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Construction Estimate Mistakes You Can Avoid by Using Mobile Apps


Here are some helpful reminders when estimating jobs from a recent article from Canvas. Canvas is a cloud-based software service that enables businesses to replace expensive and inefficient paper forms with powerful apps on their smartphones and tablets. It enables users to collect information using mobile devices, share that information and easily integrate with existing backend systems.

Estimating the cost of a construction project is one of the most important, and challenging, parts of a job.  Estimates involve a number of variables and aren’t easy to calculate. The process can be complicated and time-consuming.

However, taking the time to prepare a thorough and accurate estimate is critical. An estimate that is too high will make your bid less competitive, while estimating too low can take a toll on your profits and the growth of your business.

What are some of the most common mistakes in estimating, and how you can prevent them?

  1. Failure to visit the project site. This may seem obvious, but this step is often overlooked by contractors who are either inexperienced or overly confident and assume that a particular job is cut-and-dried. However, visiting the proposed job site is crucial because it lets you check things that might not be obvious on paper, such as:
    • Topography, and whether grading or drainage is an issue
    • Whether existing structures have to be demolished or removed from the premises
    • Proximity to supply centers and sources of labor
    • Access to the site, and whether the roads/access routes can handle heavy vehicle traffic

    These are just some of the issues that may not come to light unless you visit the project site before preparing your estimate.

  2. Overlooking less-obvious costs. “Soft costs” like permits and inspection fees are frequently left out of estimates, and these can add up to thousands of dollars. There are also less-obvious costs like temporary power, dumpsters, and site prep. Even forgetting to add tax to your materials estimate can cost you plenty.
    Your best bet to avoid commonly overlooked costs is a good checklist and detailed plans and specifications. These are available as paper forms, but mobile apps make estimating more accurate and efficient. Some mobile job estimators, for instance, will do the math for you, so you don’t have to tally countless rows of services and materials — and risk leaving off something important. And unlike complicated software packages that you have to purchase and install on your computer, apps are much less expensive and easier to get up and running, and ideal for reluctant and savvy technology users alike.
  3. Job site surprises. Even if you visit the project site beforehand, some surprises are bound to crop up. Sometimes water or insect damage or structural issues aren’t apparent until you’ve started the job.
    While there’s no way to totally avoid these unwelcome surprises, your estimate should include both the probable scope of work as well as a reasonable pricing structure for the unknown portions — for example: X dollars for each linear foot of floor joist that needs replacement, or X dollars to install a sump pump if conditions require one. The idea is to list specific prices for specific conditions rather than having an open-ended time-and-materials contract.
  4. Underestimating labor costs. Labor is one of the most difficult costs to estimate. For one thing, you need to consider not only how many hours and workers the job requires, but also the workers’ experience and whether subcontractors will be needed. And, since hourly rates for construction workers vary throughout the country, you’ll need to verify current wage rates and fringe benefits for the building trades involved through local union offices, other contractors, supply yards, and other reliable sources. Don’t forget to include possible overtime rates.
  5. Not checking your numbers. Even if you’re sure you’ve got the right rates, measurements, taxes, etc., you should check and double-check your numbers before submitting your estimate. Common mistakes in this area include:
    • Math errors. Again, mobile apps can lower your risk of making a mistake. At the very least, use a calculator or have the calculations checked by another person.
    • Measurement errors. Taking the wrong measurements and dimensions from plans, drawings, and specs results in corresponding mistakes in the cost of materials. Consider using an app to calculate measurements, and have another person check your work.
    • Using incorrect units of measure (for example, square feet instead of square yards) can result in substantial cost increases or decreases.

For more info that can help you save time and improve safety on your next construction job, check out Canvas.


Article source: Jason Good 

A Look at Schweiss Aviation Hangar Doors

I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a ride in a custom bi-plane during the National Biplane Fly-in at Freeman Field, 3JC in Junction City, KS.  A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two main wings stacked one above the other. The first aircraft to fly, the Wright Flyer, used a biplane design, as did most aircraft in the early years of aviation. Here is a shot of the view. There were hundreds of planes from all over the country that flew their biplanes in for the day.




snoopy plane

With 35 years experience, Schweiss hydraulic doors are sold nationwide and abroad. Key markets are agriculture, aviation, commercial, industrial and residential designer. Schweiss Doors has recently been chosen to provide decorative residential hangar doors to homes in a new Idaho neighborhood compromised of 44 spacious lots. The development set between Schweitzer Ski Mountains and Lake Pend Oreille, offers a rare opportunity in aviation real estate perfect for the bi-plane owner!

  • The Schweiss design uses large cylinders with spherical bearings on both ends of the cylinder allowing it to stay straight through its full range of motion.
  • Efficient, safe and powerful pumps designed to lift any size door. Built with reliability that gives you with low maintenance costs Schweiss saves you  money, long term.
  • Schweiss hydraulic doors offer three other backup systems.  Standard Hydraulic tractor fittings, drill-driven backup using a 7/16” hex head, or you can still close your large or small hydraulic door with just a turn of a screw on the hydraulic pump unit
  • Superior engineering by experienced craftsmen. Schweiss door frames have factory pre-located, extra heavy hinges to ensure proper alignment and performance.
  • schweiss hydraulic1

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Garage Door Opener iPhone App Features

iphoneHere is the rundown about the iPhone garage door app and it’s top features. We keep our cellphones with us most of the time and having a garage door opener remote is a security risk these days. All a criminal needs is to access your driver side visor and they’re practically in. You can go for a run and simply strap your phone into your arm band holder. You can even open it remotely for a trusted neighbor if they are watching your home while you are gone for the weekend.

1. Open and Close Your Garage Door

I bet you saw this one coming… sort of obvious I know, but having an app on your phone would let you get in and out of the garage whenever you please.

Having the opener ability on your phone will also let you take the remote out of your car permanently.

2. Be Alerted When The Door Opens

Okay so you’re on vacation (a really awesome one, let’s say China) and your garage door opens. You find it weird that your door is being used, well, because no one is supposed to be home… “Houston, we have a problem.” Good info to have, eh?

If the garage is used as an entrance, this would also let you know when your spouse or kids gets home from a late night, which is pretty cool. Especially for all of the paranoid parents out there, (rightfully so, kids these days…), to know when your kids get home from a night of “partying” is good information to have.

3. Receive Alerts If You Forget To Close The Door

This one is both surprising and really useful. The app will use GPS and signal If you get a few blocks from the house and the door is still open. How many times have you driven a couple minutes down the road and turn to your spouse and say “Hunny, did you close the garage?” Well, now those conversations, that almost always lead to classic marital arguments, are completely avoidable. Now that you know the garage door is always closed when leaving the house, that only leaves the oven, stove, iron, fireplace, and…well, I suppose a rather lengthy list still remains.

4. Check To See If The Garage Door Is In The Open or Closed Position From Anywhere

Have you ever gotten snuggled into bed, and you’re really comfortable (I mean REALLY comfortable), and then thought, “Shoot, did I close the garage door?” At this point you really don’t want to get out of your bed which has finally reached the perfect temperature after tossing and turning for the past 20 minutes. Wouldn’t it be nice just to reach over and check your iPhone which is right on the night table? I think we can all relate to that one.

5. You Can Now Open & Close The Garage Door From Anywhere

Your kid calls and he’s locked out of the house. Assuming you genuinely like your child and want him to get in the house, all you have to do is open the app… and voila! You no longer have to leave work and open the door for him/her or need to leave a house key with a neighbor. More importantly and all kidding aside, entry in an emergency situation is easily granted no matter where you are… even China (I just really like China, okay?).

6. Hardware option: Webcam

Now that you can essentially open/close your door from anywhere, check the status of your door, and be alerted when you leave the door open (I think you’re being spoiled, but I’ll continue), you can see who or what is outside your garage door. It allows you to check and make sure the cat is not under the garage door when you close it from who knows where. It would also be nice to get a wave from the kids when they get home from school along with the alert.

If you have an iPhone, why not try it out and see if it’s worth it to you and your family!


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