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David Hopkins in ASPE’s Publication, Estimating Today

September 29, 2022

VERTEX’s David Hopkins recently published in the American Society of Professional Estimators (ASPE) ‘The Shape of Data’ where he discusses data analysis for construction projects from pre-construction to closeout.

Introduction to Madness
“Ever sit back and wonder how much data is there, not only available, public, private, collected, but also how much there exists to collect? Maybe do a google on how big is the internet only to find out no one knows? It is wild to think of all the data we have collected, use, analyze, and create daily. The speed at which new data is added is mind-blowing. Data creation surpasses all the available data storage capacity of all the floppy disks in existence in 1996 in less than three days. To put that into perspective, in 1996 there were approximately five (5) billion floppy disks, at 1.44 Mb (megabytes) per disk that’s 2.5 quintillion bytes (2.5 petabytes). That is the amount of data we add to the internet in less than 3 days. There are a few rough estimates out there on the size of all the data, just on the internet, and while it’s not an exact figure, and it changes daily, it’s somewhere in the 94 Zettabytes range (94 septillion bytes or 94,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,000,000 bytes, or 94 googols. While, unless you are a data scientist, it is not our job to figure out what to do with that data. But what do we do with our data, what we create, use, and analyze. Better yet, what data do we need, to create a better process, a better project, a better company, a better future.

A Journey into the Void
Let us examine the role of Preconstruction. There are construction companies all over the world, from the mega GCs to the specialty contractors, to the subcontractors; all of them play a key role in our ever-changing built environment. The ‘preconstruction’ portion of any construction project sets the stage for the success of the project. Sure, there can be a whole host of issues, once the project starts, that can go wrong, but if preconstruction gets it wrong, the chance for any success drops exponentially. On the heels of that statement, we should talk about success and its counterpart failure. These are two data points that if left ill defined, can only lead to a confused and disappointed team. It is imperative to define what project success is, this definition can come from multiple sources, it could be team defined, could be management defined, but it must be defined….” (see page 19).

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