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  • How to Estimate with


  • How to Estimate with


    Basic Skills for Building Construction

    Fourth Edition

    RSMeans andSaleh A. Mubarak, Ph.D.

    Barbara Balboni, Technical Editor

    RSMeans John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

  • This book is printed on acid-free paper.Copyright 2012 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. All rights reserved.Published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.Published simultaneously in Canada.

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    Limit of Liability/Disclaimer of Warranty: While the publisher and author have used theirbest efforts in preparing this book, they make no representations or warranties withrespect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents of this book and specificallydisclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.No warranty may be created or extended by sales representatives or written salesmaterials. The advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for yoursituation. You should consult with a professional where appropriate. Neither the publishernor author shall be liable for any loss of profit or any other commercial damages, includingbut not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. Neither thepublisher nor the author shall be liable for damages arising herefrom.

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    Wiley publishes in a variety of print and electronic formats and by print-on-demand. Somematerial included with standard print versions of this book may not be included in e-booksor in print-on-demand. If this book refers to media such as a CD or DVD that is notincluded in the version you purchased, you may download this material at For more information about Wiley products,

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:

    How to estimate with RSMeans data: Basic Skills for Building Construction /Saleh A. Mubarak and RS Means.4th ed.

    p. cm.Includes bibliographical references and indexes.Title of previous eds.: How to estimate with Means data & CostWorks, published

    by R.S. Means Co.ISBN 978-1-118-02528-4 (pbk.); ISBN 978-1-118-17615-3 (ebk); ISBN

    978-1-118-17616-0 (ebk); ISBN 978-1-118-18338-0 (ebk); ISBN 978-1-118-18339-7(ebk); ISBN 978-1-118-18340-3 (ebk)1. BuildingEstimates. I. Mubarak, Saleh A. (Saleh Altayeb) II. R.S. Means Company.TH435.H88697 2012692.5dc23


    Printed in the United States of America

    10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1


  • Contents

    Acknowledgments ix

    Introduction xi

    Using RSMeans CostWorks InstructionalVersion CD-ROM xv

    A Cautionary Note: Numerical Roundingand Mathematical Judgment xxi

    Chapter 1: Basic Calculations 1RSMeans Cost Data Format 1Productivity and Activity Duration 6Equipment Costs 9City Cost Indexes and Location Factors 10

    Chapter 2: Spreadsheet Types 13Manual Spreadsheets 13Electronic Spreadsheets 14Using RSMeans CostWorks 17Additional RSMeans CostWorks Features 19Square Foot and Cubic Foot Costs 19

    Chapter 3: Cost Estimating: An Introduction 23Introduction 23Definitions 24Types and Purposes of Estimates 26Types of Contract Award Methods 36Types of Contract Agreements 39


  • Contents

    Chapter 4: General Requirements 51Estimating General Requirements 51Project Duration 51Architectural and Engineering Fees 54Workers Compensation Insurance 56Builders Risk Insurance 58Sales Tax 58

    Chapter 5: Adjusting RSMeans Data to Job Conditions 63Markups on Labor Cost 63Interpolation between RSMeans Items 65Substituting Known Local Labor Rates 68Overtime Productivity Loss and Extra Pay 69Effect of Inflation/Cost Escalation 71Unit Consistency 74RSMeans CostWorks Estimator 75Adding, Changing, or Deleting Costs 79

    Chapter 6: Concrete (Division 3) 85Types of Concrete 85Estimating Concrete 87Additional Estimating Examples 105

    Chapter 7: Masonry (Division 4) 117Types of Masonry 117Estimating and Waste Allowances 117Productivity Factors 118Quantity Takeoff 119

    Chapter 8: Metals (Division 5) 131Estimating Structural Steel 131

    Chapter 9: Wood and Plastics, Thermal andMoisture Protection (Divisions 67) 147

    Wood and Wood Products 147Nominal versus Real Dimensions 148Thermal and Moisture Control 149Estimating Wood-Framed Structure 152Using Units of Quantity 158


  • Contents

    Chapter 10: Doors and Windows, Interior Finish,and Equipment (Divisions 814) 165

    Using RSMeans Costs 165Division 8: Openings 166Division 9: Finishes 167Division 10: Specialties 173Division 11: Equipment 174Division 12: Furnishings 174Division 13: Special Construction 174Division 14: Conveying Equipment 175

    Chapter 11: Fire Suppression, Plumbing, Mechanical,and Electrical (Divisions 2128) 179

    Fire Suppression 180Plumbing 181Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning 182Electrical 185Communications 186Electronic Safety and Security 186

    Chapter 12: Earthwork (Division 31) 189Types of Earthwork 189Soil Excavation 190Truck Capacity 195Excavate by Hand or Machine? 196Optimum Number of Trucks per Loader 199Equipment Rental Costs for Short or Long Periods 202Renting versus Owning Equipment 205

    Chapter 13: Equipment Analysis 213Equipment Depreciation 213Equipment Expenses 217Equipment Rental 222

    Chapter 14: Assemblies Estimating 231Preliminary Cost Estimating 231Assemblies Estimates 231Combining Assemblies and Unit Costs 234


  • Contents

    Chapter 15: Approximate Estimates 237RSMeans Project Costs 238Using RSMeans Project Costs 239

    AppendixAppendix A: Answers for Exercises 249Appendix B: Contractors Cash Flow 259Appendix C: CSI Masterformat 265Appendix D: Sample Estimating Forms 267Appendix E: References 275

    Index 281


  • Acknowledgments

    This Fourth Edition is special. Apart from the updates and addition of newmaterial, this RSMeans book is now published by John Wiley & Sons.RSMeans has been, and still is, the leading company in construction costestimating databases. RSMeans and Wiley: two great organizations. Inaddition to the review of the book, RSMeans provided the CD materialthat serves as a necessary component of the book. I have been dealing withthe RSMeans Company for 25 years and I have nothing but high praise forthem. In particular, Barbara Balboni contributed significantly to this bookas co-author and technical editor. Ms. Balboni is currently a seniorengineer with RSMeans, where she is responsible for the content ofRSMeans Square Foot Costs, Assemblies, and Interior Cost Datapublications. I also thank Melville J. Mossman; Senior Engineer andEditor, Stephen C. Plotner; Senior Engineer and Editor, and Andrea Sillah;Product Manager for RSMeans Books.

    From the Wiley organization, I like to thank Paul Drougas; Michael New;and Bob Hilbert for great support. Wiley took care of my bookConstruction Project Scheduling and Control and did a great job. They arethe worlds experts in publishing and marketing scientific books, and I amglad they are taking care of this book as well.

    I must also recognize the contribution of Tom Bledsaw, ITT EducationalServices and National Chair Schools of Drafting and Design; and HaroldGrimes, Director of Construction Management at Redstone College, asreviewers of this edition.

    Finally, I owe a lot of gratitude to the numerous friends and colleagueswho passed their comments on the book to me. As humans, we are farfrom perfection but I take this as a motivator: there is always room forimprovement.


  • Introduction

    Professional estimators quantify the needed resourcesmaterials, labor,and equipmentrequired by the scope of a project, and then price theseitems. This is a two-phase process that includes quantity takeoff and costestimating. To complete the quantity takeoff, the estimator examines plansand specifications to determine total quantities of materials required, aswell as labor and equipment. During the cost estimating phase, theestimator examines the direct costs of installed materials and equipment,labor rates, construction equipment and tool costs, and indirect expenses,such as overhead and profit. Inflation and market conditions are additionalfactors to consider. The estimator needs also to be familiar with thecontract, especially the sections relevant to the cost.

    Special problem-solving skills are required to obtain an accurate estimate.No matter what source is used, construction cost data are rarely availablein the perfect format for a particular estimate. Data must often be adaptedin some way, such as changing the number of units, the location,production rates, or the type of labor. Frequently, there is math to be donebeyond what is required to produce the quantity takeoff


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