RSMeans data Customer Review: Building an Outstanding Track Record

RSMeans data Customer Review: Building an Outstanding Track Record

30 years

Of construction estimating experience

30 years

Of choosing RSMeans data


Bid variance on public work

Challenge: A Re-Design Guarantee on Public Work

Should you ever find yourself traipsing the hills or enjoying the beaches of the Pacific Northwest, there’s a non-zero chance that you could meet Richard Miller, a Lead Estimator for American Capital Group. When he’s not on camping trips or windsurfing with his family, Richard plays a key role estimating projects for American Capital Group’s construction division, American Home Builders, which builds multi-family housing properties.

Richard’s journey to his current role has provided him with firsthand experience across nearly every part of the construction process. He started in the trades as a drywall finisher, working his way to opening his own drywall business. Later, he joined an architectural firm where he estimated large commercial and government construction projects, including schools, higher education campuses and penitentiary systems. And he now estimates for a company that functions as an owner.

“The book is well structured. The more I used it, the more I began to appreciate its logic, organization and structure. It’s dependable insight.”

One firm he worked for offered clients a guarantee: If they didn’t receive bid-day results, Richard and his team would redesign the project on their own dollar. “There’s nothing worse than going back to an owner and asking for more money,” he said, describing why he offered the guarantee. “I would rather a project not get built than put an owner’s or investor’s budget in harm’s way.” But when asked if he ever had to redesign a project, Richard proudly responded, “Never once.” No doubt his extensive industry experience helped deliver such quality work: He’s managed budgets, helped build bids, estimated designs and even done the work with his own hands. However, Richard attributes part of his success to a particular tool: RSMeans data.

Solution: A Renowned and Reliable Data Source

For almost 30 years, Richard has been leveraging RSMeans data to create budgets and estimate the cost of building, typically using two of the most popular datasets: Building Construction Costs and the Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing package. He first picked up RSMeans data because of its long-standing reputation. “I knew it would have to be dependable to be around that long,” Richard recalled, adding “I would ask estimators what they used, and I would normally see the RSMeans data books in their offices.”

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As he began using the books himself, Richard came to understand why so many professionals chose RSMeans data. “The book is well structured. The more I used it, the more I began to appreciate its logic, organization and structure.” In 1996, Richard bought his first estimating software license, but that didn’t stop him from using RSMeans data. He uses his software and costbooks in tandem, relying on the book data to validate his digital tools. He even builds RSMeans data assemblies into his software.

Result: Richard’s Outstanding Estimating Track Record

Beyond the organization and ease-of-use of RSMeans data, Richard particularly appreciates how reliable its construction task costs are. “The bottom line: It’s a lost art,” Richard said about estimating the time required to complete construction work. As a seasoned expert, he prefers to look at projects through the lens of time than that of cost. As he put it, “When you focus on hours and not unit costs, you gain a much deeper understanding of the whole project.” And he feels RSMeans data provides the proper foundation for estimating the times of certain tasks. “It’s a well-reasoned and applied assumption for what it will take to get each task done. It’s dependable insight.”

“How many people can demonstrate 3% bid variance on public work? I fully attribute it to working with RSMeans data.”

The proof lies in his sterling record. Throughout his career, Richard has estimated about $250 million worth of work each year. And each project, whether public or commercial, has had a bid variance of 3% or less. “How many people can demonstrate 3% bid variance on public work?” he remarked. “I fully attribute it to working with RSMeans data.” But as proud of Richard is of his personal success, he knows there’s something more important that he’s working for: protecting his clients. “As a conceptual estimator, your risk is on the bottom line.” And RSMeans data is honored to be the tool that he – and other professionals throughout the industry – rely on to deliver exceptional results to their clients.

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About Gordian

Gordian is the leader in facility and construction cost data, software and services for all phases of the building lifecycle. A pioneer of Job Order Contracting, Gordian’s solutions also include proprietary RSMeans data construction costs and Facility Intelligence Solutions. From planning to design, to procurement, construction and operations, Gordian’s solutions help clients maximize efficiency, optimize cost savings and increase building quality.