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I was recently contacted by a contractor enquiring about electrical estimating a project for them, they told me it was for some houses and flats, they wanted to know how much it was going to cost, at this point I hadn’t even seen any information. I asked what is their scope of works was, for example did it include ventilation, fans duct, showers. They mis-understood the term ventilation thinking this was mechanical. That actually was my point, very often customer don’t have a clear idea of the scope or if they indeed want to embrace the whole scope. This is an issue in the fact they are asking for a price to undertake an estimate but aren’t clear or sure of their scope.


They told me it was a small job of 6no dwellings. They sent the information over, there was 9 PDF’s I total. After looking over the information I could see there was 6 different dwelling types, and health and safety document and a site plan. The site plan showed the plots and dwelling types. So by comparing the documents I could see the number of dwellings was in fact 72no. I called the customer back and said how many dwellings did you say this project was, “six” they said, and did I think they could do the project for £200,000 and make a profit. Where did the £200,000 come from, they said that’s what they had been told their price needed to be.They contacted their client to verify the number of dwellings and indeed it was 72no not 6no.


This is the classic gingerbread man moment, you know the story the Gingerbread man wants to get across the river, the Mr Fox kindly offers to transport him to the other side, at first the Gingerbread Man hops onto his tail, completely trusting of Mr Fox’s motives, as Mr Fox swims across he encourages the Gingerbread Man to comer ever closer nearer to his head, so he can, “Hear him better”, The Gingerbread Man obliges innocent and unsuspecting, then finally Mr Fox urges him closer, hop onto my nose, the with a flick of the Foxes head the Gingerbread Man is tossed up into the air and then, SNAP!!! Into Mr Fox’s open jaw.  


Back to electrical estimating the dwellings, and the £200,000, There was electrical services to 4no communal areas with fire alarm, lighting etc. lets deduct £8000 for this communal work. We discussed that if we divide £192,000 by 72no that equals £2,666. Let assume profit of £400. We know they require an intruder alarm, SKY that circa £600+£350, That leaves us £1316, let’s say labour is £1000 (House crew rates) , that leaves us £316 to buy cable £250, CU £100, 2 sockets and 8 spurs, 12 switches, and 10 lights etc. . We concluded that we could not obliges Mr Fox on this occasion. PS When Mr Fox was challenged over the £200,000 they requested they just compile the Tender and submit the best price they could.