These days, companies participating one way or another in the construction of process facilities and pipelines are being pressured to consider more potential projects than ever before, with tighter requirements and less time. It is not merely to seek optimal return on investment; highly-variable global conditions demand great agility in responding to shifting opportunities and uncertain risks.
Ken, head of estimating in a typical mid-sized Texas EPC contractor, was facing the constant need to keep up with strong company growth. Generally, the process design team could provide very reliable cost numbers for the pieces of equipment in a facility. And as the numbers of projects and alternatives grew, they were still able to provide good costs for the equipment items.
The problem Ken was facing was that the process team could not provide very much direction when it came to the piping which connected the equipment pieces together. Ken had some P&ID drawings, a plot plan, and often had to take it from there, visualizing how the lines might be laid out and guesstimating fittings and line segments. This process required time and careful consideration. The number of projects was increasing, but the number of hours in the week was not. Ken was in a bind.
Compounding Ken’s problems was the difficulty keeping up-to-date price information for the many components of a pipe price, especially since some of them relied on vendor quotes for piping sub-assemblies, not just individual parts.
The piping component of a typical facility construction estimate accounts for significant part of the total facility cost, and is definitely the most complex part and time-consuming to put together. Each line must have physical dimensions and a route from source to destination that defines how many fittings and piping are needed for the line. Also, other attachments need to be defined and accounted for.
Ken, like most cost estimators, relied heavily on an in-house-developed system of spreadsheets, which generally worked very well. The estimators in Ken’s company understood them, and could tweak them as required. For the equipment, site, and other plant considerations, the spreadsheets were working fine.
When it came to piping, however, Ken found that keeping on top of up to date prices was a huge challenge. It made each estimate much more cumbersome since so much of the process was devoted to making sure that the costs were reliable.
Relief for Ken’s problems in this regard were found in using QSoft’s QPipe costing software. Ken was able to easily load his take off information into QPipe, and once he had tuned a few assumptions, he was able to achieve a great estimate for his specific region, using updated prices and labour factors, at a fraction of the effort.
QPipe puts together the estimate for all the assemblies and sub-assemblies from an internal database of over 500,000 prices and an intimate knowledge of the piping fabrication and installation process. No vendor quotes are required, and QPipe’s database is updated annually to the latest prices and indices for world conditions.
Ken saved over 60% of the time he spent on the piping part of estimates by moving to QPipe, and is also assured of better and more consistent prices for diverse regional conditions. QPipe paid for itself in less than 2 months of his use, and continued to provide dividends the rest of the year.
Join Ken in discovering the benefits of QPipe or QPlant! Sign up for a free trial today!