A unit price book (JOC UPB) is a required component of a Job Order Contract. The use of a UPB has been expending across the AECOO sector however as it provides a standardized method of organizing and describing tasks.
A UPB is also a core element of a common data environment (CDE), which is integral to LEAN Construction and BIM.
JOC UPB items allow all detailed costs associated with a renovation, repair, maintenance, or minor new construction project to be transparent to all stakeholders. Communication among owners, contractors, and building users is greatly enhanced, and more focus can be placed upon improving outcomes.
The use of unit cost methodology promotes and requires responsibility and accountability for decisions throughout the project life-cycle.
Job Order Contracting (JOC), a LEAN Integrated Project Delivery Method has required the use of unit price books (UPB) since its origin over twenty-five years ago. JOC’s combination of standardized terms, line item descriptions, data architectures (CSI MasterFormat), and detailed labor, equipment, and material breakdown, and LEAN business practices (shared risk/reward, required collaboration, service orientation, etc.) routinely delivers well over 90% of projects on-time, on-budget, and to everyone’s satisfaction. Compared to most the poor outcomes associated with traditional construction delivery, it’s clear that detailed unit cost information, shared among participants earlier in the project life-cycle, is a viable route to major overall productivity improvement.
Benefits of Unit Cost Line Item Estimating
- Total Cost Visibility/Awareness
- More Efficient Allocation of Resources
- Improved Best Value Decision-making
What is best… National Average Commercial Price Book, Subcontractor Quotes, or a Job Unit Price Book (JOC UPB)
National Average Price Book – National average price books are great for getting ballpark costs quickly. They rely on national average price data and some attempt to localize costs through the use of location factors. This approach is fine for high level estimates, however, researching labor, material, and equipment for a specific city, county, or region delivers far more accurate information.
Subcontractor quote – While contractors traditionally have used internally developed cost books and/or relied upon subcontractors, this approach typically doesn’t provide a transparent and common “language” to communicate a detailed job scope to Owners. The latter is required in order for an Owner to appropriately approve a JOC project. Furthermore, cost data in this format has a very short “shelf-life” and is very difficult to maintain.
Line item construction cost estimates provide the greatest detail, however, also require the greatest skill. Broad construction field experience as well as decades of estimating experience on the part of the estimator are required. LOCALLY RESEARCH detailed line item pricing provide by a capable, independent, objective supplier AND organized in a standardized manner ultimately provided the best overall value to all parties. Unit price estimating can be a time-consuming process. That said, with the assistance of dedicated software, total required time can be reduced and an optimal result achieved.