Estimating the summer away!

Kelly Civil and Environmental, Internship, Kelly, Viterbi Summer, Work 0 Comments

It is crazy to think that summer is already more than half over, and soon enough I will be back in classes for my senior year! I’m excited for my final year, but I’ve also really been enjoying my summer and don’t want it to end!

Right after school got out, I went to my brother’s graduation from the music school at USC and then went home to Colorado to send time with my family and friends. It was really nice to see my best friends from high school that I hadn’t seen since January, and also spend some quality time with my parents!

Of course the one day it rained in LA: Graduation!

Of course the one day it rained in LA: Graduation!

After my mini vacation home, I was eager to start my summer internship! This summer I’m working for Turner, a general contractor and construction management firm. Specifically, I was placed in the main office down in Anaheim working for the estimating department. Although I didn’t know much about estimating beforehand, I’ve quickly come to really enjoy it!

My welcome sign at my desk!

My welcome sign at my desk!

Estimating takes place in the pre-construction phase of construction, with pre-construction aka “pre-con” being the planning phase of a project before it is actually built. The main purpose of estimating is to figure out how much a project will cost before you build it, and helps to establish the budget for the project.

The summer I’ve been working on two different types of estimates, both with their own unique challenges! The first type is a conceptual estimate, which is an estimate for a project that hasn’t been awarded to a contractor yet and is still in the very early stages of conceptual design. Since there is very limited information, the estimator has to make a lot of assumptions about how they think the project will be designed and built. A conceptual estimate gives the owner a rough idea of how much their project will cost, as generally they ask multiple contractors for an estimate. If the owner likes your initial price and ideas, the conversations will continue with you as the project starts to develop more! Unfortunately I can’t talk about the conceptual estimates I’ve worked on, but you can take my word they are cool.

The second type is a detailed estimate, which is an estimate for a project that has been awarded to a contractor (in my case Turner)! For a detailed estimate, there is substantial information through drawings and specifications. As the estimator you complete takeoffs, which is where you markup and annotate the drawings. Takeoffs help to quantify the building, giving information like the square footage of carpet, the number of double doors, the linear feet of soffit, etc. After finding your quantities, you would need to price them using unit costs which would start establishing the cost of the whole project. Unit costs can be found through your own calculations, past project costs, or published estimating books. It is also important to include general conditions, which are costs for the project unrelated to the permanent structure like equipment rental, project staffing, etc. This summer, I’ve been working on three different detailed estimates for Kaiser hospitals!

An example of a takeoff!

An example of a takeoff!

Besides all the fun I’m having with estimating, there are also a number of fun intern events throughout the summer. Just yesterday we got to go on a job walk of Wilshire Grand, which is a massive skyscraper being built by Turner in downtown LA. Once finished, it will be the tallest building west of the Mississippi. We’ve also had mixers with Turner employees, an estimating event hosted by my boss, and later this summer we will be going to an Angels game!

Wilshire Grand job walk!

Wilshire Grand job walk!

Intern and staff mixer!

Intern and staff mixer!

I’ve also been keeping myself busy on the weekends! I’ve gone on a hike almost every weekend since I love being outdoors. My favorite so far this summer was a hike to Inspiration Point, which offered an amazing view of the Los Angeles area. The hike was long (about 12 miles), but I would definitely recommend it! I’m also playing in a summer ice hockey league, and we have a game every week. It’s been fun getting to play at a really competitive level, and I’m one of the only girls in the entire league!

Feeling on top of the world!

Feeling on top of the world!

I hope you’ve been having a great summer too! Fight on!

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Kelly

Kelly

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Civil Engineering, Class of 2016, Learn more on her profile here!

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