A Comparison of Construction Cost Estimating Software Tools 2015

A Comparison of Construction Cost Estimating Tools

    1. Spreadsheets – Microsoft Excel®
    2. Electronic Cost Books and Calculators – RSMeans CostWorks RSMeans Online
    3. Cost Estimating/Project Management Software – 4Clicks Project Estimator
    4. Cloud Cost Estimating – Ceasel

Accurate, timely, and transparent cost estimating is critical to the success of any renovation, repair, sustainability, or new construction project. While most construction cost estimators continue to rely primarily upon hardcopy documents and electronic spreadsheets, such as Microsoft Excel, many are beginning to leverage electronic cost books and associated calculator software tools. Both of these approaches have merit and are well suited for certain types of users.

Growing numbers of cost estimators, however, need to work with multiple projects and multiple estimates simultaneously, securely share information on active projects, gain access to localized cost information, and easily locate and reuse historical data. These Owners, Contractors, and AEs are moving to advanced cost estimating and management systems. They are discovering that significantly higher productivity can be gained – as much as 50 percent or more. Furthermore, the collaborative aspects of these sophisticated software systems are aligned with integrated project delivery methods and construction sector movement toward Building Information Modeling (BIM). Cloud computing, a further advancement enabling even higher levels of collaboration and simplified deployment, are also now becoming available.

This paper addresses each of these primary approaches to construction cost estimating and discusses their application. For clarity, products are referenced within each category as follows:

      • Spreadsheets – Microsoft Excel
      • Electronic Cost Books and Calculators – RSMeans CostWorks
      • Cost Estimating and Project Management Software – e4Clicks Project Estimator
      • Cloud Cost Estimating – Ceasel

The image below portrays a graphical representation of the increase in accuracy, collaboration, productivity, and project completeness for various cost estimating methods.


Construction estimating involves the estimating of material, labor, equipment, overhead, and contingencies. Spreadsheets, most commonly Microsoft Excel, are used by more estimators for this purpose than any other tool. Spreadsheets have significantly improved cost estimation capabilities and accuracy since the 1980s. Relatively easy to master, spreadsheets provide a means to create and report a construction cost estimate. Cost construction models can also be built within spreadsheets. Productivity improvements result from the ability of Excel to easily handle more of the mundane calculations required.

One problem with spreadsheets, however, is their inherent vulnerability to errors due to data entry, a problem that only increases along with the complexity of an estimate. As the formulae within the spreadsheets become more numerous and complex, errors became exponentially more frequent and costly. [2]

Spreadsheets also do not account for dynamic cost information and associated uncertainties or historical information – all of which have proven to be important variables for many construction projects.

Lastly, and in part due to the issues noted above, collaboration using spreadsheets is problematic, as are transparency and accurate monitoring and reporting. Having multiple people working on the same spreadsheet is not efficient or even workable for larger projects. Thus estimates tend to be created and stored in different locations, making information difficult to accurately retrieve and changes extremely costly to execute. As a result, old data errors are perpetuated, copied over and over again.

Electronic Cost Books and Calculators

As it became apparent that more localized and historical data would be critical to improving the accuracy of construction cost estimates and cost models, organizations instituted a formal process for collecting and storing this information. Individual Owners, Contractors, AEs, and other third parties began to collect this information. RSMeans Cost Data has become North America’s standard for commercial construction cost data including materials, equipment, and labor line items, productivity factors, and assembly and square foot cost information. Localized cost indexes, referred to as the City Cost Index (CCI), are also available.

Based upon the size and type of construction project, estimators soon found that they could improve their productivity and accuracy even further by using standardized reference cost information in combination with spreadsheets. Such reference cost information included RSMeans Cost Data or other reference cost sources, along with cost data architectures such as Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) MasterFormat and UniFormat. However, manually entering in tens, hundreds, or even thousands of cost line items from hardcopy cost books remained tedious and prone to data input errors and errors of omission.

Integration of electronic cost book information directly with a cost calculator was the next logical step. An example of this approach is RSMeans CostWorks product. CostWorks can best be described as an electronic version of RSMeans Cost Books where line items can easily be copied and pasted into spreadsheets. CostWorks also incorporates some limited cost calculation tools moving it even closer to the needs of construction cost estimators. Many inherent data input errors associated with spreadsheets appeared to be mitigated. Other issues remained largely unsolved including: collaboration, data reuse, document management, integration and maintenance of alternative cost data sources, reporting, and the integration of robust construction delivery workflows. To provide easier Internet access to RSMeans Cost Books, RSMeans Online is now being offered in addition to the CostWorks CD-ROM. RSMeans Online enables simplified deployment and a somewhat updated user interface.

Collaborative Cost Estimating Software Solutions

Spreadsheets have proven valuable for single, static estimates of a certain project size, as well as for a media to gather and transfer data sets. Similarly, the integration of electronic cost books with spreadsheets and electronic cost calculators (such as CostWorks/RSMeans Online) are equally valuable for individuals performing a small number of relatively straight forward construction, repair, or renovation estimates (three to five per year).

However, both spreadsheets and electronic cost calculators do not meet the need for collaboration, transparency, document management, and maximized productivity. They also do not provide a capacity to adhere to and report upon specific construction delivery methods and/or contracts such as Job Order Contracting (JOC), Integrated Project Delivery (IPD), Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements (SABER), and Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ). Collaborative cost estimating and project management solutions also support today’s need for Adaptive Project Delivery (APD)ä. APD enables Owners, Contactors, and AEs to modify and constantly improve upon construction project delivery processes to meet their individual and changing requirements.

Integrated cost estimating, project management, contract management, and document management software systems have become very popular over the past decade and are exemplified by e4Clicks Project Estimator.  e4Clicks Project Estimator incorporates this type of cohesive management in a single application.

e4Clicks Project Estimator allows users to create estimates and manage multiple types of projects and contract methods: JOC, SABER, IPD, Single Award Task Order Contracting (SATOC), Multiple Award Task Order Contract (MATOC), Multiple Award Construction Contract (MACC), Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ), Performance Oriented Construction Activities (POCA), and Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA). Users can select from enhanced RSMeans electronic cost data, including an exclusive 400,000 line item database with full descriptions and modifiers as well as graphics, diagrams, and specifications, and/or custom/internal cost information or other standard/custom unit price cost books.

Visual estimating and quantity take-off (QTO) are also core components of this type of advanced software. eTakeoffä, included within e4Clicks Project Estimator, stands head and shoulders above other visual estimating solutions, enabling estimators to quickly and precisely visualize requirements and trace electronic drawings to determine quantities for line items within estimates. Drawings can be shared in various formats include Adobe Systems Portable Document Format (PDF). The eTakeoff/4Clicks integration enables users to quickly transfer to e4Clicks Project Estimator.

Visual estimating allows the user to:

      • Estimate and pre-bid processes without paper plans.
      • Create measurements by tracing upon electronic drawings.
      • View plans with powerful zooming and scrolling capabilities.
      • Display measurements in an infinite variety of colors and patterns to identify the type of construction and the materials used.
      • Total measurements from multiple plan sheets.

Cloud Cost Estimating

Cloud computing enables the next level of collaboration and real-time work with virtually unlimited processing power and storage. Cloud computing applications, such as 4Clicks’ Ceasel, connect people, information, and processes – anytime, anywhere.

Ceasel allows the user to do more with fewer resources, while also improving cost estimating and project delivery outcomes.  This is made possible by Ceasel’s ability to enable higher levels of service, economies of scale through shared but secure resources, rapid and flexible deployment, standardization, and the ability for cost estimators, project managers, and procurement professionals to connect and share previously incompatible information.

With Ceasel, the user logs in through a web browser and can immediately build estimates with the best representation of RSMeans Cost Data available, custom data, or a combination of both. Cloud computing technology stores data permanently, keeping a detailed history of changes so work is never lost. Unlike spreadsheets, Ceasel and similar products provide the flexibility for teams to work simultaneously with large databases from any location around the world.

From a deployment perspective, cost estimating software solutions and true cloud cost estimating solutions address the creation of custom parameters, multiple “knowledge bases,” and easily support client-server network or stand-alone system environments.

These powerful tools yield superior productivity, accuracy, transparency, collaboration, and information reuse. They are best suited for anyone using RSMeans Cost Data and/or custom cost data for renovation, repair, and sustainability projects, as well as estimators managing tens to hundreds of projects per year. The chart below shows the capabilities deployed by each estimating tool.

Evolution Graphic V2


Over the past forty years, there have been many initiatives to improve cost estimating to facilitate the delivery of construction projects on time and on budget. Owners, Contractors, and AEs now have multiple methods to select from based upon their needs.


Spreadsheets were a major improvement in the 1980s, followed by formal processes for collecting and harnessing historical information to more accurately project and control costs. Over the past decade, a powerful new capability has been added, collaborative cost estimating and project management software. Within the past two to three years, cloud computing offers yet another advancement in terms of ease of deployment, scalability, and real-time collaboration.

Over the past forty years, there have been many initiatives to improve cost estimating to facilitate the delivery of construction projects on time and on budget. Owners, Contractors, and AEs now have multiple methods to select from based upon their needs.

Spreadsheets were a major improvement in the 1980s, followed by formal processes for collecting and harnessing historical information to more accurately project and control costs. Over the past decade, a powerful new capability has been added, collaborative cost estimating and project management software. Within the past two to three years, cloud computing offers yet another advancement in terms of ease of deployment, scalability, and real-time collaboration.




[1] Christofferson, Jay. “Estimating with Microsoft Excel”, Brigham Young University. Nickols, Robert Duane. “Construction Estimating Using Excel” Lexington Technical Institute, University of Kentucky.

2 Caulkins, Jonathan P., et al. “Do Spreadsheet Errors Lead to Bad Decisions” Carnegie Mellon University.

Improve your Job Order Contracting Program – JOC, SABER, IDIQ …

We can significantly reduce the time it takes you to complete RSMeans line item estimates, improve accuracy, and provide you with a single program allowing your entire team to collaboratively manage multiple contracts.

We can help your team estimate not only faster, but more accurately.

  • Create Estimates in Minutes vs. Hours and Hours vs. Days:  Easily reuse and Share Estimates with our Estimate Clipboard (copy, paste, and update estimates and line items within a collaborative platform).
  • Exclusive 400,000+ RSMeans Line Item Database: Full Descriptions, Modifiers, References, and Images
  • Manage Multiple Contracts and Projects in One Application: JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, Etc.
  • Export to DOD Forms:  AF66, AF3000, AF3052, AF3064-3065, Army 4025, DOD Form 1354, FORSCOM Form 59-R, and more
  • Support for Multiple Price Guides: Integrate Any Pricing Book/Database (GSA, IDIQ’s, VA), Even Custom Data
  • Project Specifications: Automatically Link Estimates to Specifications
  • Document Management:  Stop Reinventing the Wheel with Every Estimate.  Store all of your Active and Inactive Estimates within a Single Program.  Use your Previous Estimate as a Template for your Next.
  • Approved for Government Network Installation:  Army and Air Force
  • Visual Cost Estimating:  Electronic Quantity Takeoff (QTO), Trace and Measure Digital Drawings
  • Truly Extraordinary Training Classes: Led by Former DOD Estimators and Project Managers with Decades of Experience Estimating with RSMeans.
  • Reuse an Old Estimate: Copy and Paste Old Estimates to a Project, Update the Estimate to the Newest RSMeans Data, and Remove Quantities, Notes and Calculations, All in Seconds

4Clicks Solutions, LLC is a certified veteran-owned small business that develops and markets the leading DOD construction cost estimating and project management software product.  e4Clicks Project Estimator is used by over 85% of United States Air Force Bases, a rapidly growing number of Army, USACE Districts, and other Facility Owners.  We also support thousands of Contractors, Subcontractors, AEs, and Consultants.

We have great packages starting at $895.00 for e4Clicks Basic Project Estimator with the RSMeans Building Construction Cost Database, while many of our clients upgrade to e4Clicks Professional Project Estimator, eTakeoff Professional, and the 2014 RSMeans Facilities for $2,430.00.

Job Order Contracting Process Diagram
Job Order Contracting Process Diagram

You are what you measure… and/or … You can’t manage what you don’t measure

Note:  Reposted/adapted from Boiled Architecture.

You are what you measure

True North Indicators… what a great term.  Collaboration and consensus processes are not the “wave of the future”, but requirement for survival within our changing Architecture, Engineering, Construction, Operations, and Owner sector(so).

True North Indicator (TNI): An expression of something you team values.   Something to keep your sights set to.

Key Performance Indicator (KPI):  A metric for how you measure your progress toward or deviation from a TNI.

Below is a snapshot of  Boiled Architecture’s dashboard for 2013.   Why post it?

Well, if more architecture, repair, renovation, sustainability, and construction projects were conceived, procured, executed, and monitored using similar methods and KPI’s the world just might be a better place.

Whether you are cost estimating, designing, managing projects, and/or involved in Integrated Project Delivery – IPD, Job Order Contracting – JOC, and involved any related collaborative construction delivery process… or thinking our it…  now’s the time to get more serious, or get on board!

Increased productivity, accuracy, transparency, and collaboration are requirements of success as we move forward.

Whether you are practicing BIM (life-cycle management of the build environment supported by digital technology and forget the 3-D aspect for a moment).. .. practicing a component of BIM but moving toward life-cycle management…. it’s time to adapt robust business processes vs. continue with ad-hoc practices.  I simply talking about having sound processes to better control total cost of ownership and return on investment of the built environment.

It’s time to look at everyone’s risk/reward…Owners, Contractors, Subs, AE’s oversight groups, building users, the community…vs. just  your own!

2013 KPI's

Along the left of each column of charts you’ll see vertically-oriented titles.  Those are the True North Indicators.  Each of the graphs are displaying a Key Performance Indicator for those TNI’s (some graphs are able to display more than one KPI).

Our team practices 100% transparency internally, and this is possible because I train all employees on what these metrics mean, how they are measured, and what the results imply about our performance.  If you want to discuss any of these numbers, I’d be happy to share them with you.  Feel free to set up an appointment with me to discuss on the phone: www.doodle.com/osciawilson

What we valued and what we measured for 2013:

1. TNI: Collaborative Culture

    • KPI: Internal collaboration survey
    • KPI: Hrs spent on community service

2. TNI: Solid delivery

  • KPI: % of our desired standards established
  • KPI: Average billing rate
  • KPI: CO’s resulting from our errors/omissions per project
  • KPI: Architectural RFI’s per project

3. TNI: Solid client base

  • KPI: Client sources (referral, repeat, other)
  • KPI: Acquisition costs
  • KPI: % revenue per client

4. TNI: Thought leaders in IPD and transparent business practices

  • KPI: Google search ranking for the phrases “Transparent business model,” “IPD Architect,” “IPD,” “Integrated Project delivery,” “Collaborative Construction.”
  • KPI: # of blog posts
  • KPI: Speaking/interview/quote requests

5. TNI: Company wealth

  • KPI: Profit
  • KPI: Cash balance
  • KPI: Staff utilization
  • KPI: Overhead rate

6. TNI: Employee wealth

  • KPI: # of hours worked
  • KPI: Pay per hour

7. TNI: Ideal project mix

  • KPI: Delivery models (IPD, Design-Build, etc)
  • KPI: Sustainable projects
  • KPI: Transportation projects


What did you measure in 2013?  What have you decided to measure for 2014?


via http://www.4Clicks.com – via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner

2013 Global Construction Survey

In 2013, KPMG interviewed executives from 165 engineering and construction companies around the world, serving a range of markets including energy, power, industrial, healthcare/pharmaceutical, manufacturing, mining, education and government.

Key findings:

1. “66 percent feel that national governments’  infrastructure plans are the single biggest driver of market growth”

2. Slow recovery / growth continuing with “stable or higher margins”

3. “budget deficits and public funding is the biggest barrier to growth”

4. Growth areas: “power and energy top the list by a significant distance, other target sectors include water, rail, mining, and roads and bridges”

5. Standardization is critical to improving “project and risk management”.  “Whenever new people start on a project, they bring with them different processes. To spread good practices,  contractors can increase their use of… ” cost estimating and …. “project management software and step up training…. consolidate project delivery, and tighten
all leakages as much as possible.”

6. “Become a strategic partner to clients’ businesses By working more closely with clients from all sectors….”

via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner.



Job Order Contracting – JOC – An Ideal Project Delivery Method

Job Order Contracting as a Project Delivery Method

The design and construction phases of a project consist of a sequential series of interrelated processes that are influenced by time, cost and quality. The choice of project delivery method can directly affect the overall time line and cost of a project—and has the potential to influence the working relationships among project participants, thereby affecting the quality of their performance.

An owner chooses the project delivery method that is most advantageous to a particular project. The selected method is a contracting “tool” that will be used to administer the project’s construction phase and, with some methods, the design phase.

Until recently, most project delivery methods fostered only process-oriented and, in a sense, distant relationships among project participants. These traditional methods involve selection and award of professional design services (to develop comprehensive, complete design documents), followed by a separate process for construction services to accomplish and deliver the project to the owner. These are commonly referred to as design-bid-build type methods and are still in use today.

Currently, owners have several options other than traditional design-bid-build methods. These delivery method alternatives promote interaction among the owner, the design phase participants and the construction phase participants. These approaches have gained popularity in the construction industry, primarily because they can accelerate preconstruction time lines, but they offer other attributes as well. Job order contracting (JOC), which also is referred to as delivery order contracting or DOC, is one such method.

JOC is well-matched to meet many of the project delivery needs of today’s facility owners—particularly owners involved in public education; municipalities; local, state, or federal agencies; and the military, as well as other entities with facility project needs, both public and private.

JOB is an ideal project delivery method for minor construction, renovation, rehabilitation and maintenance projects. The quality of work performed is usually equal to or greater than any other project delivery method currently in use. Project costs are usually equal to or less than other methods, and the criteria used for pricing are typically firm, objective and consistent.

JOC’s pricing structure provides consistently accurate and predictable project cost estimating, and the method can be used for construction work as well as for facilities maintenance or specific trade groups. In addition to these attributes, JOC contractors are service-oriented to the owner.

JOC is a perfect match for owners who have the need to complete multiple small- to medium-size repair and renovation projects easily and quickly. Once a JOC contract is in place, the owner simply identifies each project with a brief description and notes the desired or required dates and times for performing the work. The JOC contractor is notified by the owner, who requests a design (if necessary), a detailed scope of work and a price proposal for the project. This process is commonly referred to in JOC as a Request for a Job Order (JOC) Proposal.

The owner, JOC contractor, and designer (if necessary) work closely during the site visit to identify site characteristics and decide on the most economically advantageous means and methods needed to perform the work. The design (if needed), along with a detailed scope of work including the project’s performance times, is then submitted by the JOC contractor to the owner for consideration. Once these submittals are mutually agreed on, the JOC contractor submits a detailed, lump-sum fixed price proposal based on the defined scope of work.

JOC Process

The combination of these submitted documents is referred to as the JOC contractor’s job order proposal. The owner reviews the price proposal for accuracy in accordance with the JOC contract provisions. When the JO proposal approval process is completed, the owner signs off on the proposal and the project can proceed as scheduled.

With JOC, numerous projects can be in progress concurrently under one contract, allowing the owner to complete a high volume of projects as the need arises (subject to the contractor’s capabilities). The method is a good candidate for projects that require phasing to accommodate operations and/or budget constraints, and is particularly well-matched for projects with critical performance times. Additionally, having a JOC contractor already mobilized at a facility or in the surrounding area can give owners the capability of almost immediate mobilization for emergency projects.

Adapted from Job Order Contracting: Expediting Construction Project Delivery, available through RSMeans,  via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner.


Job Order Contracting in Canada

RSMeans Daily Commercial

October 23, 2013

Why the Job Order Contracting model could work in Canada


A proven contracting methodology from the United States may be a model for solving some of Canada’s current contracting demands.

JOC Process

Job Order Contracting (JOC) was born of the United States military contracting world, where small construction projects were taking up to 18 months and 20 per cent of project budget to design and procure.  JOC was designed to procure and execute those projects in a more efficient way by providing a competitive and flexible pricing structure for the execution of these small, repetitive projects.

Key to JOC is the availability of a commercial catalogue of construction prices, called a Unit Price Book (UPB), such as those produced by RSMeans Company, LLC.   Contractors bid a coefficient, which is applied to the UPB to arrive at contractual prices. For instance, if a contractor’s bid is .97, it means they offer a three per cent discount off the commercial prices as established by the UPB.

In this way, JOC is similar to the standing order contracting that we are familiar with, with a few important differences. The first is reliance on that unit price structure rather than labour and material pricing.   This provides a clear pricing structure based on a complete, installed unit of work, which prevents padding with extra hours or expenses and rewards the most efficient contractors. It also provides a higher level of pricing transparency for municipalities and their constituents.   By leveraging a commercial price book with tens of thousands of line items, virtually any scope of work for small construction and renovation can be covered. Procurement of the contract including the pricing structure is done once, but is then used for multiple projects over the contract term through individual delivery orders.

Another important difference is that JOC has a well-defined project development process for each delivery order that requires the active involvement of the contractor, not unlike design-build or integrated project delivery.

The contractor under JOC is expected to take an active role in defining the scope of work and providing a facility solution to the owners prior to pricing the project. The delivery order proposal for each projects provides a clear scope and sometimes a simplified design deliverable, as well as line item pricing detail for the outlined scope of work. Once the owner accepts the proposal, the project becomes lump sum for the contractor-defined scope of work, so there is no haggling over quantities and unit prices once construction starts.

After the implementation of JOC in the U.S., numerous studies were conducted and the results were clear: JOC results in fair pricing, better quality construction with fewer claims and litigation and much faster delivery of small projects. JOC is typically used for projects in the $25,000 to $1,000,000 range, with  overall annual construction volume under a JOC $2M to $70M.

JOC should not be used for larger construction projects where a full design process is needed. Rather, it is best focused on the kind of ongoing, repetitive facility upgrades that are required in a municipality of any size. Typical JOC projects might include renovations, upgrading classrooms or conference rooms, lighting replacements, paving, or fencing.

The long-term contract structure (3-5 years) covering multiple projects is key to the success of JOC. Typical contract provisions will guarantee a very small amount of work ($25,000 to $50,000) but provide clear opportunity in the form of an annual maximum ($2 million to $5+ million) creating an incentive for the contractor to perform well to achieve maximum contract volume and thus profitability.

Contracts are typically awarded for a base year with two or more options, so that an owner can retain a performing contractor or easily replace one that is not non-performing. The long-term relationship that this promotes between the contractor and the owner leads to multiple project execution efficiency.

While contract bundling of larger projects has been a topic of concern recently, the research on JOC clearly points to increased opportunities for small businesses.

This is because the type and variety of projects requires extensive subcontracting of portions of work, in a project bandwidth where small local companies are the most competitive. Small business can be further supported in a JOC by requiring that a certain percentage of the work be subcontracted, as in Washington State legislation, or by establishing specific goals for awarding of prime or subcontract dollars to small, local business.

It may be time to take a look at JOC as a model for Canada’s municipalities to deal with the increasing volume of small facility upgrades while promoting small local business and making procurement staff more efficient and effective.

This approach would work very well in municipalities throughout Canada, and is available to come and talk to procurement staff to explain how this process could be applied in municipal procurement contracts. Government procurement is always looking for ways to create value for money as well as a way to be completely fair, open, and transparent to all contractors. JOC would be the ideal way to create a level playing field for everyone involved in the process of government procurement.

Stephen Bauld, Canada’s leading expert on government procurement, is a member of the Daily Commercial News editorial advisory board. He can be reached at stephenbauld@bell.blackberry.net.

Lisa Cooley, LEED AP, is a recognized Subject Matter Expert on Job Order contracting and an employee of RSMeans, a business line of Reed Construction Data Canada. She can be reached atlisa.cooley@reedbusiness.com

via 4Clicks.com:  Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software solutions for JOC, SABER, IDIQ, MATOC, SATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA, BOS … featuring an exclusively enhanced 400,000 line item RSMeans Cost Database, visual estimating/automatic quantity take off ( QTO),  and collaborative contract/project/document management, all in one application.   Our technology is currently serving over 85% of United States Air Force bases and rapidly growing numbers of other DOD and non-DOD (United States Army Corps of Engineers,  Army, GSA, Homeland Security, VA..) federal departments/agencies, as well as state/county/local governments, colleges/universities, healthcare,  and airports/transportation.  RSMeans Strategic Partner

Job Order Contracting – Integrated Project Delivery for Renovation, Repair, Sustainability, and Minor New Construction

Job Order Contracting is a high performance delivery method that delivers superior quality, schedule, and cost results over other traditional design-bid-build.

Quality is a combination of conformance to specifications combined with a relatively few number of related change orders, reworks, and service calls.
In addition there is the quality of the Owner/Contractor/AE/Building User relationship(s), inclusive of mutual respect and trust.

JOC enables optimization of quality across all areas.  It does so by offering  a proven process that pushes information sharing towards the front of the line in both focus and time.   JOC is one of the few construction delivery methods to  require joint “pre-construction”services by the Contractor and Owners.  Contractors provide upfront project support spans constructability review and value engineering as part of the proposal process.

The above are just some of the reasons that JOC projects endure a change order rate  of less than 1%.  Furthermore, this stat is for renovation/repair  work in existing  buildings.   What is your change order rate for similar projects….  10%? More?

Trust is critical to any successful business relationship, however, is lacking in many/most traditional construction projects.  JOC alters the paradigm.

As an Owner, ask yourself –

Did we have fewer changes than we would have experienced under other methods?

Did we have little or no non-conformances or rework?
Did we have low punchlist items and were they cleared promptly?
Did the contractor deliver other services which were essential in helping us get a good project?
Do I trust my contractors?

Additionally, Usually JOC yields lower Procurement and Design Costs and shorter timelines.
Source:  Above was adapted from the CJE Fall 2012 Newsletter

Via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software for JOC – Job Order Contracting, SABER, IDIQ, SATOC, MATOC, POCA, MACC, BOA, and more!  Featuring exclusively enhanced 400,000 RSMeans line item cost database.

Job Order Contracting Certification Course

ACE Job Order Contracting (JOC) Certificate Program
Mondays, 4:30 – 8:00 p.m.
October 29th – March 4th (15 weeks)
Four Monday classes will not be held due to the holidays
Location: To be Confirmed
The ACE Job Order Contracting (JOC) Certificate Program is an
in-person, 56 hour program that will result in attendees
receiving their JOC Professional Certification upon completion
of the program and the passing of the Certification exam.
Sessions will cover:
  • Different Project Delivery Methods and their applications
  • Basic elements of JOC
  • Requirements of a Successful JOC Program
  • JOC Operations including how to set up a JOC Program
  • Roles and Responsibilities of those involved
  • Individual Job Order to include Preconstruction Services,

Scope of Work,
Price schedule and change orders

  • How to manage a JOC Program to include training, reporting,

communication tools, relationship building techniques and audits

  • Job Order Pricing
  • JOC Selection Process
  • Legal considerations and contracts which are key

to a successful JOC Program

  • JOC Operations Manual
  • Collaborative Thinking to ensure a win-win
  • Case Studies weaved throughout the 15 weeks
Instructors to Include:
Gary Aller, Director, Alliance for Construction Excellence
Charlie Bowers, LEED AP, Centennial Contractors Enterprises
Hank Traeger, Retired, Alliance for Construction Excellence
Mark Powell, LEED AP, Kosten Technik International
ACE JOCCP is perfect course for:
Developers, Owners, Construction Managers, Project Managers,
Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Subcontractors, and Residential,
Civil, & Commercial Construction Professionals
There are no prerequisites to enroll in this program, but basic
knowledge about the construction process will be assumed.
A certificate of completion will be awarded for successful completion
of the course and 5.6 noncredit CEU’s will be awarded for those who
attend and successfully complete the 56 hours of instruction (3
absences are allowed to receive full CEU’s).

Registration Fee
ACE Members — $3295 l Non-Members — $3635
Register Online:
If you have not registered for meetings online,
please click LOGIN button for information on
creating your ACE website account.
If you have any questions, contact the
ACE office at 480-965-4246.
via http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier software for efficient project delivery –
Job Order Contracting, JOC, SABER, IDIQ, SATOC, MATOC, MACC,
BOA, BOA, including visual estimating / QTO, exclusively enhanced
400,000 line item RS Means electronic cost database, contract management,
project management, and document management.

JOC Cost Estimating Class – Job Order Contracting

JOC Cost Estimating Workshop – JOB ORDER CONTRACTING

Job Order Contracting (JOC) Estimating Workshop August 22 & 23, 2012

8:00a.m – 4:30 p.m – Check in at 7:30 a.m
Location- To be Confirmed
Phoenix, AZ

Program Description

Owners have a fiduciary duty to assure that there is a value for every dollar spent on Job Order Contracting (JOC).   The Job Order Contractor has no other way to receive payment for work other than the accurate & complete estimate.  In order to be successful estimating an accurate, complete and fair job order, it is essential that the Job Order Contractor and Owner work in a collaborative estimating process.

Combining classroom instruction with practical workshops, this two-day program will drill down into Job Order pricing, including the role of the Job Order document, the Owner’s fiduciary duty to obtain a fair and reasonable price, the scope of work, the price estimate, and cost data. It will also explore the criteria for usable and valid cost data bases. It will explore the components of Job Order pricing, including coefficients, contractor overhead and fee, and price escalation and de-escalation. You will learn when and how to use the various pricing methods and review typical alternatives for setting the Job Order price. Bring your laptop for use during the Hands-on practice sessions

This course offers a wealth of practical knowledge, hands-on exercises that build and hone your estimating skills, and provides practice sessions in solving real-life estimating problems.

Mark Powell, LEED AP, Kosten Technik International
Michael Brown, 4Clicks Solutions LLC
ACE JOC is perfect course for:

Owners, Facility Managers, Construction Managers, Project Managers, Estimators, Architects, Engineers, General Contractors, JOC Contractors, Superintendents, Planners

Registration Fee
ACE Members — $650    l     Non-Members  — $715

Register at: http://www.ace4aec.com/course/job-order-contracting-joc-estimating-workshop

For more information on group discounts, please contact Jacki Houchens at 480-965-9359
If you have any questions, contact the ACE office at 480-965-4246.


A New Resource for JOC – Job Order Contracting Services

Flexible, scalable implementation and management support for owners standing up or improving Job Order Contracting programs.

Lisa Cooley Associates was recently launched to help Owners implement Job Order Contracting and other solutions to the big problems that small projects can present. The new company has been established to help Owners bring sophisticated thinking and efficient, scalable processes ongoing renovation, maintenance, sustainability, and minor new construction programs.

Job Order Contracting was a delivery method ahead of its time when it was introduced a quarter century ago. But with construction industry changes swirling around us, Job Order Contracting will continue to evolve and adapt to stay relevant, becoming a part of newer technologies and processes like BIM and collaborative cloud computing, and forward-thinking processes like LEAN, to make JOC even better.

The construction industry is the only US industry to lose productivity over the last 30 years. Job Order Contracting presents a path to greater efficiency, but only when implemented correctly.  Lisa Cooley Associates and its Partners can help Owners make the decisions and set up  JOC programs in a way that improves staff efficiency and that of your contractors. Reiterative LEAN processes can help drive greater efficiency and cost savings.

Strategic Planning for JOC
The road to JOC begins with a careful assessment of your potential program. Historic and budgeted volume and project type are reviewed. Internal staff skillsets and resources are evaluated. Existing project management systems and styles are assessed for their applicability to and interface with JOC. Procurement requirements, including small business requirements and governing body mandates, are researched in conjunction with your staff. The goal of this planning phase is to understand how JOC will work within your organization and establish a framework for success.
UPB and Software Selection
The selection of a Unit Price Book can be confusing amid industry rhetoric and lack of clarity around the options available. We can help advise you on standardized and customized pricebooks, periodic update options, customization of line items, and integration of specifications. Contract provisions which govern the use of line items can also be critical, and we can help you craft requirements that bring you the greatest value.
RFP Development
With our extensive knowledge and database of RFP provisions, we can help you craft a procurement document that will drive the results that you desire. Your standard general conditions will be reviewed and modified to the JOC environment as necessary. JOC-specific requirements will be incorporated to clearly communicate contractor expectations. We can guide you on potential selection criteria and weighting to ensure selection of the contractor that meets your needs.
Procurement Assistance
If JOC is a new process for your organization, it may be new for your contracting community, too. We can help orient and prepare your existing contractor base for responding to your RFP, or we can garner interest from leading Job Order Contractors around the nation. We can serve as a technical advisor to your selection committee.
Training begins in the Strategic Planning phase, with Introduction to JOC sessions for internal staff as we work to define your program. More in-depth training occurs in the implementation phase, when we make sure that your staff is well-versed in the use of your software and line item estimating takes place.
Program Alignment, Partnering, and Leaning
JOC is relational contracting. JOC programs suffer when there is a lack of alignment among team members. Our approach to partnering is different. It is based on data collection and oriented to process improvements using LEAN principles. We lead you and your JOC contractor in a series of meetings to map processes, clarify communications, and drive your program towards greater efficiency.
Independent Estimates and Line Item Proposal Review
The unit pricing structure of JOC has real value from a procurement and process point of view, but it can cause consternation among personnel that aren’t familiar with it. It is critical that your staff be empowered with an understanding of your unit price book, and our first goal is always to empower you with the skills to effectively review line item proposals for accuracy through in-depth training and support. But some owners lack the skill or the time to develop independent estimates (as the federal government does) or conduct a full line item review. We can help with a range of support from telephone help line support to full proposal review, reporting, and negotiation with contractors.
Ongoing Assessment
To maximize the effectiveness of your JOC, you need to continuously assess internal processes and gridlocks, contractor performance, user satisfaction, timeliness, and cost. We can help you design assessment tools and surveys to track progress, and generate reports for governing bodies.
Program and Project Management




Intro to JOC

Job Order Contracting is an indefinite-quantity, performance-based delivery method for small- to medium-sized construction projects (the typical “sweet spot” for projects under a JOC program is $25,000 to $1.5 million, though projects can certainly fall outside of this range). The fundamental feature of a Job Order Contract is the use of a Unit Price Book (UPB) and competitive pricing through a coefficient (sometimes called a multiplier or factor) applied to all line items within the UPB. With a long-term contract in place and pricing agreed to up front, owner and contractor can turn their focus to the efficient execution of projects.

The beauty of JOC is a streamlined design and procurement process that right-sizes pre-construction work for smaller project. Scoping and design can be completed in days or weeks instead of months, with design at the level of detail that brings greatest value to the project. And while the unit pricing structure provides flexibility for emergency work, this well-defined scoping process more typically provides a clear scope of work for the contractor and a firm fixed price for the owner. Finally, the long-term contract with a low guarantee of work incentivizes a contractor to perform at a high level to maximize project volume.

Job-Order-Contracting-Coefficient-ExampleKey features of JOC:

  • A long-term (3-5 years) umbrella contract
  • Competitive pricing through the use of a competitively-bid coefficient applied to a unit price book (UPB)
  • Individual delivery orders are firm fixed price (based on defined scope of work and contractual pricing)
  • A contract structure and contractor selection process that drive performance


History of JOC

JOC was developed in the US Army in the mid-80’s to address the big challenges faced in the execution of small projects. The Army found that these smaller projects were taking up to a year to procure, with 8-22% of the project budget consumed in design and procurement costs. Change orders were increasing final costs by as much as 50%, and claims and litigation were diverting the attention of project management staff. Ultimately, the Army determined that low bid procurement of these projects was driving low quality results. The impact was a large backlog of small projects and a negative impact to the Army’s mission.

So the Army crafted JOC to meet their needs for performance, efficiency, and procurement compliance. The results were clear. Early studies done on JOC in the Army clearly demonstrated that JOC provided faster delivery of projects, higher quality construction, fewer change orders and warranty issues, for a fair price. The study also showed that the contracting tool helped to maximize construction budgets and provided increased opportunity for small and disadvantaged business through subcontracting opportunities. Most importantly, the Army found that JOC transformed their adversarial contract relationships into productive partnerships.

Soon after the Army rolled out JOC at a number of pilot installations, other military branches followed suit (with the Air Force christening it SABER, or Simplified Acquisition of Base Engineering Requirements) and public owners outside of the federal government started to take notice. Early adopters included the National Institutes of Health, Spring Branch ISD and municipalities. From 2000 on, JOC saw widespread use in areas of high growth like Arizona, Texas, and the DC beltway. Around this time, the first cooperative purchasing JOC was implemented, and many owners began to access JOC by this means.


VIA http://www.4Clicks.com – Premier cost estimating and efficient project delivery software of JOC – Job Order Contracting, IDIQ, SABER, SATOC, MATOC, MACC, POCA, BOA.