Got a question about material costs, cost estimating or take-offs? Our panel of experts from RSMeans are here to help! Search through our archive of answers to previously submitted questions. Or submit a new question using the form below.

  • Question: How close can a deck come to the property line on the side of the house? read answer
  • Question: Does the RSMeans Residential Cost Data 2012 book include local and regional going rates for my area? National average rates are too high for my area of Bismarck,North Dakota area! read answer
  • Question:

    I have an open carport on the side of my house and I want to enclose it into a garage.

    This means I will have a wall built on the existing concrete slab.

    What is the minimum footing for a concrete wall in Tennessee and do I need to get a local permit?

    read answer
  • Question: On an 8 x 8 treated deck, how do you convert a 1 x 6 x 12 decking board to square feet or 2 x 6 x 8 and 2 x 2 x 36? read answer
  • Question:

    We are currently in the process of designing a new 2 story, 9,000 square foot retail building. The previous building was damaged by a tornado, and subsequently torn down. The project will go out to bid to 8 general contractors.

    My question is about "standard" general contractor rates. Obviously, their profit is going to be a percentage of the "cost of construction." What is a currently competitive percentage, as we begin to review bids?

    Thank you!

    read answer
  • Question:

    A twitter follower responded to RCD Chief Economist Bernard Markstein's recent article Construction Spending Inches up in March.

    Compare March data to expected based on any year in last 8 not the Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate (SAAR) and see that we just had the worst March in 8 years. Isn't it down not up?

    read answer
  • Question: When calculating square feet on treated decks, is it best to estimate an 8x8 deck floor joists separate from decking boards, 4x4s and hand railings? read answer
  • Question: Is it possible to figure out approximate square foot cost breakdown for material, labor, and equipment for framing using the Square Foot Cost book or software? read answer
  • Question: I am looking to enclose a corner of office space (2 walls) with floor to ceiling glass (aluminum trim top and bottom). There would be a total of ~30 linear feet broken into a 19 foot section with a door, and a 12 foot section of fixed glass. What should I expect to pay in materials + labor? read answer
  • Question:

    Should the influence of seasonal weather on price or productivity be applied to civil construction estimating?

    What percentage increase to price or decrease to productivity should be applied to a civil construction (soil and rock excavation) job schedule of November through June versus April through November?

    read answer
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