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Estimating Excavation

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Estimating Excavation Image - Click to enlargeHow to calculate the amount of dirt you’ll have to move and the cost of owning and operating the machines you’ll do it with. Detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to assign bid prices to each part of the job, including labor and equipment costs. Also, the best ways to set up an organized and logical estimating system, take off from contour maps, estimate quantities in irregular areas, and figure your overhead.

448 pages, 8-1/2 x 11

Back Cover:

Estimating Excavation
by Deryl Burch

Estimating excavation is hard - don't let anyone tell you otherwise. First, you're dealing with material that's largely hidden from view. You don't know what's down there until you start digging. Second, you're dependent on costly machines that can break down at any time. Third, your production depends on the employees who operate the machines - employees whose performance can change from day to day - even hour to hour. But there are techniques you can use to minimize those risks - and maximize your chances of making a decent profit from any job you estimate.

That's the purpose of this manual. It shows you, in simple, easy-to-understand language, how to calculate the amount of dirt you'll have to move, the cost of owning and operating the machines you'll do it with, and finally, how to assign bid prices to each part of the job.

The heart of every earthwork estimate is calculating the cubic yards you'll have to move. This book covers quantity estimating in detail, then explains how to assign labor and equipment costs per yard:

  • How to set up and use an organized and logical
  • How to get the information you need estimating system from contour maps
  • How to read plans and specs
  • When you have to undercut
  • Why a site visit is mandatory
  • Dealing with irregular regions and odd areas
  • How to assess accessibility and job difficulty
  • Factors for estimating swell and shrinkage
  • How soil characteristics can affect your estimate
  • Balancing the job: spoil and borrow
  • The best ways to evaluate subsurface conditions
  • Calculating machine owning & operating costs
  • Figuring your overhead
  • The two common methods of estimating earthwork quantities

Of course, some of the quantity estimating methods are complex, but, using clear, detailed illustrations and examples, the author makes it easy to follow and duplicate his system. The book ends with a complete sample estimate, from the take-off to completing the bid sheet.

The Author:

Deryl Burch has worked over 25 years in the construction industry, starting out as a laborer learning on the jobsite and progressing until he was estimating jobs ranging from single-family homes to major highway and utility projects.

Besides being a partner and estimator in an engineering consulting company, he has prepared estimates and bid jobs for the firm of Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendorf, one of the largest construction consulting firms in the world; for the Missouri State Highway Department, for the City of Fayetteville, Arkansas, and for Marion County, Kansas.

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