Year in Review – RSMeans data in 2018

Data is everywhere in 2018. It’s plentiful. Some may say big – and it’s a big deal. Data can make or break your business, improve your life and change the world. We take pride in our construction cost data and we’ve made advancements this year to put it to work to create more solutions for our customers.

In 2018, Gordian released new tools and resources to help you keep your project plans and estimates accurate and on-point. We left the old data behind and calculated new possibilities for our users with a predictive algorithm to forecast accurate future costs. Talk of increased tariffs caused uncertainty in the construction industry, so our data-lovers turned to the one thing they can literally always count on – the numbers – for answers. We covered all of our bases, from building an estimate step-by-step to bringing the fifth dimension to BIM software.

We’ve been very busy. In case you blinked, let’s take a look back at the extended resources, product offerings and revolutionary advancements in RSMeans data from Gordian over this past year.

Cost Trends Analysis

We began 2018 with our annual analysis of cost trends and looked at various industries to help set you up for success. Our “Construction Cost Trends 2018” webinar featured a panel of experts that provided insight, predictions and tools to better prepare current and future cost estimates.

Construction costs change dramatically over the course of a year. Our cost engineers spent more than 22,000 hours researching material, labor, equipment and productivity rates across the nation. We visualized notable differences we observed in the 2018 Construction Cost Trends Infographic and provided year-over-year insights into how and where costs have fluctuated.

Insights into Material Cost Changes

We are constantly monitoring current events, including tariffs, natural disasters and other external factors that could have an impact on material costs. Our data accounts for these factors to ensure our customers always stay up-to-date. There was a lot of talk about steel tariffs, so our data scientists looked at the material index for a different perspective to cut through the noise. Numbers don’t care if your state is red or blue. This election year, we dove into the numbers, asking ourselves what the data says in a new blog series focusing on construction cost trends.

In our first blog of the series, we examined steel costs from 2011 through August of 2018 to measure what, if any, impact U.S. steel tariffs have had on costs. We did this by tracking the growth of an index of steel materials over those seven years as well as on a quarter-to-quarter basis. Our analysis showed growth every quarter of the year, a break from the historical pattern. When we took another look at steel costs through the third quarter of 2018, we saw what may be a bright spot in the data which could mark the end of tariff-related price increases.

We plan to continue using our cost database to monitor material prices, so you know what the data says as you make plans for 2019 and beyond.

Powerful New Partnerships

The construction industry is embracing advancing technologies, a trend that is likely to rapidly improve the way we import and visualize cost data. RSMeans data is the backbone of many groundbreaking technologies, and it powers innovation in the construction industry.

In 2018, we fostered partnerships with Sigma Estimates to integrate RSMeans data into a Dynamic 5D BIM Platform. Leveraging Sigma Estimates with RSMeans data through live integration with Autodesk REVIT brings together design, planning and finance in real time. This grants users a fast, data driven, user-friendly experience, grounded by the familiarity of spreadsheets.

We also concentrated on Cost Map for Water Utilities, a web-based solution that integrates RSMeans data API with the ArcGIS Platform from Esri through a partnership with GISinc. Cost Map provides quick and reliable construction cost estimation through hosted content, services and costing information. We launched a Cost Map Resource Center earlier this year to host all of our information about this revolutionary new tool.

RSMeans Data Online is Better Than Ever

Our goal is to provide costs and insights you can build your reputation on. RSMeans Data Online gives you cloud-based access to North America’s leading construction cost database. We added additional features to our most popular Complete tier of RSMeans Data Online including access to historical data, cost alerts and cost trends to provide a better experience and more value for our customers.

Check out this infographic to discover how our construction costs have informed the industry in 2018.

Predicting Future Costs

Ever wondered what it would be like to see the future? Wonder no more. While our predictive data won’t give you future lottery numbers, it will give you extremely accurate construction cost estimates for projects that are years away from breaking ground. We are continually researching and looking for ways to advance our technology. Some of the brightest minds in the industry have been working with our data, making it smarter than ever before. We created a predictive data algorithm to analyze changes in costs over time to help improve accuracy on future builds. Developed by data scientists and powered by machine learning, look three years in the future with predictive costs.

Building Better Estimates

On July 11, Certified Estimating Professional Rory Woolsey presented “Step by Step: How to Build a Better Estimate,” a webinar sponsored by Gordian in partnership with Engineering News Record. Bringing more than 40 years of construction industry experience to the presentation, Rory walked attendees through the estimate creation process and provided tips for addressing challenges to cost estimating. Success depends on the details and a poorly planned estimate will doom a project, was only some of what we learned. As Rory reminded the audience, “You have to build the project before the project is built.”

The numbers speak for themselves. RSMeans data has had a major impact on 2018’s construction boom, and with additions and updates to our construction cost database, that impact will continue in 2019. We hope that you benefitted from this review of the additional resources, product offerings and technology advancements in RSMeans data from Gordian throughout 2018. Our commitment to providing data, expertise and software to meet your needs promises to bring more information and innovation from our team in the new year.