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How to Estimate with RSMeans Data: Basic Skills for Building Construction, 5th Edition

ISBN: 978-1-118-97796-5
336 pages
January 2018
How to Estimate with RSMeans Data: Basic Skills for Building Construction, 5th Edition (1118977963) cover image


A practical, hands-on guide to real-world construction estimating

How to Estimate with RSMeans Datais the only instructional book on construction cost estimating that uses the most popular source of construction cost data, RS Means. This updated fifth edition includes new coverage on the role of Building Information Modeling (BIM) in the estimating process, and over 300 sample problems and exercises that show you how to apply cost data to your building project based on the RS Means 2015 Building Construction Cost Data. The companion website provides access to RS Means CostWorks data, allowing you to use real-world numbers in your practice estimates, and the included Instructor's Manual provides step-by-step solutions to problems in the book. Focused on the practical aspects of estimating, this book emphasizes the application of estimating techniques—which are transferable to any estimating software—through problem solving and the ground-up creation of complete construction project estimates.

Estimating skills are fundamental to the construction industry, and are applied by all parties at all levels throughout the industry. This book is a hands-on guide to the techniques and tools used to create a thorough estimate, with plenty of opportunities for practice.

  • Apply cost data to all aspects of the building project
  • Practice your skills on over 300 sample problems
  • Construct a complete estimate using RSMeans

Besides being an essential construction skill, learning estimating helps you become familiar with reading and understanding construction blueprints and how construction assemblies are built. Mastery of these vital skills is important to your future career, and How to Estimate with RSMeans Data is your ideal guide to a solid foundation.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Basic Calculations

RSMeans Cost Data Format

Productivity and Activity Duration

Equipment Costs

City Cost Indexes and Location Factors

Chapter 2: Spreadsheet Types

Manual Spreadsheets

Electronic Spreadsheets

Using RSMeans CostWorks

Additional RSMeans CostWorks Features

Square Foot and Cubic Foot Costs

Chapter 2 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 2 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 3: Cost Estimating: An Introduction



Types and Purposes of Estimates

Types of Contract Award Methods

Types of Contract Agreements

Chapter 3 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 3 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 4: General Requirements

Estimating General Requirements

Project Duration

Architectural and Engineering Fees

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Builder’s Risk Insurance

Sales Tax

Chapter 4 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 4 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 5: Adjusting RSMeans Data to Job Conditions

Markups on Labor Cost

Interpolation between RSMeans Items

Substituting Known Local Labor Rates

Overtime Productivity Loss and Extra Pay

Effect of Inflation/Cost Escalation

Unit Consistency

RSMeans CostWorks Estimator

Adding, Changing, or Deleting Costs

Chapter 5 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 5 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 6: Concrete

(Division 3)

Types of Concrete

Estimating Concrete

Additional Estimating Examples

Chapter 6 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 6 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 7: Masonry

(Division 4)

Types of Masonry

Estimating and Waste Allowances

Productivity Factors

Quantity Takeoff

Chapter 7 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 7 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 8: Metals

(Division 5)

Estimating Structural Steel

Chapter 8 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 8 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 9: Wood and Plastics, Thermal and Moisture Protection

(Divisions 6–7)

Wood and Wood Products

Nominal versus Real Dimensions

Thermal and Moisture Control

Estimating Wood-Framed Structure

Using Units of Quantity

Chapter 9 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 9 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 10: Doors and Windows, Interior Finish, and Equipment

(Divisions 8–14)

Using RSMeans Costs

Division 8: Openings

Division 9: Finishes

Division 10: Specialties

Division 11: Equipment

Division 12: Furnishings

Division 13: Special Construction

Division 14: Conveying Equipment

Chapter 10 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 10 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 11: Fire Suppression, Plumbing, Mechanical, and Electrical

(Divisions 21–28)

Fire Suppression


Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning



Electronic Safety and Security

Chapter 11 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 12: Earthwork

(Division 31)

Types of Earthwork

Soil Excavation

Truck Capacity

Excavate by Hand or Machine?

Optimum Number of Trucks per Loader

Equipment Rental Costs for Short or Long Periods

Renting versus Owning Equipment

Chapter 12 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 12 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 13: Equipment Analysis

Equipment Depreciation

Equipment Expenses

Equipment Rental

Chapter 13 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 13 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 14: Assemblies Estimating

Preliminary Cost Estimating

Assemblies Estimates

Combining Assemblies and Unit Costs

Chapter 14 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 14 Exercises—Set B

Chapter 15: Approximate Estimates

RSMeans Project Costs

Using RSMeans Project Costs

Chapter 15 Exercises—Set A

Chapter 15 Exercises—Set B

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Author Information

Dr. Saleh Mubarak, PE. holds a Ph.D. in civil engineering, with specialization in construction management. He has over a decade of experience as a structural engineer, cost estimator, field engineer, scheduler, project manager, and instructor. In 2007 he was chosen as part of the PMI team to write the new Project Scheduling certification exam. Dr. Mubarak is currently Head of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering at the College of Engineering in Qatar University. He is the author of Construction Project Scheduling and Control, Third Edition, also published by Wiley.

RSMeans, a division of Reed Construction Data, has been the leading publisher of construction cost data for over 60 years. The company provides products and services to more than 250,000 construction professionals throughout the U.S. and Canada.

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