, because if the deposited sum is less than the sum required for the completion of any project, then the project has to be limited or downsized. Similarly, if a project is started without properly estimating its costs, it is possible that the project remains incomplete or halted midway due to the lack of resources or funds. Thus, one can well understand the importance of estimating for undertaking any project.

Some of the electrical projects turn out to be such that a firm or organization cannot undertake them themselves due to certain reasons. 

For example, government organizations, where all work is accomplished through contractors. In this situation, such works are entrusted to other suitable local firms through tenders. Total costs expected to be incurred on this project are estimated in the tender. During making an estimate, costs may change as a result of skipping certain items or subsequent changes in the project design, etc. Moreover, total costs to be incurred till the completion of a project may also increase owing to changes in the costs of related items, due to which the project may turn out to be costly, thus a modification in the estimate may result. For preparing a complete and accurate estimate, measurement must be carried out extremely carefully, and even the smallest of things should be included in the estimate. Moreover, rates of different items should be reasonable and all costs on the completion of this project e.g., material costs, equipment, and instruments costs, transport charges, labor costs, supervision costs, tax, and contractor’s due profit, etc. should be included in the estimate. 

Alternative Explanation of the Importance of an Estimating

Before starting any electrical project, it is essential to estimate the costs of this project. It reflects project requirements concerning funds, materials and labor, etc. (i.e., through preparing an 

estimate, one can become definite about the amount required for a project, material availability, labor, etc.). A project cannot be accomplished without hurdles in the absence of a viable beforehand estimate, because a continuation of work may become difficult due to paucity of funds or non-availability of materials during the process of a project. This signifies the importance of estimating. Normally, advantages which are availed as a result of making an estimate, and on the basis of which, its importance can be signified, are as follows;

(1). Provision of Notes and Records

(2). Estimated Quotations and Costs

(3). Analysis of Project

(4). Providing Selling Aids

Provision of Notes and Records

The first task to be carried out regarding an estimate is the preparation of notes about the project, wherein entire details about the project are available. These notes are then put into safe custody for future reference or record. Records and details about the plan are also needed for the verification of an estimate and for acquiring the services of a consultant. All such information is very important for the purchase or acquisition of materials and other necessities of the project. Moreover, to find out labor costs, and to analyze the entire project, it is very necessary to have a complete record of the building proposed to be constructed. All such information can be accessed only by making an estimate. If work is started without any kind of estimate, hurdles may be faced in the continuation of work in the future due to the non – availability of records and notes. The consultant will also remain unsatisfied, verification of estimate will not be possible, and mistakes and omissions will occur in the purchase of material. Moreover, apart from labor costs, it will also be difficult to analyze a whole project. Therefore, the importance of preparing an estimate is pretty obvious and admitted. 

Estimated Quantities & Costs

During the estimation process, a careful assessment of the requirements of a project, as well as their costs, are determined. By doing so, necessary details about the project become clear. These important details obtained as a result of an estimate, are as follows;

(i). Material & Labor

(a). Material, quantities of material, prices, and division of these quantities and quantities in different installation departments.

(b). Labor, direct labor costs, and division of labor costs for various installation departments.

(ii). Direct Job Expenses

Material services, the material provided by contractors, and material provided by others.

(iii). General Overhead & Administrative Costs

(a). For material services

(b). For labor supply & its management

As a result of starting work without any kind of estimate, the aforementioned information remains obscure, and as such obstacles are witnessed in the implementation of the project. This reflects the importance of estimating a project. 

Analysis of the Project

An analysis of a project can be conducted through the costs incurred on material, direct costs on labor, and direct costs being incurred on the project. Every contractor must have an idea about the prospective profits or losses before the start of any project. Thus, an estimation of any project is absolutely important for conducting its analysis. Thus, a clear concept of the contracting firm develops regarding the project, as a consequence of which, a contractor firm can easily decide whether to seek a contract or not to get a contract. This also signifies the importance of an estimate for any project.  

Providing Selling Aids

For all building projects (e.g., flats, markets, plazas, etc.) which have to be sold out after their completion, a correct estimate also helps in their sale. It is generally assumed that estimate prepared by an investor of the project or contracting firm has nothing to do with the acceptability of the project or its failure. Though, it is not so. It becomes evident from studies that an appropriately designed estimate helps in the sale of the project at different levels. A carefully prepared estimate reflects the actual costs which can be demanded by a contractor at the time of auction. As such, an accurate estimate facilitates in the sale of an entire project, or some parts of any project (i.e., through an estimate one can have an idea about the completion costs of any project, and for how much amount it can be sold with profit).

If a contractor or contracting firm is provided an opportunity to establish dealing with buyers (i.e., they are given a right to sell the project by themselves) then in such a situation, the basic weapon used by a contractor or a contracting firm to sign a contract (i.e., accept a contract), tends to be an estimate. However, an estimate should be neat and clean, clear, logical, and properly divided into several parts, and the costs of every part of the project should have been reflected according to an appropriate proportion. Remember that besides a seller, a good estimate also infuses confidence in a purchaser’s mind (i.e., both seller as well as buyers remain contented as a result of an accurate estimate and trust each other). All this discussion indicates how important it is to prepare an estimate of any project. 

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Engr Fahad

My name is Shahzada Fahad and I am an Electrical Engineer. I have been doing Job in UAE as a site engineer in an Electrical Construction Company. Currently, I am running my own YouTube channel "Electronic Clinic", and managing this Website. My Hobbies are * Watching Movies * Music * Martial Arts * Photography * Travelling * Make Sketches and so on...

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