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The Construction Process
Specifications, Estimating, Project Control
From design to "punch out", the construction process can be broken down into three distinct active areas - Specifications, Estimating and Project Control.
However a design is acheived, from the mind of an architect, by the hand of an experienced builder or the creative collaboration of a prospective owner in cooperation with either or both; it manifests itself in the "hard copy" called specifications.
Drawing from the wealth of information provided in the specifications and balanced with the experience in the "customs of the trades", the keystone of the construction process is called estimating.
That part of the construction process most visible by the general public, indeed uniquely seen as the identifier of the process, is project control.
These three active components, when working together, can be seen in all construction projects, during the process, and in the successful end result.
Particular methods or materials annotated along side drawings are also called specifications. These "called out" instructions take priority over the drawings as they are provided to preclude various interpretations. A magnified "detail" drawing of a particular aspect of the overall project serves the same purpose. Lastly, although each drawing is drafted to "scale", dimensions noted on the drawings take priority over the scaling.
The industry standard underlying every construction project is known as the "summary of specifications". Every aspect of a project, as to method of construction, materials, hardware, equipment and level of workmanship can be categorized into one of seventeen (17) classes. Each of these 17 divisions are broken down into subcategories. All are coded. Unseen and largely unknown by the general public these specifications are the building blocks of the "scope of work".
The work of estimating is defining the potential "cost of doing business". That cost is "time and materials".
Just as the builder needs a set of plans to layout a floor plan, he also needs the estimate to determine his "bid" on the project, and even, the desirability of taking on the project.
The estimator provides the builder with a "best judgement" scenario for completing a project and maximizing profit.
Whichever title is used, project control balances staff, employees, subcontractors, suppliers, vendors and code requirements with budgets, site conditions, the weather and "work changes".
Project control translates the concept and specifications of the designer; as determined and interpretated by the estimator, into concrete reality.
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