Prep2Bid: A New Path to Success for Design Firms and Architects

On June 16, Brad Tubbs, President and CEO of Willis Construction Consulting, hosted a virtual discussion with Mark Gustetter and Tim Wagoner, both experienced architects based in Florida. Their topic was Prep2Bid, a promising new service that offers cost estimating benefits for architects and design firms.

You can access the webinar replay here to listen to the whole conversation. Below, we’ve summarized a few of the key takeaways from the discussion:

What is Prep2Bid?

Prep2Bid is a unique new program created by Willis Construction Consulting (WCCI), aimed at helping architectural and design firms achieve accurate cost estimates during the initial stages of the design process. Traditionally, the cost estimating process doesn’t start until the contract has been proposed to the design firm — or even until the contractors are hired, which can potentially result in mismanagement of the project’s budget. WCCI identified the gap in the typical construction and design process and created Prep2Bid to give firms a better understanding of the potential costs of a project prior to hiring contractors and project managers.

Leveraging WCCI’s expertise with Prep2Bid

The expertise of a design firm is exactly that — design — which is why taking advantage of a service like Prep2Bid can be beneficial. WCCI’s experienced construction solutions team helps design firms effectively manage client expectations by discussing the budget early, resulting in minimal surprises with cost and maximum savings.

WCCI’s end goal is to provide design firms and architects with cost estimates that will maximize their budget. In order to fully understand the project’s scope, they consult directly with the design team or client to ensure contractors and construction managers are allocating funds appropriately. Additionally, they will reach out to the marketplace, contractors, and subcontractors to check that costs are fitting within the estimate.

Prep2Bid can start as early as the programming stage ends and the owner has a number in mind. A cost estimate at this early stage can provide critical insight into whether it’s necessary to readjust expectations or raise more funding.

How Prep2Bid offsets unexpected and avoidable construction costs

There are times when a proposed budget may be unrealistic for the project’s needs. This can be problematic because the fee and scope of work depends on the construction budget. If the budget is inaccurate, the designer cannot provide the owner with solutions, which could potentially delay the process. Additionally, the end result might not be exactly what the client envisioned. Prep2Bid steps in at that critical initial juncture to ensure the feasibility of a proposed budget in light of the scope of the project.

WCCI also works as a reference point for project owners to offer support on budgeting correctly so they won’t have to overspend or repitch for more funds. For example, publicly funded projects for school systems often have a set budget they can’t exceed. Prep2Bid can be crucial here, helping project managers prioritize and make key decisions that maximize funds.

Benefits of using an independent estimator

An independent estimator holds an impartial view of the project. They support all parties because they report on the numbers only, and don’t have a vested interest in what the budget is. Working with an independent estimator gives owners an edge over their competitors.

An independent estimator can also advise designers, architects, and owners on material costs, which fluctuate frequently in the building and construction trades. They will go through pricing in specific markets and the current time frame in which the client wants to complete the project. This helps all parties manage their costs during the initial stages and their budget throughout the process.

Because the construction process can be complex, an independent estimator and construction solutions provider will also offer clients best practices for verifying functionality and aesthetics and running an analysis on life cycle cost.

Start a conversation with one of our experts and discover how you can gain construction cost clarity with minimal guesswork through Prep2Bid. Contact WCCI today.

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