Developing Tools & Processes for Faster,

More Accurate Conceptual Estimating

November 5-7 | Houston, TX

Day One
Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Day Two
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Advancing Early Collaboration of Stakeholders

Coffee & Registration

Chair’s Opening Remarks

  • Chris Jackson Director of Preconstruction Services & Estimating Manager, The Austin Company

Keynote: Optimizing Early Stages of Project Planning to Allow Sufficient Time for Developing Accurate Bids & Estimates

  • Kul Uppal Senior Consultant, Conquest Consulting Group


  • Increasing understanding of owners of the estimating process, and influencing earlier release of RFPs to provide more realistic turnarounds
  • Understanding the needs of each function and their interrelations from budget approval to proposal submittal to better plan preconstruction timelines
  • Exploring ways to more effectively hold each function accountable to project deadlines and ensure sufficient time for estimate development

Maximizing Transparency & Sharing of Design Information Between Client & Contractor to Reduce Bid Contingencies


  • Educating clients in the alignment between project maturity, detail of engineering information, and the potential accuracy of estimates to increase quality of work packages
  • Demonstrating the business case for investing more time and money up-front in engineering and preconstruction to reduce overall costs and contingencies
  • Assessing how to balance release of actual design and engineering information by the client with risk of change orders to increase transparency of intended project scope

Audience Discussion: Promoting Sharing of BIM Models in the Early Stages of Project Planning to Advance Awareness of Project Scope

Morning Refreshments & Networking

Reviewing Quality of RFP & Bid Submittal Forms to Increase Clarity & Efficiency of Bidding


  • Exploring how engineers and contractors can work together to forecast upcoming bid packages and prepare for RFP distribution
  • Highlighting crucial information provided by RFPs to inform project scope and how this be presented more clearly and concisely to bidding contractors
  • Determining essential elements of bids valued by owners to compare quality of proposals and how this can translate into more concise submittal forms

Increasing Accuracy of Budgetary Estimates

Creating Industry Standards to Promote Transparency & Benchmarking Across All Industrial Markets


  • Understanding the benefits of standardization of quantities and data formats to develop a single system for industry-wide data collection
  • Discussing the potential for creating a single collective source of data for benchmarking: What role can industry associations play in developing this tool?
  • Identifying potential barriers to data sharing and how these may be overcome

Case Study: Developing a Basis of Estimate to Justify Conceptual Estimates & Clarify Cost Breakdowns

  • Nels Anderson Oil, Gas, & Chemicals Estimating Manager, Burns & McDonnell


  • Reviewing the key deliverables to estimating that should be considered when building conceptual estimates
  • Examining the role of the document in reporting and justifying variables in cost and scope of budgetary estimates
  • Benchmarking best practices for developing a Basis of Estimate that ensures appropriate level of detail

Lunch Break

Dealing with Risk & Assigning Contingencies

The Owner’s Perspective: Analyzing Risk & Assigning Contingencies in Conceptual Estimates

  • Chris Jackson Director of Preconstruction Services & Estimating Manager, The Austin Company

Improving Relationships with Engineering, Procurement & Construction to Better Inform Scope of Work & Contingencies Assigned for Unknowns

  • Vishal Patel Director of Preconstruction, Walker Industrial LLC


  • Improving collaboration between estimating, engineering and procurement to keep all parties on the same page with reality of costs and reduce overpromising to clients
  • Outlining how engineers, field managers and estimators can work together to better manage risk and assign more logical contingencies to unknown variables
  • Maintaining open channels of communication across all departments to get timely and accurate updates to changes in scope and ensure constructability of final bids

Afternoon Refreshments

Advancing Tools & Systems

Making Risk Manageable: How Can You Balance Reasonable Contingencies & Competitiveness of Your Bid?

  • Glenn Butts Cost Analysis Officer, NASA
  • Anthony Ware Senior Construction Project Manager & Estimator, Insulation Plus LLC


  • Understanding the impact of omitting possible risks from analysis and estimates to instill a risk aware culture within your department and reduce common mistakes in underestimating
  • Evaluating effective tools and processes to identify and evaluate significant risks on a project
  • Understanding how to align qualitative and quantitative risk analysis to assign realistic cost values to potential pitfalls and find ways to lessen assigned contingencies

Chair’s Closing Remarks

End of Day One