About » Estimating and Tendering – Course Outline

Estimating and Tendering – Course Outline

Course Structure

This course is intended to introduce plumbing tradespeople to the science (or art) of estimating various sections of plumbing works, and collate and present that estimate using computer-based job management software.

Note: Participants must bring their own internet enabled laptop to the course (free WiFi will be available).

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand how to accurately take-off and measure the various subdisciplines within the plumbing field
  2. Enter the take off line items into a computer application ( Groundplan)
  3. Apply accurate material and labour rates to these take offs (SimPro)
  4. Understand overhead and profit, and accurately apply both to the estimate
  5. Adjudicate and present a tender
  6. Return a priced Schedule of Quantities back to the main contractor.

The course is focused around estimating and tendering sanitary plumbing and water supply. The drainage and roofing subtrades will be the subject of future courses of a similar structure.



The course is about learning how to estimate and tender a sample plumbing project, creating and using PreBuilds and Take off Templates within the Groundplan and SimPro webbased take off and job management packages.

Skills demonstrated on this course will be transferable to a project of any size.

You will be provided with a trial account of both Groundplan and Simpro.  If you already have subscriptions to these application you can use them on the course.

During the course you will create "Prebuilds" in SimPro and create enough background data to be able to progress the estimate using the software.

Drawings for a sample job have been prepared. The job is an elevated, first floor office WC block fitout, with sanitary plumbing pipes in the form of an AS/NZS 3500.2 Group Vented Branch. This branch is connected into an existing 100mm sanitary stack. Cold water is supplied from an existing copper  riser, located in a vertical services shaft, and carried to the new hot water cylinder in PPR 80 pipe. Hot and cold water is reticulated from this cylinder to the individual fixtures and faucets in PPR 80 pipe.

it will be the course Participant's task to measure and list all materials and labour associated with this or variations to this project. Measuring will be carried out in line with the requirements of NZS 4202 Standard method of measurement of building works.

Once all measurements are completed, line items will be created as Pre-Builds in SimPro. Material and labour rates will be calculated and applied to each line item within the Favourite.

Overheads applicable to a small plumbing company will be assessed and applied to the estimate. Profit will be discussed and an appropriate percentage applied, forming the basis of the tender.

Presentation of the tender will be discussed and a suitable layout applied.

Actions to be taken should the tender be successful will be discussed, including how to calculate the mark-up percentage for a priced Schedule of Quantities.

Throughout these activities, participants will be provided with numerous worksheets. These worksheets will introduce order and discipline into the take off, estimating and tendering process. After the course, the participants can use these worksheets whenever they estimate a project.



The course runs over three consecutive days.

Participants should bring along the following items:

  • Your own internet enabled laptop (free WiFi will be available)
  • A4 notepad
  • Scale ruler, capable of reading scales of 1:200, 1:100, 1:50
  • Colouring pencils and/or various coloured felt tip pens
  • Eraser
  • Red, black and blue ballpoint pen
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Calculator (simple model, capable of doing add, subtract, multiply, divide and percentage calculations).


Course Presenter

Peter Downey is a NZ Certifying Plumber, a Queensland licensed drainer, and holds a New Zealand Certificate in Quantity Surveying. He is a director of HSCNZ Ltd, New Zealand’s foremost plumbing design company.

Peter is well known within the plumbing industry in New Zealand, being the main interpreter of Australian Standard plumbing on its introduction in 1994/5, delivering seminars on how the system works to hundreds of plumbers at numerous workshops throughout the country.


Course Job Management Software Platform

The course recognises there are numerous computer-based job management software packages available for plumbers: simPRO, Fergus, Tradify, WorkflowMax and Buildxact are but a few.

For the purposes of ease of navigation and consistency of demonstration during the course, one platform must be selected. For these reasons only, we have selected SimPro as this base platform.  But note that all principles demonstrated are transferable across to all other platforms.

Groundplan is a web based take off application.  You download your PDF drawings into Groundplan and form your take off within the application using the count and measure tool.

Peter Downey has an excellent working knowledge of both Fergus and simPRO and will be able to answer most relevant queries arising from the course.


Course Timetable

Time Day One Day Two Day Three
8:00-8:30 Introduction Material cost, sanitary plumbing Cost of labour
8:30-9:00 Overview Computer application – line item creation, sanitary plumbing* Cost of labour – applying the loaded rate to line items*
9:00-9:30 Introduction to NZS 4202 Standard method of measurement of building works Computer application – line item creation, sanitary plumbing* Preliminaries and general
9:30-10:00 Understanding take-off sheets Computer application – line item creation, sanitary plumbing* Preliminaries and general – generating line items*
10:00-10:30 Morning tea Morning tea Morning tea
10:30-11:00 Taking-off, sanitary plumbing Material cost, water supply Overheads
11:00-11:30 Taking-off, sanitary plumbing Computer application – line item creation, water supply* Overheads
11:30-12:00 Taking-off, sanitary plumbing Material cost, water supply Profit and bonds
12:00-12:30 Lunch Lunch Lunch
12:30-1:00 Taking off, water supply Computer application – line item creation, water supply* Adjudication
1:00-1:30 Taking off, water supply Material cost, water supply Adjudication
1:30-2:00 Taking off, water supply Computer application – line item creation, water supply* Presenting the tender – making the computer present the agreed tender $ value*
2:00-2:30 Taking off, water supply Labour rates, sanitary plumbing* Presenting the tender – tender letter*
2:30-3:00 Computer application – introduction* Labour rates, sanitary plumbing* Pricing the Schedule of Quantities*
3:00-3:15 Afternoon tea Afternoon tea Afternoon tea
3:15-4:00 Material cost, sanitary plumbing Labour rates, water supply* Pricing the Schedule of Quantities*
4:00-4:30 Computer application – line item creation, sanitary plumbing*  Labour rates, water supply* Review and closing remarks

 * Computer centric items


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