Line Item Cost Estimating based upon a locally researched, Unit Price Book, is a core element of any successful JOC Program.
A JOC unit price book, sometimes called a unit price guide, (UPG), is a required component of a Job Order Contract.
The UPB enables the rapid development, use, and re-use of transparent detailed construction cost estimates for repair, renovation, repair, and minor new construction in association with a Job Order Contract.
The use of standardized data formats and descriptions, easily understood by all participants, is important for any successful JOC program. CSI Masterformat (registered trademark of The Construction Specifications Institute) is the North American standard data format for organizing JOC unit price books. Unit price books should provide consistent clear descriptions of each line item using common terms that all parties can easily understand. The use of abbreviations and acronyms should be minimized.
Each line item task, in addition to being clearly defined in “plain English”, should include associated detailed information and costs for material, equipment, and labor requirements.
Historically, the majority of Job Order Contracts have used the “Facilities Cost Data” books published by the R.S. Means Company, LLC. Lower cost, and equally or more useful UPBs are now available. (Note: Some vendors attempt to make a distinction between a “JOC book” and a “construction cost estimating” book. JOC task orders are, in point of fact, created and described in detail by using locally researched line item unit price construction estimating data.
Other than localization of the UPB to better account for geographic variation, Owners should avoid “custom” UPBs, and “custom” unit price line items whenever possible. As JOC specifically targets numerous, repetitive, and common renovation, repair, and maintenance projects typically encountered by real property Owners, a standard unit price book is preferable. This approach lowers the costs associated with building, updating/maintaining, and use of the cost book. It also improves overall communication and ease-of-use.
The use of standardized construction technical specifications, and/or those specifications currently in use by the Ownerm is also preferable to custom specifications for the same reasons.