CCE Theses and Dissertations

An Investigation of the Potential Versus Actual Usage of Expert Electrical Cost Estimating Systems

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Steven R. Terrell

Committee Member

John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Eldon W. Husband


There are several Expert Electrical Cost Estimating System (EECES) developers in the continental United States; in addition, some electrical contractors develop their own. The four major developers were Estimation, Inc., McCormick Systems, Inc., Software Shop Systems, Inc. and TRF Estimating Systems. Some of the problems facing these organizations included (a) they were unaware of how many electrical contractors had an EECES, (b) how many of them used their EECESs regularly, (c) nor did they have scientific research data that projected the time saved by using an EECES rather than a Manual Electrical Cost Estimating (MECES) system. Consequently, they did not know how large their potential market was, the ratio of EECESs used regularly versus the number of EECESs that had been sold, or scientific data confirming their speculation that an EECES was approximately 2-112 times faster than an MECES. To illustrate these problems, electrical cost estimators in the HoustonGalveston- Brazoria Consolidated Area were surveyed (see Chapter III, Method). Houston is the fourth most populous city in America and the largest in the southern and southwestern United States. The Houston-Galveston-Brazoria Consolidated Area consists of an enormously large region and contains a wide range of environmental conditions. Essentially every type of electrical construction had recently been completed in the area under a wide variety of conditions. Therefore, electrical cost estimating in this area is considered typical of electrical cost estimating throughout the continental United States.

To project the magnitude of these issues, this research survey was conducted. An appropriate survey instrument did not exist, therefore, the writer developed the expert electrical cost estimating system survey instrument. This survey was used as the measuring instrument for this study. The survey was designed for electrical contractors of all sizes and expertise to measure their patterns, characteristics and for collecting data on electrical cost estimating. The test data was statistically evaluated, and it indicated that 40% of the electrical contractors had expert electrical cost estimating systems and 60% did not, 63% of the electrical contractors used them and 37% did not, and the EECES's estimates were 2.77 to 2.88 times faster than the MECES's.

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