Construction Addenda and Scope of Work

Candels uses the acronym “B.A.D.A.S.S” to remember the steps in construction estimating. The “A” represents addenda and the “S” represents scope of work.

As you may recall from previous blog posts, we discussed B, bid forms and invitation to bid; A, alternates and allowances; and D, drawings. Having this acronym to refer to will ensure that you don’t miss anything when reviewing the project documentation.

The “A” (Addenda) and the “S” (Scope of Work) of B.A.D.A.S.S.

Sometimes an addendum will be a simple narrative, while other times and addendum will include new drawings. These new drawings may have changes “ballooned out” so they are easily identifiable, however there are times when there are changes that are not identified! Always try to overlay the drawings to ensure that you cover any changes!

You learn something new every day!

Every time we teach the electrical estimating apprenticeship, I make the statement “You learn something new every day.” While Marc and I have had this business for 15 years, during this class, Carrie noted that she has seen in the specs that if the addenda received are not listed on your proposal, your bid can be automatically rejected. Honestly, I never knew that! That is why I love class participation. You never know who will come up with a great idea or comment about the estimating process!

Pay attention to the scope of work!

A statement about the scope of work is important to review before you start your take-off. You may assume that a certain system is part of the work, but the scope of work may prove otherwise! Pay close attention to “materials supplied by others” and “work under separate contract.” Sometimes the owner may supply lighting fixtures while the electrical contractor will install them. Other times, a complete system will be under a separate contract, such as fire alarm or tel/data wiring, devices, terminations, patch panels and racks for example. Note: even if a system is under a separate contract, you, as the electrical contractor may be responsible for raceways! Be sure to review all the documentation so you cover the costs appropriately.

Other Things to Look For: Mock-ups, extra materials, and warranties!

At the risk of running long on this blog, I do want to mention three things that can potentially impact the cost of your project.


Mock-ups are common, especially in hotels. A mock-up is usually set up in a warehouse and an entire room, such as a hotel room, will be built so that the designer can see if the room will work as intended. What this means for you as an estimator is that you have to carry the material and labor costs of lighting fixtures, devices, and wiring for the mock-up. These devices are usually retained by the owner. Make sure to carry enough labor for your electrician to “adjust” anything that the designer deems necessary.


A one-year warranty is pretty standard on most projects, however, some projects require two or even a five year warranty on some parts. If that is the case, you want to be sure to carry the cost of the extended warranty. The cost will depend on the item(s) you are covering. A good tip, if the warranty is not specified, is to put a statement in your proposal to the effect of “warranty limited to the extent of the manufacturer’s warranty.”

Spare Parts

Extra materials and spare parts should be covered in your estimate. If your project requires supplemental fixtures as noted in the specs, make sure that your vendor quotes these items! We like to include notes to this effect on our count sheets to ensure that the vendor is aware of the extra materials. Spare parts are also known as “attic stock.” Again, make sure that your vendor quotes these items.

Next up is a discussion about the specifications. We always say that the “devil is in the details” and the specs prove that most of the time! Stay tuned!

Electrical Estimating Apprenticeship – B.A.D.A.S.S. (Day 3)

The electrical estimating apprenticeship Day 3 started with a review of take-off components which we call B.A.D.A.S.S.

Be a B.A.D.A.S.S.

Years ago, we developed this acronym for our new estimators to remember all the components of bidding documents.

B – Invitation to Bid and Bid Forms

A – Allowances and Alternates

D – Drawings

A – Addenda

S – Scope of Work

S – Specs

B stands for Invitation to Bid and Bid Forms

Just because you receive an Invitation to Bid doesn’t mean that you should bid the project. We discussed having the time, tools, and resources to be able to complete the job per the requirements. Needless to say, if you are deficient in any area, you may have to reconsider bidding that project. 

The Invitation to Bid is your first introduction to the project. It will include project name, location, and bid date, as well as what trades will be required on the project. It will also include information on pre-bid meetings and walk-throughs. Pay attention if attending the walk through is mandatory in order to submit a bid! Also, look around and see who is there. It will give you a good idea of which competitors are considering bidding the project.

Minority participation may be also be required. If you are bidding as a prime, you will have to be sure to satisfy the minority requirements. If you are a minority contractor, pay attention to the bid forms and what your advantage will be. Often you will receive a 10% consideration for the work.

The Invitation to Bid will also include information about whether bonding will be required. We discussed bid, payment and performance bonds. Simply, a bid bond ensures that “you will complete the job for the quoted price.” A payment bond ensures “a contractor will pay your subs and suppliers.” A performance bond ensures “a contractor will complete the job as stated.”

Jobs can either be public or private. Public jobs are bid strictly by “plans and specs” and no exceptions are made. Private jobs, on the other hand, have a lot more latitude.

A stands for Allowances and Alternates

Always review the bid documents, including the bid form and front end specifications for allowances and alternates. Allowances could be required for just about anything. Sometimes it will be a fixed dollar amount to be “used at the discretion of the GC” sort of like a pre-paid change order. Other times, the specs will state to carry a dollar amount for a system that is not designed.

Look at the alternates before you start your take-off so that you can identity the areas of the alternates before you start your take-off. Believe me; this is a time saver!

D is for Drawings

If I have said it before, I will say it again. Always ask for a full set of drawings because you will be responsible for anything electrical regardless of what drawing it is on. Look at the drawing index and make sure you have all the drawings. Review the RCP’s for ceiling type and height and the architecturals for wall construction.

If you follow a systematic approach to your electrical estimating process, you will undoubtedly identify the true cost of the project, which is the estimator’s role.

Day 4 follows with more BADASS tips! Stay tuned!