Managing profitable building projects using ProntoCALC PRO build cost calculator

Nick Cook, an experienced builder and founder of the online build cost calculator ProntoCALC, explains why he developed the `Go Build` section of ProntoCALC to ensure project profitability and to manage projects more effectively.

ProntoCALC has two sections, the first is where the build-cost calculations will produce the budget for your project. Contained within this section are all the rates that do the maths for you, as you enter the quantities a cost schedule in PDF format of 16 pages is produced. It details every aspect of the project that you and your customers need to know. The second section (Go Build) is for when you begin construction, this will help you to financially manage the project itself. As you go through the construction process labour and materials costs are recorded against each project item. At a glance it can be seen if you are running under or over budget, this can remove some of the stress from the cost management. The information will also assist your future projects by checking costs.

The most important aspect of project cost management is the control of design changes/variations. There are two ways to apply a variation in ProntoCALC. On the main site a variation list is created which adjusts the budget. If you have an item not covered in the quantities of the main site, or you have something you wish to remove from the budget, it can be done here. The variations in the `Go Build` section work slightly differently. Sometimes it is important to have evidence based records of additional labour and material costs. Here the daily costs of individual labour and materials can be recorded which are then immediately applied to the budget. It is never a good idea to leave these adjustments to the final moments of a project. This record can be sent as a PDF to the client that will fulfil contractual requirements.

Overview of the ProntoCALC `Go Build` Section

The function of `Go Build` is to assist your management of the build process. It has 5 sections:

  1. Monthly Records – Here you can check the actual build costs against the budget. A daily record is created by clicking on the named contractors and noting the materials delivered to site. The accrued costs are set against each item as you progress the build, so at a glance it can be seen whether you are running under or over budget. The early understanding of how a project is performing financially is highly valuable. This information is also useful for future projects because it can be seen which items are more and which items are less profitable. If your client is being billed on a monthly basis, the summary provides the expenditure to date so the appropriate sum is invoiced.

  2. Variations – Here you can create a variation record of labour and materials, this is done in the same way as the monthly records. The list created also appears on the main site keeping the budget up to date. A PDF report can be generated for each variation which can be sent to your client, helping to satisfy contractual requirements.

  1. Risk Assessments – This simple format should be considered a framework for the builder to begin his assessments. Easily adapted and added to, the legal requirement to create individual site assessments can be fulfilled.

  2. Health & Safety Policy – a legal requirement for any project which can be easily adapted and added to.

  3. Bill of Quantities – This is generated from the information entered on the main site. It will provide you with a list of quantities for all of the main materials needed for your build project. A useful time saving function where the user needn`t review the drawings to re-measure quantities.

Effective cost management is the key to success when running a project. For cash flow the Invoicing of the appropriate sums through the project is highly important. Also the final invoice will be greatly influenced by the design changes and variations that need managing. ProntoCALC `Go Build` helps the builder and client work together to ensure that the project runs smoothly. It allows the Builder to keep an up-to-date schedule of all the Client’s requested variations.   A good build cost system will help you prevent profit leakage and track each change, Project Managers/Builders can therefore closely monitor all variation works. ProntoCALC `Go Build` will provide the records and reports so that the Client is only asked to pay for works carried-out, the Builder will then get paid for all of these works.

ProntoCALC allows you to easily estimate costs involved when building an extension, new build, barn conversion or other types of building work. It makes it quicker and easier for you to price work and presents the costs in a 16 page format that will win you work.

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