Wendes HVAC Estimating Blog

Is It Time to Convert From Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets ?

Posted by joseph damelio on Tue, May 11, 2010

 Is it time to convert from Microsoft Excel even though it is producing acceptable estimating spreadsheets? Here are a few questions to ask to detrmine if it may be time for your company to consider the benefits of specialized HVAC Sheet Metal or Piping estimating software.

  • Are you dedicating too many  hours training new estimators how to use your custom spreadsheets accurately and efficiently?
  • Are your competitors underbidding on projects because your material prices or labor hour costs are consistently too high ?
  • Are your competitors providing more professionial bids itemized in greater detail?
  • Are you having difficulty updating estimates and producing change orders with a detailed paper trail?
  • Are you finding it difficult to spend enough time to bid on projects and missing opportunities to grow your business?
  • Are your bid reports and summaries detailed sufficiently to analyze during a project?
  • Are you building a detailed database of labor and material cost on every project? 

Wendes Estimating Consultants will help you determine if specialized HVAC Sheet Metal or Piping Estimating Software is right for you company. A sample takeoff will help you better understand what is involved in setting up an estimating software system and how difficult it will be to learn.Determine if this is the right time to convert from Microsoft Excel Spreadsheets and choose the right specialized estimating system for your company

Topics: converting your HVAC Estimating from Excel spreads, choosing the right HVAC estimating software, how to evaluate HVAC Estiamting software

HVAC Sheet Metal Labor Calculations Are The Cornerstone

Posted by joseph damelio on Thu, Apr 15, 2010
                     Wendes HVAC Sheet Metal  Labor Calculation

The labor hours contained  in the Wendes  HVAC Sheet Metal Estimating Software labor tables are based on 20 years of detailed time and motion studies conducted by Herbert Wendes. Wendes labor estimating hours  have been refined and validated by feed back from many contractors across the nation. The Wendes HVAC labor hours are an accurate representation of industry average labor.

Wendes labor hours are based on a detailed  ‘Per Piece’ fabrication  methodology rather  than  ‘Lbs per Hour’. The  Per Piece  labor estimating process eliminates labor inaccuracy resulting from variations in  the  mix of individual types and sizes of ductwork contained in a project. The cost "per pound"  for individual pieces of ductwork changes based on variations in fitting types, straight duct  and  duct sizes contained in a project. Accurate labor hour calculations cannot effectively be correlated to actual time studies, cost records or labor rate mixtures when using  per pound methodology. Calculating labor hours using  per piece ductwork estimating  reduces  variations in cost per pound by calculating the detailed cost for labor associated with each size and type of ductwork in a  project.

The labor hours calculated in the Wendes estimating software are based on the production rate for a typical mechanic, of average competence and training, under average conditions, using standard equipment, tools,   motivation and supervision. In instances where variations in typical working conditions are experienced, Wendes labor correction factors or adjustments may be applied, at the estimators discretion.

Shop fabrication labor included Wendes  software includes  calculations for the following  additional labor. Shop  fabrication labor inc ludes labor for  unloading raw materials, blanking sheet stock, preparing shop lists, duct labeling,  fitting layout,manual or automated plasma cutting, seaming, forming, assembling, reinforcing and connections. A typical  12% labor hour idle time is applied to the total labor hours.

Field or installation labor includes distribution of ductwork,erection of scaffolds,handling of tools, layout of duct runs, cutting duct hangers and cleats, ductwork hanging time (including straight duct and fitting connections), labor time to remove  erection equipment,  clean up.A typical 15% labor idle time is applied to the total labor hours. Installation hours are based on the time it takes to erect complete duct runs as a batch and not as single pieces. Material handling labor and supervision labor are included with the shop and field hours.

Labor hours in the WenDuct program include all of the following operations in the percentages indicated:


Fabrication Time              Installation

Material Handling                         10%                                 12%  

Set Up                                              5% to 10%                    5% to 10%

Layout Time                                20% to 50%                    5% to10%

Actual Fabrication Time         5%  to 35%                          ------

Actual Installation Time              ----                              30% to50%

Idle Time (Non Productive)        12%                                 15%

Supervision                                         12%                             ------- 

Clean Up                                               5%                                    5%                                                                                                                                                                             



Topics: Accurate HVAC Sheet Metal Labor Calculation, Estimating Labor Cost, HVAC Sheet Metal Estimating Software

Construction Standards For HVAC Ductwork

Posted by joseph damelio on Fri, Apr 9, 2010

Wendes HVAC estimating software allows the estimator  to define duct  construction standards for rectangular, round and oval ductwork for positive or negative pressure classes up to 10" water gage. Ductwork construction standards to unlimited widths in gages 28 to 1/2" and diameters to 96" in gages 28 to 1/2" plate. HVAC duct construction standards are used in the software to accurately calculate material and labor for an estimate by specifying the various aspects of duct construction. SMACNA duct construction standards can be defined. Duct construction standards allow an estimator to  specify what gages, connections, reinforcing and tie rods are to be used for rectangular, round and oval duct.

The duct construction standards are broken down into five different types of ductwork. The ductwork types are specified as standard rectangular duct, spiral duct, oval, industrial and fiberboard. Within the duct construction standard an estimator can establish various water gage classifications from 1/2" to 10" positive or negative water gage. An estimator can establish a wide range of construction standards applicable to specific construction methods.  

Craig Raffaelli

Topics: Cost Estimating, HVAC Sheet Metal Labor Estimating

Improving Your Competitve Position

Posted by joseph damelio on Wed, Apr 7, 2010


   Improving Your Competitive Position 


If you would like to improve your competitive position and increase HVAC Ductwork and Plumbing estimating efficiency, speed and accuracy "Bid A Project On-Line" with a Wendes HVAC software consultant and learn how.

Learn how HVAC Ductwork and Plumbing estimating will produce consistent, accurate bids that are easily analyzed and revised to increase your business bottom line and competitive position. Wendes HVAC Sheet Metal Estimating Software, Plumbing Estimating Software and Piping Estimating Software will deliver real results on your next project.

Contact us to learn how HVAC estimating software can make improve your business growth. Wendes HVAC Sheet Metal Estimating, Plumbing Estimating and Piping Estimating will produce significantly faster takeoff and more accurate results, increasing your bid volume and accuracy.

Wendes HVAC estimating software features intuitive "Windows Real Time technology" that facilitates ease-of-use and makes it easier to learn and implement. 

Accurate HVAC Estimating Material Pricing

Posted by joseph damelio on Tue, Apr 6, 2010

         Accurate Material Pricing and Material Discounts


Pricing services offer HVAC estimators an important advantage when estimating HVAC Piping and Mechanical projects. Rather than forcing estimators to manually type in updated material prices for individual  items as list prices change,material price tables in some estimating software programs are updated automatically with the latest material list price. Material price changes are sent by the software provider as either an email file attachment or CD. Material discount changes from list price are managed in the estimating software specifications where they are entered as a percentage or a multiplier and may be changed at any level within a material table category. Percentage or multiplier changes for different material sizes and descriptions are also entered within a material table category. An estimator can choose to have discounts load from a default specification file into job specifications, or use a software general preference selection to by-pass the job specification and allow job files to look directly at default specifications for material discounts. In either case, having accurate up-to-date list pricing in estimating software tables, with accurate material discounts, is one of the most important factors in preparing an accurate HVAC Mechanical material and labor cost estimate.

Jim Seekamp , Wendes Systems, Inc. 

Accurate Calculation of Extension and Summary Reports

Posted by joseph damelio on Wed, Mar 31, 2010

WenDuct Estimating software provides two types of default specifications for ductwork that apply to a specific ductwork system. Duct Specifications for system types include light gauge ductwork, spiral ductwork, heavy gauge ductwork and fiberglass ductwork. Duct Specifications include fabrication options, waste multipliers, hanger types and supports. General specifications include settings for wage rates,multipliers, discounts and automatic material pricing.

All of the above factors should be accurately completed prior to producing extension and summary reports.It is important to complete information concerning general specifications and duct specifications prior to creating a new system type. For detailed technical assistance contact the Wendes Systems technical support team.    

Wendes Labor Estimating Background

Posted by joseph damelio on Thu, Mar 25, 2010

HVAC Estimaitng Labor Manual

Wendes  Systems, Inc. was founded by Herbert C. Wendes PE who authored an estimating instructional manual designed to assist HVAC Sheet Metal Estimators in the methodology for preparing thorough and accurate HVAC sheet metal labor and material cost estimates.The manual contained a logical step-by-step approach for producing HVAC sheet metal estimates.The detailed unit labor cost data contained in his manual was derived from more than twenty five years of labor studies conducted by Herbert C.Wendes during his career in the HVAC industry. The studies included the various steps in the process for manufacturing and installing HVAC sheet metal ductwork in commercial buildings.Herbert C. Wendes was invited by trade associations and independent companies to conduct workshops throughout North America  instructing estimators in the principles detailed in the instructional manual.

 During 1980 many of the labor calculations and formulas contained in the instructional manual were converted to program language for use with a hand calculator. With the introduction of the IBM XT computer the mathematical formulas for producing labor and material cost were then programed for the DOS operating system and have become more detailed and sophisticated with advancements in computer technology.     

Topics: HVAC Sheet Metal Estimating, Background On Wendes Estimaitng

We Are Often Asked.....What Are HVAC Systems?

Posted by joseph damelio on Wed, Mar 24, 2010

HVACHVAC refers to an air system for heating and cooling in a commercial or residential building. The various components of HVAC systems include a heating furnace, a blower motor assembly, an evaporative coil, a compressor and compressor coil, and  the associated air ducts to distribute air within a building.

HVAC systems are designed to control humidity and circulate air in a building. There are various  types of HVAC systems and equipment used in commercial and residential applications. Some factors to be considerered in the design of HVAC systems include the flow rate and air pressure for the ventilation system. The air velocity and air pressure in a duct system is regulated by the duct size, duct type, fan size, fan velocity,grills, registers and air flow dampers that control air flow in the HVAC ventilation system.
HVAC Sheet Metal Estimating or HVAC Ductwork Estimating genarally refers to the material and labor cost estimates required to construct a heating and cooling ventilating system. All aspects of material and labor cost are itemized to determine the total cost estimate for the HVAC ventilating system. A comprehensive bill of materials based on specific design criteria and specifications for the HVAC system are produced with the associated labor cost for manufacturing and installing a system in a building.  

Topics: HVAC Sheet Metal Estimating, Cost Estimating, Labor Estimating

Effective Detailed HVAC Estimating

Posted by joseph damelio on Tue, Mar 16, 2010

HVAC cost estimatingAn effective detailed mechanical, piping, plumbing or sheet metal estimator should attempt to master the following details prior to an estimate:

1. Develop a thorough understanding of the ductwork and mechanical systems detailed in the drawing.

2. Gain a sound knowledge of materials,  methods and customs prevailing in the trade.

3. Use experience and information collected or gained through an understanding of the trade, relating to materials required, hourly output of workers and equipment, overhead expenses and costs.

4. Develop an understanding of the process for preparing an estimate.

5. Develop a systematic and orderly methodology.

6. Conduct careful and accurate calculations.

7. Collect, classify and evaluate data that would be useful in estimating.
Instruction or careful and thorough study of an estimating  manual will help a beginner to become an effective estimator. Computerized estimating systems offer a methodology and process for effective detailed HVAC Estimating but understanding the fundamentals are important.

Image by: Afroswede

Topics: HVAC Piping, Plumbing, Sheet Metal Estimating fundamnetals