Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for estimating structural steel erection and other steel related construction work activities. These Excel workbooks are groups of tabbed spreadsheets with built in formulas for estimating structural steel erection, miscellaneous-steel work activities, steel decking and siding installation, rebar placement, pre-engineered building assembly and pricing contract change orders. These take-off spreadsheets, in a single workbook self-generate a bid proposal, a scope letter, a daily man/hrs log unique to each project and can function as an Earned Value Management System by calculating values as earned and man/hrs earned. The estimator take-off work-sheets reflect work specific unit prices, work activity durations, man/hr and equipment cost totals and generate an accurate, easy to organize, schedule of values.

Our Excel spreadsheets include built in calculations for estimating the following steel construction:

Structural steel erection
Miscellaneous steel installation
Steel decking and siding
Rebar placement
Pre-engineered building systems


Our spreadsheets have the following benefits:

  • Saves Time!
  • More Accuracy
  • Automated calculations
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I have worked in the steel erection industry, as an ironworker, for 36 years; the past 20 years as a structural steel estimator. I have developed and currently use this Excel based program for steel erection cost estimating and on contracted projects as the project management system.

BID PROPOSAL spreadsheet is linked to all the take-off work-sheets and calculates a lump sum dollar amount and can also reflect phase specific “breakout” prices.

The STRUCTURAL STEEL spreadsheet calculates steel erection costs for single or multi-phase projects. Built in formulas calculate the cost of steel erection by the number of structural steel members erected per day. The work-sheets show the cost per ton and can show, for comparison only, costs per ton based on a simple built in database.

The MISC STEEL spreadsheet contain formulas that calculate installation costs. A guide number (unit price of familiar similar work) can be entered into each work-sheet. This “unit price” calculates, for comparison only, the time allowed for a crew plus equipment to install at that designated cost per ton. The estimator enters the time he determines necessary for installation of each take-off item and the work-sheet calculates each unit price according to his choice.

Separate DECKING and SIDING spreadsheets calculate installation cost per area. A per square foot guide number can be entered into each work-sheet. This “unit price” shows the time allowed for the crew plus equipment to install at a designated cost per square foot. This guide number calculates the time allowed for installation at the specific “unit price” entered, depending upon the size of the area. For instance, by entering a guide number of .30 (per sq ft), the work-sheet will show that a crew of three men plus equipment can install 5,000 sq ft of decking in 14.7 hrs (depending upon wages and equipment rates). Likewise it will show that the same crew can install 2,000 sq ft of decking in 6.2 hrs at .35 per sq ft, 800 sq. ft. in 3 hrs at .42 per sq ft, or a very small area of 200 sq ft in 1.5 hrs at .83 per sq ft. Again, these crew hrs show up as guide numbers only, the estimator enters the amount of time he determines necessary for installation of each take-off area and the work-sheet calculates each unit price according to his choice.

The REBAR and PRE-ENGINEERED BLDG spreadsheets have formulas for calculating that specific type of work activity. These formulas work much like the calculations in the miscellaneous steel and decking work-sheets, including the use of unit price guide numbers.

A self-generating FOREMAN’S CHECKLIST shows the number of units (bms, sq ft, tons etc) and the man/hrs scheduled for each work activity as recorded in the various take-off work-sheets. An onsite foreman, with a hard copy of this checklist can, weekly or monthly, mark the number of units completed or the percent complete. This job-site count when entered into the bid take-off work-sheets generates a perfectly accurate progress billing.

A self-generating SCHEDULE OF VALUES reads all the estimator’s take-off work-sheets and lists the costs and man/hrs of each. The contractor builds the schedule of values by clicking and dragging particular work activities, values, earned hrs and earned hrs into a specific billing phase. These billing phases reflect groups of work activity values and man/hrs. This schedule used with the foreman’s checklist and daily log becomes the project Earned Value Management System, it calculates values as earned and man/hrs earned as the take-off units (bms, joists, lbs, sq ft, etc) are marked complete or the percent complete and registers those amounts in the appropriate progress billing phases.
A job-site foreman’s daily LOG PAGE is self-generating and/or can be edited to suit each project. It reads the completed schedule of values and creates a column for each billing phase. A work comp code can be assigned to each of these phases. The daily man/hrs worked are logged into one or more of the log page columns daily for payroll purposes. These logged hours can then be entered into a corresponding weekly log within the schedule of values spreadsheet. This provides for an easy side-by-side productivity comparison; allowing management to compare man/hrs earned to the actual man/hrs expended.

The CHANGE ORDER spreadsheets when priced are automatically logged in the schedule of values speadsheet, then as contract change orders are issued the values and scheduled man/hrs register as a new line item in the schedule of values. Change orders can be priced per work activity by crew plus equipment per hour rates or they can be estimated using a unit price take-off work-sheet linked to each change order form. These take-off work-sheets have built in unit price guide numbers exactly like the miscellaneous steel forms.

A self-generating editable SCOPE LETTER linked to the BID PROPOSAL automatically lists the proposed inclusions, exclusions, and conditions.

The SCHEDULE spreadsheet reads man/hrs and crew/hrs from all the take-off work-sheets and generates a simple bar chart reflecting the duration of each work activity. It also shows the accumulated durations of all similar work activities.

I have used and refined the above described Excel estimating program to price structural steel, joist and decking, steel siding, rebar and pre-engineered buildings for the past fourteen years. I use the take-off sheets for every job I price regardless of size or complexity. When a project is bid and successfully contracted the BID take-off immediately becomes the project management tool: an Earned Value Management System (EVMS). It is used for progress billing, for productivity comparisons, to compare scheduled durations with actual performance and also for impact claim documentation.

Gordon L. Woods


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