Express Estimate - Getting started

1. Logging in

The Bldbox Conceptual Estimator is a web-based application that you can use on any device connected to the internet. You can log in here using either your Bldbox Conceptual Estimator account or, if you are a Procore user, you may use your Procore’s account to log in.

Log in form

2. Upload and Label Your Data

To use Bldbox Express Estimate, you first need to input your historical project data. The Estimator will build a predictive model based on these projects. You may add more projects later and your model will be kept up-to-date automatically.

Instructions for Procore users

After logging in, you will see the Historical Data tab where you can select and import your completed historical projects to Bldbox. It is a necessary step, so we can build an estimation model specific to your data.

Historical Data tab

After the first login, go to the Historical Data tab. Here you can add your historical data project-by-project specifying all required parameters of each project. This is a labeling procedure that you need to fulfill just once.

Historical project labeling

Select a project from the list on the left. If the project is not a Multifamily or ground-up construction, it should not be labeled. You may hide it by clicking Hide Project. Please, note that recent projects are more preferable than 10-years old ones. Generally, to build a model requires 15-30 historical projects. The more historical projects you add, the better the model's accuracy.

Here are some tips about labeling:

Name is your project ID. You may change it to the address or property name or whatever you want. The project will be shown later in estimates under this name.

Location. It is better to have fewer locations if possible because every new location will require to be represented by at least 5 projects. We recommend grouping locations into larger geographical regions if they have similar costs and other conditions. I.e. Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond California could all be grouped into a single region.

Building Use and Asset class serve as a classification for your projects. For example, you may have Multifamily for use and market-rate apartments, luxury apartments and student-houses for the asset class. Be consistent labeling this.

The Project budget is the sum of all budget divisions which came from the Procore project and displayed for verification.

Changes to a project's budget in Bldbox does not affect that project in Procore. You can find more tips on the right help panel.

After labeling all fields don't forget to click Save.

Labeled project example

Same thing to do with other projects.

The labeling procedure is needed to be done just once. When you are done with labeling, you may check estimating capabilities. Go to the Estimator tab and create a new estimate. All we need to do is to input the project parameters that we established above.

If you were not able to estimate the project you probably have not enough historical projects labeled. Generally, you need at least 5 projects per location. If you have many different project types, you will probably need even more projects labeled. If you have any questions please contact us using the feedback form at the main page.

Instructions for Bldbox account users

Cost codes

After the first logging in as new company, go to your account in upper right, then Settings - Cost Data tab. Here you need to add Cost codes and descriptions.

To do this, please prepare a spreadsheet in your spreadsheet editor. It should consist of two columns: with cost code and description. No headers required. Select both columns area and copy them (Ctrl/cmd+C).

Source - spreadsheet

After this go to Bldbox Express Estimates and paste copied data in special field as shown below:

Paste cost codes here

After pasting cost codes and descriptions will appear under this field.

Cost codes and descriptions should match all your historical projects. There should not be gaps in the columns or rows - only continuous cost code and description columns.

If needed, you can re-paste data with changes done.

Do not forget to click Save after you done.

Historical data

Now, let's go to the Historical data tab.

Here you can add your historical projects, so Bldbox Express Estimate will be able to build a predictive model for your company.

Historical data tab

Click Add new project on the left panel. Please, note that this tool is intended for new construction and specifically, multifamily projects. More recent projects are preferable to 10-years old ones. Generally, to build a model requires 15-30 historical projects. But the more historical projects you add, the better the model accuracy you get.

Here are some labeling tips:

Name is your project ID. You may change it to the address or property name or whatever you want. The project will be shown later in estimates under this name.

Location. It is better to have fewer locations as possible because every new location will require to be represented by at least 5 projects. We recommend grouping locations into larger geographical regions if they have similar costs and other conditions. I.e. Oakland, Berkeley and Richmond can be grouped into a single region.

Building Use and Asset class serve as a classification for your projects. For example, you may have Multifamily for use and market-rate apartments, luxury apartments and student-houses for the asset class.

The Project budget is the sum of all budget divisions which came from the pasted budget below and displayed for verification.

You can find more tips on the right help panel.

Also, you need to add the project budget, similar to cost data. From your spreadsheet editor now copy and paste 3 columns: cost codes, description, and budget.

Short video of budget import process: https://youtu.be/XPqSC-Gzzgc

If needed, you can re-paste data with changes done. Also, you able to delete project: select the project on the left panel and click Remove.

Remove historical project

After labeling all fields don't forget to click Save.

3. Modeling

By default, our software will try to build a predictive model based on a set of a few simple parameters automatically. If you think that there are other project variables that should be taken into account, please contact us using a feedback form on the main page of the application. Analysis and modelling usually takes 1-2 weeks.