Project-based estimating is starting to catch on with sheet metal shop owners.

Responses to the performance-based estimating project are increasing daily. More and more sheet metal shop owners, estimators and shop managers are responding to this opportunity to dramatically improve the accuracy of their sheet metal estimating systems while improving their shop and field productivity.

During the lengthy and detailed process of putting together 178 shop-fabrication and field-erection time-study instruction sets, representing 89 rectangular and round HVAC duct and specialty items, rectangular and round industrial duct and specialty items, and architectural/roofing items, I became acutely reminded of the incredibly vast number of fabrication and erection tasks required to complete, and the productivity data required to estimate, even the simplest and smallest of jobs.

With each sheet metal project requiring up to 18 fabrication or erection tasks to complete, establishing a representative estimating database is not easy. That's the bad news.

The good news is that with that number of fabrication and erection tasks being done in your operation, there is a great deal of room for improvement in many, if not most of those shop and field work task procedures.

And more good news is that by simply participating in this performance-based estimating research project, your shop and field productivity can be improved and your estimating database for those tasks can be established to insure your ongoing competitiveness.

Just go to and click on the performance-based estimating link.

Tip of the month

Always calculate labor and material quantities for tee and ell fittings by inputting the cheek size first, followed by the throat and heel depth. The cheek size always determines the difficulty of the ell or tee. A 24-inch cheek x 48-inch-deep square-throated ell with 6-inch throats is an easy ell, requiring only 36.5 square feet of material, while a 48-inch cheek x 24-inch deep square ell with 6-inch throat hard ell requires 60.5 square feet of material.

Radius-throated ells are even more dramatic, with a full-throat radius 24-inch cheeks x 48-inch-deep easy ell requiring only 69.68 square feet of material, while a 48-inch cheek x 24-inch-deep hard, full-radius ell will require 165.68 square feet of material.

Wendes Systems Inc. is now a cooperating sponsor of the performance-based estimating project. Call (888) 406-0300 for more information.