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Thread: Rule of Thumb for estimating man-hours?

  1. #1
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    Millersport Ohio - U.S.A.
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    Rule of Thumb for estimating man-hours?

    Please let me introduce myself before asking my question.

    My name is Eric and I'm a Network Engineer in central Ohio. I do have a background that includes a lot of low voltage cabling in single-family & MDU residential units and in commercial sites (retrofit & greenfield) but I never really got into the high voltage side.

    Currently I'm working on preparing an RFP that involves about 150 sites all of the US that will include both low voltage, mainly UTP cable AND electrical installations, some of which will almost certainly include conduit installation.

    I won't be doing the installations myself, but I do need to have a clue in those areas where I don't have experience. OBVIOUSLY, I need to buy a NECA manual. Hopefully I can expense that since they aren't cheap, but I thought it would be helpful to have SOME sort of starting point to assist me in bringing my boss down to the real world on this project.


    So here's the basic question...

    Assuming a two man team, is there a rule of thumb to make a general guess-timate of the man-hours required to install a run of conduit?

    Such as: 500 linear feet of metallic conduit installed over a 10 foot suspended ceiling = X number of hours per Y number of feet?

    I realize that such a rule of thumb wouldn't be useful for cost estimating, and that the answer will vary based on the schedule, wall penetrations and may be quite different from non-metallic conduit. But that's OK... I just need to be able to make an educated guess of the man-hours required to complete a single site installation if I know how many electrical/data runs I have and what installation standards I'll need to follow.



    Secondary question...
    Is there an electronic/DVD/subscription version of the NECA Labor Units manual that anyone is very happy with and would suggest as an option?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    591
    ...........................................Mat Unit $ Mat Cost Total Lab Unit Lab Hrs Total

    500' - (size/type conduit) x = x =
    55 - couplings
    10 - connectors
    10 - bushings
    65 - hangers
    4 - J-boxes
    (whatever else is req) ______________ ________________

    TOTALS Total Mat Cost Total Lab Hrs


    Add mat tax, lab hrs x average rate of 2 men
    Add expenses, labor burden, OH&P

    Get the labor book

  3. #3
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    Jul 2005
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    Well darn. I could not get the page to line up right.
    I'll work on it

  4. #4
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    Thanks for replying.

    If it helps, the cost really isn't relevant to me. I'm only looking to make a guesstimate regarding time, not money.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    Time cost is more than material, as in material will be a fixed cost, time flys, time control will make or break you. The gen. rule of thumb is you are low on time.
    NECA times will normaly be high if you have a good crew, with good info., with a good leader (watching time).

  6. #6
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    Efficiency of the crew is directly proportional to how much they are paid.

    Even though that was a joke there is fair amount of truth to it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    Efficiency of the crew is directly proportional to how much they are paid.

    Even though that was a joke there is fair amount of truth to it.
    I was also going to address the efficiency of the crew, leaving out the pay part.

    The difference between one crew, or even just a couple of people, and another doing the same job can vary by 100 percent.
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  8. #8
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    I would like to add to the above, it's not necessarily about motivation or skill, either. For instance, Jason and I are both over 6 feet tall and had no problem running conduit on the ceiling of a cooler without a ladder. The other two guys were 6 inches shorter than we were and had to at least stand on the first rung of a step ladder to do the job. Jason and I could easily run twice as much pipe as the other two guys because we weren't dragging a ladder around and going up and down a step for every few feet of work. I am sure the labor estimate did not include a journeyman tallness factor.
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  9. #9
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    south texas
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    alot of the labor cost will depend on crew efficiency. i worked on a two man team ( we had 3 crews of two), in the air ( scissor lift) my partner (or myself) would install a coupling on his end of each piece of pipe before it went up, we wore cloth "nail aprons" with screws, conduit straps, etc at our waists, we had "parts boxes" that hung on the lift rails. made for quick work, and we hustled. we didn't get drunk at night, don't smoke and took breaks when we were supposed to. didn't (stop work to bs in the lift). all these factors come into play. some folks will think (may think) bringing up this sort of stuff is "pricky", but if you're trying to make money, it all factors in. i've actually run guys over in a ditch (pushed 'em out of the way) because they wouldn't get thier dead asses moving. i don't like a slacke. not every body needs to run, but it is "work " after all. i worked foir a fellow who used to tell the dead weight "work like you want to keep your job" you may have to shift guys to figure out who works best with whom, there are alot of ways to figure out "best efficiencies of your current manpower" but it may take some watching and experimentation

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Saint Joe, Arkansas
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    Quote Originally Posted by PEDRO ESCOVILLA View Post
    alot of the labor cost will depend on crew efficiency. i worked on a two man team ( we had 3 crews of two), in the air ( scissor lift) my partner (or myself) would install a coupling on his end of each piece of pipe before it went up, we wore cloth "nail aprons" with screws, conduit straps, etc at our waists, we had "parts boxes" that hung on the lift rails. made for quick work, and we hustled. we didn't get drunk at night, don't smoke and took breaks when we were supposed to. didn't (stop work to bs in the lift). all these factors come into play. some folks will think (may think) bringing up this sort of stuff is "pricky", but if you're trying to make money, it all factors in. i've actually run guys over in a ditch (pushed 'em out of the way) because they wouldn't get thier dead asses moving. i don't like a slacke. not every body needs to run, but it is "work " after all. i worked foir a fellow who used to tell the dead weight "work like you want to keep your job" you may have to shift guys to figure out who works best with whom, there are alot of ways to figure out "best efficiencies of your current manpower" but it may take some watching and experimentation
    Unless you are avery small shop where you know exactly what quality of worker you are using for a job bid the book.

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