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Estimating 101, December 2020 – Seasonality in electrical construction

As estimators, the question that arises is how to allocate that non-productive time during the bidding and estimating process.


December 7, 2020
December 7, 2020
By John F. Wiesel and Dan Beresford


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December 7, 2020 – As tradesmen, we work in a variety different weather conditions and, over the years, we’ve learned that weather affects our productivity.

When it is hot and humid, we need to take more breaks to drink water and cool off. When it is wet, we need to warm up our hands. When it is cold, we need to wear cold-weather gear and stop more often to warm up our hands.

As estimators, the question that arises is how to allocate that non-productive time during the bidding and estimating process. Sadly, there is no hard and fast rule, as much of it depends on factors outside of our control.

That said, one area in which we can reduce the impact of weather on our work is by providing cooling fans or heater units. To account for this equipment, we need to include it in our bid under job expenses. To allow for additional time due to cold-weather gear, we need to rely on our experience from when we worked the tools, plus our knowledge of how our own crew performs under various weather conditions.

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It is not uncommon for a job to get pushed by a few weeks or a month. When we get asked to hold our bid pricing, we need to consider what the weather will be like and how it will affect production before we agree.

The most important takeaway is this: make sure you account for weather-related impacts on production—and any associated mitigation strategies—in your estimate.


John F. Wiesel is the president of Suderman Estimating Systems Inc., and has been estimating and teaching estimating since the early 1980s. Dan Beresford served as an electrician in the Canadian Navy, then worked in various roles in the electrical sector before joining Suderman. Visit www.sudermanestimating.com.

This column—along with other great content—appears in the December 2020 edition of Electrical Business Magazine.



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