Eos Group | Blog

I just want a piece...

Posted by Madeleine King on Nov 6, 2018 12:27:00 PM


Sometimes you don’t want the whole thing. You’ve got most of what you need, but you’re missing something important.

Let’s apply this to project history systems. 

I hear this often from clients and prospects who say, “Every project is different, so I don’t really care about reusing historical projects.” OK, fine. Then I ask, “Are the pieces of your projects similar?” The answer is often, “Yes, I just want to study the pieces.”

So sometimes you just want to find a piece of a project. And you want to find occurrences of that piece across similar projects to help you fill in a missing piece of your own budget or validate someone else’s budget. A piece could be an element (e.g., a major system or process) or an item (e.g., a detailed component, such as a pump or footing). I will limit this post to the element use case, but the item use case is almost identical. I’ll defer the application of historical cost data normalization for a future topic.

Let’s assume you’re preparing a new feasibility-stage budget with little time and information (this happens 99.999% of the time). You need a number for the exterior enclosure. Your client hasn’t decided whether they want a curtain wall, stone, brick, or some combination, but they do want a number.

With Eos Cortex, you can browse for a specific element. In this case, you need B20 Exterior Vertical Enclosures. You could also just search for B20 and get the same results.


But you don’t want all of the B20 elements (my sample data has 63 instances). You just want the B20 elements for certain projects.


Using Cortex, you can display and filter similar projects (e.g., similar building types, 60,000-80,000 gsf). This gives you applicable project candidates for your analysis.


Next you review the corresponding B20 elements. After a little more analysis, you determine you’re most interested in the element from Jamestown Office Park. You want to see how it compares to the other elements, so you set it as the baseline element.


Now you can see how it compares to the other similar elements, including the specific element quantity and unit price along with the overall project quantity and unit price. You can decide whether to use a specific project value or the average of the elements (see the top row).

The stacked bar chart shows the breakdown of cost categories (e.g., Labor, Material, Equipment) for each element in your analysis. Jamestown Office Park is the first vertical bar. Notice that Tarkowsky-Baran Law really stands out in terms of grand total cost. Should this project be removed from your analysis?


On the scatter chart, you can see the relationship between the Element Grand total vs. Element quantity. The Jamestown Office Park element ratio appears to be reasonable with respect to the other elements.


In a matter of a few seconds minutes, you have enough similar historical data to support your analysis and defend your number. Spoiler alert — you will HAVE to defend your number.

So yes, you can have just a piece. Or two.


Topics: Cost Estimator, Cost Estimating Solution, Cost Estimating, Eos Group, Cortex Project History, Cortex, Eos Cortex

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