B2 W Estimate With Users

EPCOR Adopts B2W Estimate for Distribution & Transmission and Technologies Units

July 10, 2020
With B2W Estimate, the company built a process to give crews a level of detail previously unavailable. 

Aligning estimated and actual costs was a key challenge that drove EPCOR — which builds, owns, and operates electrical, natural gas and water transmission and distribution networks, as well as water and wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary and stormwater systems, and infrastructure in Canada and the United States — to adopt B2W Estimate for its Distribution & Transmission and Technologies business units.

“We were utilizing spreadsheets and another software which wasn't designed for estimating,” said Jason Pettigrew, Manager, Estimating. “These methods were not very dependable and did not allow us to track our actuals vs. estimates very well. For a large percentage of our projects, the actual costs varied by more than 20% from the estimate. With B2W Estimate, we’re seeing some projects averaging a 2% variance.”

Spreadsheets made it difficult for EPCOR — which also provides electricity, natural gas, and water products and services to more than two million residential and commercial customers in Canada and the United States — to track actual costs in comparison with an estimate while jobs were underway, critical data for staying on track and under budget. 

With B2W Estimate, the company built a process to give crews a level of detail previously unavailable.

“Now they can see how the jobs were bid and they have a side-by-side comparison of planned versus actual costs,” Pettigrew said. 

He calculates the software has freed up the equivalent of seven full-time employees, allowing them to focus on designing projects.

“A main reason we chose B2W was the ability to customize for the wide variety of work we do,” Pettigrew said. “Through the templates we have built, the software works with all levels of our business, including engineering, design, power distribution, fiber optics installation, streetlight infrastructure, traffic infrastructure and light rail transit construction. The users may not be seasoned estimators but, with the templates, they can still complete estimates fast and efficiently.”

Along with speed and accuracy, B2W Estimate has brought more strategy and analytical capacity to the estimating process at EPCOR.

“With the added ability to break out all tasks by cost code, we can now track every aspect of our jobs to find where we lack, where we excel and where we should make adjustments in how we are estimating and bidding,” Pettigrew said. “This ability to analyze every facet of work that we do has allowed us to find many efficiencies that were overlooked in the past.”

Pettigrew and one other estimator worked with B2W Estimate and gained confidence before rolling it out to more users, including engineers who also have responsibility for estimating.

“A key selling point for us was that the B2W product allows an entry-level estimator to put together an estimate with minimal effort and time,” he adds. “The buy in part was easy, as this is an elite product. The ease of use  and the ability to save time exceeded expectations.”

Pettigrew did an experiment common among new B2W Estimate users before rolling the software out to the entire company. 

“We went back and estimated a specific job that we had already executed, but we kept the actual costs hidden,” he said. “That test came within 2% of the actuals, while the original estimate was off by more than 20%. That proof of concept made buy in from senior management extremely easy.”

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of T&D World, create an account today!