WT Partnership Infrastructure (WTPI), a division of WT Partnership, was formed in 2006 and provides cost planning and cost management services on infrastructure projects across New Zealand.
WT Partnership Infrastructure produce estimates across the Civil Engineering Sector including roads, rail, public transport, streetscapes, water, marine, power, ground improvements and subdivisions. They produce these estimates at all levels of the design process from initial concepts through to pre-tender and detailed design. Many of these estimates are produced in line with the NZTA Cost Estimation Manual. Vincent Baldwin, a Director of WTPI states that his division uses “various methods to provide these [estimates] including First Principles, Elemental Cost Data and Market/Historic Rates”.
WTPI recently selected Benchmark Estimating Software to help the division overcome some of the challenges they face with their estimating and Vincent talks to Benchmark Estimating about this.
Challenges faced by WT Partnership Infrastructure
Vincent says that WTPI faces three major challenges in their estimating processes:
1) Time and resource management. With “design programmes overrunning on many projects the timeframe for the production of schedules and estimates becomes compressed”. WTPI needed an easy to use estimating system that would “enhance [their] estimating capabilities”, improve efficiency and allow them to offer greater benefits to their clients.
2) Being able to take project specific conditions into account when producing first principle estimates. Vincent explains that they need to look at complex project specific conditions such as geotechnical conditions, geographic location and site accessibility but their current estimating system “only allowed a simple factor to be applied”.
3) Developing and maintaining a comprehensive library of descriptions, unit rates and resource rates that reflect the local markets. Vincent says that “consistency of work descriptions and rates is a challenge”. He adds that “being a national company, it is important for these Rate/Resource Libraries to reflect the current local markets”.
The challenges faced by WTPI led them to search for a new estimating solution that better suited their needs and could help them to create a competitive advantage within the marketplace.
The Benchmark Estimating solution
WT Partnership Infrastructure reviewed the estimating systems in the market and selected Benchmark Estimating Software for a number of reasons:
- The system offered a “user friendly interface and efficient estimate production”
- The software used First Principle estimating as its basis
- It offered “flexibility in estimate and reporting formats”.
Vincent also points out that Benchmark Estimating Software was named by “NZTA in their Cost Estimation Manual whose procurement [and] estimating procedures are regarded as the highest standard in New Zealand” as another reason for deciding on the system.
Below are some of the key features of Benchmark Estimating Software that were pivotal to WTPI’s decision to invest in our estimating software solution.
Production Rates – helping to achieve more accurate estimates
According to Vincent, WTPI needed something “production/output based” when it came to producing first principle estimates. Benchmark Estimating Software’s Production Rates feature will allow WTPI to take complex aspects of a project into account within their estimates. Production Rates can be assigned to an Item or group of Resources within Benchmark Estimating Software and easily allows users to account for site conditions, such as geotechnical conditions, when pricing a Project. For WTPI this will mean more accurate estimates relevant to the site conditions in all market areas of New Zealand.
Regionalisation – giving WTPI greater control over their estimates
Vincent states that the company was looking for “an estimating package that allowed a comprehensive library of descriptions, unit rates and resource rates to be developed, but these need to reflect the local markets”. Benchmark Estimating Software’s Regionalisation feature addresses this by allowing users to ‘regionalise’ the extensive libraries within their database according to geographic location. When an estimate is created, the price used for a Project is automatically based on where the Project is to be constructed. For WTPI this will mean greater control over their estimates and a comprehensive library that will help retain their corporate knowledge.
Routines – assisting WTPI with time management and rate generation
Part of the challenge faced by WTPI in creating estimates was time management. As Vincent Baldwin points out “the timeframe for production of…estimates becomes compressed” in many situations, therefore, it was important for WTPI to find an estimating system that allowed them to increase the efficiency of their estimating processes and importantly, their rate generation.
Benchmark Estimating Software Routines act like a checklist, asking the user Project specific questions and then, using the latest Resource prices from the central Resource Library, prices the Item for you. This will not only save WTPI time in their estimates but will also ensure a greater level of accuracy in their rate generation and pricing.
With Benchmark Estimating Software WT Partnership Infrastructure can improve the productivity of its estimating personnel and increase the accuracy of the estimates they produce. With features such as Regionalisation, Production Rates and Routines, WTPI will be able to deliver the highest level of value possible to their customers in the Civil Engineering Sector.
For more information on WT Partnership Infrastructure, visit the WT Partnership website.