Free Estimating Software and estimating site utilities

Here are some considerations for estimating site utilities:

Review the electrical bid's power, telephone and communication drawings for vault, pull box and hand hole sizes - Note sizes and types of valut and pull box tops and covers. Note any vault hardware required such as ladders, cable racking, ventilation, vents, pumps or sump pits. Also look for grounding requirements. Many power utility companies require ground rods, interconnecting ground wire and ground clamps or welding.

Red Rhino Trial


PlanSwift Trial

Review the electrical bids power, telephone and communication drawings and specifications for type of conduits that are required -

Example: PVC schedule 40, or schedule 80, type EB (concrete encased) or type DB (direct burial). Check for required radius of horizontal (elbows) 90's degree bends. The horizontal elbow radius may differ from vertical (elbows) 90 degree bends. The bend radius for vertical elbows is usually 48”.


Review the civil drawings for grade elevations at various locations on the site - Check for location and depth of wet utilities such as sewer, water, storm drains and gas. Compare the civil drawings with the electrical telephone and communication plans. See if there are conflicts of vault locations or depths of utilities. Sometimes the plans show utilities crossing over and they are at the same depth. Utilities cannot cross over at the same depth. If they do, send an RFI (request for information) to your customer or contractor that you are bidding to job with.


Check the scale of the utility company drawings, the electrical drawings, the architect’s plot plan and the civil drawings - Often the various plans are drawn to different scales.


Take off the power utility plans, the telephone and communication plans - Take off vaults, pull boxes and hand holes first. Take off underground conduits and duck banks. List each conduit and duct bank run from vault to vault or structure to structure.

Example of electrical bids taking off undergroudnd conduit

Vault “A” to vault “B”
300' - 4” PVC schedule 40, with 1-pull line
Number of runs = 2
6 - 48"horizontal elbows and radius
2 - 36 " = vertical elbows
4 - male adaptors
2 - couplings
38 - supports


Highlight every item as you write it down and take it off. It will keep you from forgetting something or counting it twice on your electrical bids. Make sure you use the right scale on your Scalemaster or rolling take-off wheel when taking off each drawing!

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