Cost Estimate Issues

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    Kristen Charters

    For cost estimating, I unfortunately couldn't find any good resources when I was studying (maybe someone will chime in with some). But I found that the questions on the exam tended to provide all the information necessary and it was often fairly straightforward math. It sounds like you were getting more complex questions than I did. Looking back at the handbook, it seems as though their two sample problems were using Fundamentals of Building Construction as a basis for their answers so that could be good to look at if you have it. 

    Others have posted some advice on cost estimating which could be helpful as well to take a look at if you haven't already:

    https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/115009584768-PDD-post-exam-notes-

    https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/115008169748/comments/115004669967

    https://are5community.ncarb.org/hc/en-us/community/posts/115000631287-Good-Study-Source-for-Cost-Estimating-and-Budgeting

    Hope this helps.

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    Michelle Gonzales

    Hi Deepannita,

    I’m sort of familiar with what you are asking about in particular since I’ve seen questions like these pop up a few times during my first fail and passed retake. Similar to Kristen, I didn’t find anything to study on this topic. However, I realized my approach to the estimating questions was wrong. As a result, I either missed out on some additional data or added erroneous data to my math.

    I don’t think NCARB would expect you to add in stock without explicitly requesting that in the question. Meanwhile, I only realized on my second take that understanding what was being asked of me was important in answering the question. I was very close to falling down the wrong rabbit hole again like last time, until I saw something I overlooked in my first read of the sentence, which changed my entire approach to the math problem.

    It’s not much but I hope this helps.

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    David Kaplan

    Deepannita,

    I definitely 100% agree with Michelle - unless specifically asked to do so in the body of the question, you DO NOT need to factor in some sort of "waste percentage" or "stock" amount. 

    I found that the cost estimating questions were simple, however, you really had to make sure you understood exactly what was being asked.  At the end of they day, the ones I got on the exam were all about how much material is needed, multiply that times the cost, and there's your answer.  However, there was ALWAYS  a trick.  It could be in the number of wythes in the wall maybe. 

    I too could not find anything to "study" this section from, so what I did was use all  of the cost estimating sample questions in the ARE Handbook - even those not relating to the specific test I was studying for - and just did those over and over until I felt comfortable.

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    Arbitect

    Thanks much!

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    Jonathan Chertok

    one suggestion in general is to NOT get to work on a question until you review all the answers.

    in some cases there is only two possible answers. this will let you run numbers on only ONE or two examples.

    also there is often some kind of trickeration where the calculation is not straightforward (think using metric unit or cubic inches for concrete or /whatever/).

    also - there is a value engineering question in the provided practice examples. it asks you to perform value engineering on a school or whatever with various descriptions of the "client's" preferred aesthetic. project budget if you run the rough guess-timate number is like $7 million.

    the arguably best choice aesthetically comes in at like $5,000 under the requested VE. it is also the one answer that is effectively in the same specific masterspec category while others involve incorporating different/new trades etc.

    long story short is that this "shortfall" on VE is like 0.005% of the budget (or something similar) and would avoid a whole host of headaches as well as best meet the clients preferred aesthetic. but it is of course wrong because it does not specifically meet the stated VE figure.

    HOW you are supposed to intuit that the VE goal is more important than matching the client's stated aesthetic preference is beyond me but the question is illustrative for the following reasons:

    1. never add any common sense thinking to this exam. you will have a hard enough time trying to figure out what they are asking as it stands so any "external" issues are only going to confuse things.

    2. what seems like a relatively straightforward question rarely is. there is usually some dissonance between the graphics and the words, some non-standard way of drawing, or some mathematical weirdness (odd unit conversions or providing the question and the answer in different units that you may not have had to convert before). i had one drawing on a VE question that i stared at for three minutes trying to figure out what i was looking at and then i discovered a tiny "plan view" notation in the vacant top left corner. so i finally figured out the drawing was a plan view and then i couldn't figure out if i was looking at single units in a pair or if i was looking at 2 individual units.

    it would be good to get a list together of problem sets for this topic if only for future testers.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    any list of problems/sets for brick or CMU? lots of people don’t work these and it would be good to have some examples...........................

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