JOC Unit Price Book, UPB for Job Order Contracting Line Item Cost Estimating
A JOC unit price book is a required component of any Job Order Contract. It may also sometimes be called a unit price guide, UPG.
The UPB enables the rapid development, use, and re-use of transparent, reasonably “accurate” construction cost estimates for repair, renovation, repair, maintenance, sustainability, or new construction projects associated with Job Order Contract.
The use of standardized data formats and descriptions which can easily be understood by all Job Order Contract participants is central to 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 in common terms that all parties can easily understand. Abbreviations should be avoided whenever possible.
Each line item task, in addition to being clearly defined in “plain English” should include any associated details such as material, equipment, and labor requirements.
Commercially available unit price books, UPBs, can be used to create reasonable construction cost estimates for a wide variety of task are commonly available. Historically, the major 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 applicable UPBs are now available. (Note: Some vendors attempt to make a distinction between a “JOC book” and a “construction cost estimating” book. This is, of course a marketing exercise, as JOC task orders are, in point of fact, created and described in detail by using line item unit price construction estimating data.)
Other than localization of the UPB to better account for geographically related unit line item variations, Owners should avoid “custom” UPBs, and “custom” unit price line items whenever possible. As JOC specifically targets the numerous and repetitive common renovation, repair, and maintenance projects typically encountered by real property Owners, a standard unit price book is preferable. A standard book minimizes efforts and lowers the costs associated with building, updating/maintaining, and communicating costs, scopes of work, etc.
In terms of construction specifications, the use of standardized construction specifications and/or those specifications currently in use by the Owner also are preferable to custom specifications for the same reason.