Posted by & filed under Business Strategy.

Chris Cardell talks about how our Great Expectations can thwart our success when they aren’t met.

Worth a watch.

Cardell Adavanced Thinking

We have used the services of Chris Cardells advanced Marketing Techniques and weather your a seasoned expert or a novice the landscape is always changing, a lot of the material is free and very useful.

Internet Marketing

Find out what’s new and changing in this marketing method.



Posted by & filed under Business Strategy, estimating Tips & Hints.


Helping to select the right tender for your business

The Tender Evaluation toolkit can increase your conversion rates by answering some basic questions and scoring each opportunity.

By answering straightforward questions the Estimating toolkit can help you to select which projects to estimate when faced with several choices.

The Estimating Manager has to decide which to tender and which to turn down, but how, which and why?

We have condensed considerable experience into key questions in this Standard Tender Evaluation Tool Kit which will help systemise the process.

You can also adjust the weighting of scores to tweak the results to suit your company.

Please watch the video below for more information.

tender evaluation toolkit demo video

Standard Tender Evaluation Toolkit V1

Posted by & filed under estimating Tips & Hints.

Estimator Scale Rule

The first few days of 2016 have seen a flurry of new electrical estimating and mechanical estimating enquiries come through, one project  is a kind of hybrid,

where our customer is a sub-sub-contractor, this is where a larger company (financially) seeks prices for portions of the work that’s in their contract.

The usual practice is for the Sub-Contractor to purchase high value items and free issue these to the sub-sub-contractor, “SSC”.

The SSC usually also provides first fix materials. This can introduce misunderstanding for both parties as to what’s included and what isn’t.

We have taken great care to determine the scope and the estimate will have a definitive list of items we expect to be free issued. This can act as a staring point so both sides can get this right.

We have prepared a paper on this issue called chop and change.

Click here to download our Chop & Change

Posted by & filed under Electrical estimating, estimating Tips & Hints, Mechanical Estimating.

Dutch Auction, Driving Down Your PriceIf you can do it for £x, the jobs yours, what should you do?

We are all familiar with retail companies offering price matching, that is, “if you see it cheaper elsewhere we’ll match it or do it for a penny less”.

Retailers are selling a commodity so whether it’s a bag of sugar or a new PC they have a product specification to validate that they are matching like for like.

It’s natural that this practice is sometimes pursued when seeking tenders from companies.

However if you are on the receiving end of a price match request for your mechanical estimating tender , or as we like to say, “Dutch Auction” its imperative to the financial well being of your company that you know it’s like for like.

When you’re told someone else’s price is lower, you shouldn’t match or beat on price alone, you need to know it’s genuine like for like.

The electrical estimating tender you submit will usually be based on tender drawings and specifications and schedules. So it should be like for like, but don’t assume this is the case , because a few words accompanying a competitors tender can make a massive difference in price, and your relying on the receiver understanding the significance of the qualifications.

For example, suppose there wasn’t a luminaire schedule or radiator schedule, and one contractor chose to include a budget, the other chose to exclude it altogether until the information became available, and you match a lower tender value without knowing this. It could be commercial suicide, because your unknowingly offering to lower your price for the same specification.

The solution is to prepare your electrical estimate in detail, obtain quotations from specified suppliers and subcontractors, material prices should be up-to-date and apply you agreed discount terms, this will give you confidence that your estimating tender is right. If you want to match or beat a lower price ask for the summary and any qualification that go with it. Then make an informed decision or price match on the same qualified basis.

The Dutch Auction can ensue after you do lower your tender, when the competitor beat your lower value and so it goes on until one party says no more.

Posted by & filed under Electrical estimating.

The apprentice learns the skills of his masterSir Alan Sugar hosts the entertaining show The Apprentice, but I’ve noticed a subtle change, he’s actually looking for a business partner, not an Apprentice. Each year the candidates candidly say how good they are, and as the episode unfolds we soon discover that common sense, isn’t that common. The candidates sound very confident but Sir Alan doesn’t want to coax and hold their hand, he wants someone to offer a Viable Business Plan and run with it. Confidence isn’t enough alone, Apprentices need to be told when they are wrong and shown how to do it right. This needs to happen continuously to hone out all the short cuts and poor work they might otherwise be happy with.

We recently had some work done in our home, and over a few days and as I marvelled at the un-level pipework and poor fixing choices, it became apparent that apprenticeships are import to train people and give them the skills, but vitally important is how and where and with who they learn. I served a five year apprenticeship with Drake & Scull, I was fortunate to work on many different sites and with different electricians. A core value adopted was doing a good job, quite simply if you didn’t you would be lampooned. You wanted your work to be a high standard and to the approval of those showing and teaching you. I wouldn’t dream of installing something not level or plumb, a) You’d have the proverbial taken out of you and b) You’d be forced to re-do it.

Fast forward to now and due to the last 2 decades of outsourcing many apprenticeships haven’t had the pool of skilled electricians to work with so is there sufficient skilled people in the industry to teach and lampoon the next generations to ensure they are learn the job correctly.

With this weeks budget announcing £120 Billion on infrastructure projects over the next five years, its expected half will go on road and rail projects and the balance spread across schools, housing and technology, lots more apprentices will be needed. Source The Daily Telegraph 26/11/15 Autumn Statement Special.

Posted by & filed under Uploading Electrical Estimating Documents, Uploading Mechanical Estimating Tender Documents.

You can easily zip and upload your tender documents with our link below.

This is best where your files are greater than 15mb.

Select the files you want to send, right mouse click, select send to, the compressed (zipped) folder option

Then left mouse click, to create a zipped folder

Once all the files are zipped, you might like to rename it

Click on the link below, this takes you to our site, scroll down, click on your browse button, select the previously zipped folder and upload

Upload your Zipped Folder

Telephone us to discuss

How to zip and upload Tender Documents at UK Estimating Support Ltd


Posted by & filed under estimating Tips & Hints, Mechanical Estimating.

Electrical Estimating CalculationMost Tenders are based on a Lump sum, which is based on your internal commercially sensitive information and externally sourced quotes and prices.

I say commercially sensitive information because to determine a price for an item to be installed is usually determined by taking the trade price, deducting Your Discount*, and Your time to Fit* which is multiplied by Your Labour rate*. Onto this you apply Your preliminary %* and Your Overhead and Your Profit*, which will provide a unit selling price by item. All items marked * are commercially sensitive and should not normally be disclosed.

Why? well once you reveal the information you leave yourself open to being undercut in any one of the areas*, and open to having your prices hacked down. These like Heinz, Ketchup, KFC and Reggae Reggae Sauce, are your Secret Ingredients, so treat them as such.

So unless you’re in a truly “Open Book” situation, and that doesn’t mean disclosing all your commercially sensitive information*, don’t do it. Provide the unit selling rate for items, from the schedule of rates maybe with quantities, but normally your tender is a lump sum, not a shopping list.

Posted by & filed under Electrical estimating, estimating Tips & Hints.

Out now, 1st January 2015, The new yellow book will come into effect from 1st July and it has something for everyone. I would encourage you to attend a one day course to become familiar with the new changes to take effect, but I will bullet point some of them.

The BIG one for me is cable shall be fixed with steel fixings so they don’t create a dangerous washing line tangle when all the tie wraps melt. Regulation 521.11.201. Out goes plastic conduit and Trunking and in comes steel conduit and trunking. This change has created new products to solve the problem, and I think this is one where there will be much debate over the coming months.So when existing installation are periodically tested and inspected they may not comply with this regulation, creating a large rewire/refurbishment market

So what else is note worthy?

The new edition has a little marker on the RHS flagging it’s a new regulation, which is good, because there’s a lot.

Regulations ending 200 apply to the UK only, they were 100.

Definition extended 134.2.1 not just competent, now skilled and competent to verify that the requirements of the standard have been met.

From 1st July installation must be designed and certified to the IET Wiring Regulation 17th Edition, prior to this date they can be designed and certified to Amendment 2 or 3.
Within Domestic premises consumer units shall be manufactured from non-combustible material or be housed in a cabinet or enclosure of non-combustible material However regulation 421.1.201 is a transitional and doesn’t come into full effect until 1st January 2016. Will there be a new wonder material? Or are we using metal consumer units, or should architects design a space for them.

There is no published definition for “Non-combustible”.

Regulation 421.1.201 may have far wider implications, extending to wiring accessories.

The next big one is the introduction in the definition of the Auxiliary circuit, and the requirement to test it. Auxiliary will include things like bus wires for emergency lighting, BMS, emergency stop push buttons and these test results and now recorded on the new model forms, greatly extended.

Socket outlets not exceeding 20A shall have RCD’s unless you undertake and document the risk assessment. This is 411.3.3 and applies ONLY to none domestic properties. Unless labelled for a specific item of equipment.

Zs have all been adjusted down by 5% due to Cmin, to take account of wider voltage variations in some European countries. So effectively shortening the length of the circuit or increasing the cable size.

The testing process is now greatly widened including auxiliary circuits, greater breadth of RCD testing and only to be undertaken by a skilled persons competent to verify that the requirements of the IET wiring regulations have been met.

Thanks to pass training workshop.

Posted by & filed under Prime Cost of labour RICS/ECA.

What labour rate should you charge, This is a very common question we are asked when providing an electrical estimating service. Looking first at a typical scenario of how a lot of customers operate, one operative in a van.

You will already have an idea of what to charge, this maybe based of a particular mode of operation, i.e. One operative in a Company van, it maybe you charge £25 to £35 per hour.

There are many factors that determine what you should charge, but the basic calculation is cost divided by actual productive hours.

So if the salary is £33,000 you should then add on Employers NI currently 13.8%, and perhaps training, H&S equipment, Transport costs per annum, fuels maintenance etc.

Let say that adds up as follows;

£33,000 of wage cost
£4554 NI @ 13.8%
£2000 For lease of a VAN say
£4000 running costs say
£500 training
£150 H&S and consumables

£44,204 Total say £45,000 #1

Divide this by productive hours say 52 weeks -(4 weeks holiday + 2 weeks training) = 46 weeks x 40 hrs say = 1840 hrs #2

calculation 1 ignoring travel time etc.

#1 £45,000/ #2 1840 hrs = £24.45 per hour

calculation 2 allowing 3 hrs per day none productive (say travel, loading, organising) ; 46 weeks x (40 hrs-(5 days x3 hrs))= 46 weeks x 25 hrs = 1150 hrs #3

#1 £45,000/ #3 1150 hrs = £39.13 per hour

The second scenario is where you allocate a team to a project, and the operatives provide their own transport and you pay the JIB rates.

You can download an excel sheet RICS/ECA Prime cost of labour 2015 to help calculate this see menu of the right hand side, this is based on J.I.B 2015 labour rates.

Remember that the prime cost of labour is calculated on the ECA/RICS basis, and you may add uplift for other incidental costs. The sheet allows you to adjust productivity factors for different grades of operative to provide an overall gang rate. Do remember though that if the blend of labour grades become unavailable you may end up with a lower or higher gang labour rate labour. Electrical estimating involves determining your labour rate, taking into account various commercial risks. You should always calculate your own labour rate to know how your future order book may impact on it.

Posted by & filed under estimating Tips & Hints.

 Tender Traps-Electrical Estimating-Tender Drawings and Revisions-Status

It’s a fair assumption that Tender documents with the same reference and revision status are the same, but that’s not always the case.

We received such a drawing the other day. We had two drawings with the same document title, reference and revision on the title block and after printing the new document off it looked identical, but for the movement of a power point, however, on further comparison there was a note on the drawing concerning the containment and this had been subtly changed.

On the original drawing the note stated 300mm tray for CCTV/Intruder cabling, on the drawing received later but with the same title, drawing reference and revision the note now said 300mm tray for data cabling and 300mm tray for CCTV/Intruder cabling. This appeared still as one line as on the first drawing but the statement meant a doubling up of the total length of tray, at a cost of circa £3000!! Not bad for a drawing that appeared to be the same!!

Even more worrying perhaps for the client (paying for it) was the fact that the order may only list the Tender drawing and note annotate it, meaning that they may end up with one tray not two if the original drawing was taken as the contract document.

It’s often interpretation, qualifications and tender documents being listed that can preserve and enhance your profits.