“I’m not trying to be an estimator” is a phrase you’ll likely hear if you spend even a few minutes discussing work with Elizabeth Battaglia. It also may come as a surprise, once she divulges everything involved in her daily workload at InnoTech Construction, most of which require some amount of estimating to properly complete. “Federal contracting and bidding, bids for commercial projects, responding to and issuing RFPs, ordering materials, construction management,” said Elizabeth, as she listed some of her more common tasks off the top of her head. “I’m trying to do 10 jobs at once,” she added with a laugh.
Adding to the impressiveness of her work ethic is the fact that Elizabeth has only been with InnoTech for a few months. In that short time, she’s worn an increasing number of hats. This, though, would come as no surprise to those that know her well. In fact, Elizabeth was specifically recruited because of her high capacity. When InnoTech’s founder asked a friend if they knew anyone who could run the contracts department of a large construction company while staying highly attentive to details, the friend immediately thought of Elizabeth. Within a few weeks, she was hired. There was, however, one thing Elizabeth told InnoTech she needed in order to support her new role: software.
“All of us who are doing estimates, our lives are timed in minutes. And estimates take the most time. It’ll save you so much time on your processes and systems.”
From Hours of Hand Calcs to Takeoffs in Minutes
Before her start at InnoTech, Elizabeth already had a colorful career, having worked as a meteorologist at a news station, an engineering project manager and a technical writer for the CDC during the Ebola Response and the Flint, Michigan water crisis. Eventually, Elizabeth found her way to the construction industry and began a master’s degree in engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
As part of her studies, Elizabeth was introduced to RSMeans construction cost data when an estimating professor had her class use the RSMeans Data Online free trial to pull costs for tasks and materials. “It’s got [costs for] everything you can possibly imagine,” Elizabeth said about RSMeans Data Online. But her professor left out on key piece of information: That the online platform could calculate estimate totals automatically. “He made us hand calc all of our estimates,” Elizabeth recalled. “It took hours to do one estimate.”
Even so, Elizabeth knew she needed an RSMeans Data Online subscription when she started at InnoTech. She told her new employer, “I can do these takeoffs, but I need RSMeans data.” It was only after receiving her subscription license that she learned how capable the program truly was. “I did the takeoff, got the dimensions, then stuck it all in RSMeans Data Online, and it calculated it all for me!” She was elated. No more hours wasted on hand calculating estimates. Now she could create one in a matter of minutes. “For someone who is as busy as I am, I love it,” she remarked.
The Right Tool for the Job: RSMeans Data Online
“All of us who are doing estimates, our lives are timed in minutes. And estimates take the most time. It’ll save you so much time on your processes and systems. No more having to enter it all into a spreadsheet. RSMeans Data Online does all the calcs for you.”
The time savings Elizabeth gains from RSMeans Data Online is enabled by the platform’s ease of use. “Everyone says, ‘Give it to a cost estimator.’ We are doing it all, and RSMeans data gives us everything we need to support our estimators. With the amount of volume our estimating team provides, I can estimate things that, traditionally, I wasn’t able to do on my own. Even for someone who’s not an estimator by training, you can do it and not have fear, it’s so user friendly.”
“I don’t know how a construction company can’t be using RSMeans data.”
While RSMeans Data Online isn’t the only software tool Elizabeth uses on a daily basis, it’s one she deems essential. “I don’t know how a construction company can’t be using RSMeans data. Even if you had historical data, I would still want RSMeans Data Online to validate it. When you have historical data, you’re stuck with that for two, maybe three years. But this is all up to date.” Perhaps the best testament she can give is this: “I use it every day. I’m always looking something up”
Gordian is proud to be a part of the daily work that Elizabeth and other hardworking staff do to keep young companies like InnoTech moving. Our proprietary RSMeans data solutions have served as the gold standard for estimating construction projects for more than 80 years. Whether you’re an estimator, contractor, engineer, architect, building owner – or if you wear many hats each day, like Elizabeth – RSMeans data can help bring efficiency to your workflows. Find out more about our cloud-based estimating platform at rsmeans.com/online.