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Craftsman Book Company
National Plumbing and HVAC Estimator 2005 / Edition 13

National Plumbing and HVAC Estimator 2005 / Edition 13

by James A. Thomson


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National Plumbing and HVAC Estimator 2005 / Edition 13

Manhours, labor and material costs for all common plumbing and HVAC work in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. You can quickly work up a reliable estimate based on the pipe, fittings and equipment required. Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual. Sample estimating and bidding forms and contracts also included. Explains how to handle change orders, letters of intent, and warranties. Describes the right way to process submittals, deal with suppliers and subcontract specialty work. Includes a CD-ROM with an electronic version of the book with National Estimator, a stand-alone Windows estimating program, plus an interactive multimedia video that shows how to use the disk to compile construction cost estimates. Revised annually.

Included with National Estimator CD-ROM:

  • Job Cost Wizard – turns estimates into invoices and exports both in QuickBooks
  • Free Online Technical Support – for the National Estimator Software

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572181458
Publisher: Craftsman Book Company
Publication date: 11/28/2004
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 8.48(w) x 10.86(h) x 0.90(d)

First Chapter

How to Use This Book

This 2005 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator is a guide to estimating labor and material costs for plumbing, heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems in residential, commercial and industrial buildings.

Inside the back cover of this book you'll find an envelope with a compact disk. The disk has National Estimator, an easy-to-use estimating program with all the cost estimates in this book. Insert the CD in your computer and wait a few seconds. Installation should begin automatically. (If not, click Start, Settings, Control Panel, double-click Add/Remove Programs and Install.) Select Show Me from the installation menu and Julie will show you how to use National Estimator 32. When Show Me is complete, select Install Program. When the National Estimator program has been installed, click Help on the menu bar, click Contents, click Print all Topics, click File and click Print Topic to print a 40-page instruction manual for National Estimator.

Costs in This Manual will apply within a few percent on a wide variety of projects. Using the information given on the pages that follow will explain how to use these costs and suggest procedures to follow when compiling estimates. Reading the remainder of this section will help you produce more reliable estimates for plumbing and HVAC work.

Manhour Estimates in This BookManhour Estimates in This Book will be accurate for some jobs and inaccurate for others. No manhour estimate fits all jobs because every construction project is unique. Expect installation times to vary widely from job to job, from crew to crew, and even for the same crew from day to day.
There’s no way to eliminate all errors when making manhour estimates. But you can minimize the risk of a major error by:

  1. Understanding what’s included in the manhour estimates in this book, and

  2. Adjusting the manhour estimates in this book for unusual job conditions.

The Craft@Hrs Column. Manhour estimates in this book are listed in the column headed Craft@Hrs. For example, on page 15 you’ll see an estimate for installing a 6 gallon hot water heater. In the Craft@Hrs column opposite 6 gallon you’ll see:


To the left of the @ symbol you see an abbreviation for the recommended work crew.

Page 7 (Table 2) shows the wage rates and craft codes used in this book.

To the right of the @ symbol you see a number. The number is the estimated manhours (not crew hours) required to install each unit of material listed. In the case of a 6 gallon hot water heater, P1@.500 means that .500 manhours are required to install 1 hot water heater.

Costs in the Labor $ ColumnCosts in the Labor $ Column are based on manhour estimates in the Craft@Hrs column. Multiply the manhour estimate by the assumed hourly labor cost to find the installation cost in the Labor $ column. For example, .500 manhours times $28.96 (the average wage for crew P1) is $14.48.

Monthly price updates on the Web are free and automatic all during 2005. You'll be prompted when it's time to collect the next update. A connection to the Web is required

Manhour Estimates include all productive labor normally associated with installing the materials described. These estimates assume normal conditions: experienced craftsmen working on reasonably well planned and managed new construction with fair to good productivity. Labor estimates also assume that materials are standard grade, appropriate tools are on hand, work done by other crafts is adequate, layout and installation are relatively uncomplicated, and working conditions don’t slow progress.

All manhour estimates include tasks such as:

  • Unloading and storing construction materials, tools and equipment on site.

  • Working no more than two floors above or below ground level.

  • Working no more than 10 feet above an uncluttered floor.

  • Normal time lost due to work breaks.

  • Moving tools and equipment from a storage area or truck not more than 200 feet from
    the work area.

  • Returning tools and equipment to the storage area or truck at the end of the day.

  • Planning and discussing the work to be performed.

  • Normal handling, measuring, cutting and fitting.

  • Regular cleanup of construction debris.

  • Infrequent correction or repairs required because of faulty installation.

If the work you’re estimating won’t be done under these conditions, you need to apply a correction factor to adjust the manhour estimates in this book to fit your job.

Applying Correction Factors. Analyze your job carefully to determine whether a labor correction factor is needed. Failure to consider job conditions is probably the most common reason for inaccurate estimates.

Use one or more of the recommended correction factors in Table 1 to adjust for unusual job conditions. To make the adjustment, multiply the manhour estimate by the appropriate conversion factor. On some jobs, several correction factors may be needed. A correction factor less than 1.00 means that favorable working conditions will reduce the manhours required.


Correction Factor

Work in large open areas, no partitions


Prefabrication under ideal conditions, bench work


Large quantities of repetitive work


Very capable tradesmen


Work 300' from storage area


Work 400' from storage area


Work 500' from storage area


Work on 3rd through 5th floors


Work on 6th through 9th floors


Work on 10th through 13th floors


Work on 14th through 17th floors


Work on 18th through 21st floors


Work over 21 floors


Work in cramped shafts


Work in commercial kitchens


Work above a sloped floor


Work in attic space


Work in crawl space


Work in a congested equipment room


Work 15' above floor level


Work 20' above floor level


Work 25' above floor level


Work 30' above floor level


Work 35' to 40' above floor level


Table 1 Recommended Correction Factors

Supervision ExpenceSupervision Expense to the installing contractor is not included in the labor cost. The cost of supervision and nonproductive labor varies widely from job to job. Calculate the cost of supervision and non-productive labor and add this to the estimate.

Hourly Labor Costs also vary from job to job. This book assumes an average manhour labor cost of $32.66 for plumbers and $33.96 for sheet metal workers. If these hourly labor costs are not accurate for your jobs, adjust the labor costs up or down by an appropriate percentage. Instructions on the next page explains how to make these adjustments. If you’re using the National Estimator disk, it’s easy to set your own wage rates.

Hourly labor costs in this book include the basic wage, fringe benefits, the employer’s contribution to welfare, pension, vacation and apprentice funds, and all tax and insurance charges based on wages. Table 2 at the top of the next page shows how hourly labor costs in this book were calculated. It’s important that you understand what’s included in the figures in each of the six columns in Table 2. Here’s an explanation:

Column 1, the base wage per hour, is the craftsman’s hourly wage. These figures are representative of what many contractors are paying plumbers, sheet metal workers and helpers in 2005.

Column 2, taxable fringe benefits, includes vacation pay, sick leave and other taxable benefits. These fringe benefits average about 5.15% of the base wage for many plumbing and HVAC contractors. This benefit is in addition to the base wage.

Insurance and TaxesColumn 3, insurance and employer-paid taxes in percent, shows the insurance and tax rate for the craft workers. The cost of insurance in this column includes workers’ compensation and contractor’s casualty and liability coverage. Insurance rates vary widely from state to state and depend on a contractor’s loss experience. Note that taxes and insurance increase the hourly labor cost by approximately 30%. There is no legal way to avoid these costs.

Column 4, insurance and employer taxes in dollars, shows the hourly cost of taxes and insurance. Insurance and taxes are paid on the costs in both columns 1 and 2.

Column 5, non-taxable fringe benefits, includes employer paid non-taxable benefits such as medical coverage and tax-deferred pension and profit sharing plans. These fringe benefits average 4.55% of the base wage for many plumbing and HVAC contractors. The employer pays no taxes or insurance on these benefits.

Column 6, the total hourly cost in dollars, is the sum of columns 1, 2, 4, and 5. The labor costs in Column 6 were used to compute costs in the Labor $ column of this book.

 Table 2 Labor Costs Used in This Book


1 2 3 4 5 6
Craft Base wage
per hour
benifits (at
5.15% of
base wage)
taxes (%)
taxes ($)
benifits (at
4.55% of
base wage)
Total hourly cost used in this book
Laborer 17.05 0.88 29.20% 5.24 0.78 23.95
Plumber 24.84 1.28 25.70% 6.71 1.13 33.96
Sheet Metal
24.05 1.24 25.12% 6.35 1.09 32.73
24.40 1.26 35.56% 9.13 1.11 35.90
24.40 1.26 24.48% 6.28 1.11 33.05
Electrician 24.34 1.25 23.15% 5.92 1.11 32.62

Craft Code

Crew Composition

Average Hourly Cost per Manhour

ER 4 building plumbers, 2 building laborers, 1 operating engineer 31.38
SN 4 building sheet metal workers, 2 building laborers, 1 operating engineer 30.67
P1 1 building plumber and 1 building laborer 28.96
SK 4 sprinkler fitters, 2 building laborers, 1 operating engineer 30.85
SL 1 sprinkler fitter and 1 laborer 28.50
S2 1building sheet metal worker, 1 building laborer 28.34
BE 1electrician 32.62

Adjusting Costs in the Labor $ Column. The hourly labor costs used in this book may apply within a few percent on many of your jobs. But wage rates may be much higher or lower in some areas. If the hourly costs shown in Column 6 of Table 2 are not accurate for your work, adjust labor costs to fit your jobs.

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book, 5

Plumbing Equipment
     Domestic Hot Water Heater, 15
     Kitchen Equipment, 17
     Kitchen Equipment Connections, 18
     Plumbing Fixtures, 19
     Plumbing Fixture Rough-In, 23

Piping Systems
     Copper Pipe, Type K with Brazed Joints, 25
     Copper Pipe, Type K with Soft-Soldered Joints, 35
     Copper Pipe, Type L with Brazed Joints, 45
     Copper Pipe, Type L with Soft-Soldered Joints, 55
     Copper Pipe, Type M with Brazed Joints, 65
     Copper Pipe, Type M with Soft-Soldered Joints, 74
     PVC, Schedule 40, with Solvent-Weld Joints, 83
     PVC, Schedule 80, with Solvent-Weld Joints, 93
     Polyethylene-Aluminum Pipe with Crimped Joints, 102
     Polyethylene-Aluminum Pipe with Compression Joints, 107
     Plumbing and Piping Specialties, 111
     Cast Iron, DWV, Service Weight, No-Hub with Coupled Joints, 127
     Cast Iron, DWV, Service Weight, Hub & Spigot with
          Gasketed Joints, 133
     Copper, DWV, with Soft-Soldered Joints, 138
     ABS, DWV with Solvent-Weld Joints, 142
     PVC, DWV with Solvent-Weld Joints, 146
     PVC, DWV with Gasketed Bell and Spigot Joints, 151
Polypropylene, Schedule 40, with Heat-Fusioned Joints, 156

Floor, Area, Roof and Planter Drains, 160
Cleanouts, 161

Fire Protection
     Fire Protection Sprinklers, 162
     Fire Protection Equipment, 166
     Fire Protection Sprinkler Pipe and Fittings (Roll Grooved), 168
     Fire Protection Sprinkler Fittings(Roll Grooved), 171
     Fire Protection Sprinkler Fittings (Threaded), 172
     Fire Protection Sprinkler Branch Pipe and Fittings (Threaded), 173
     Fire Protection Sprinkler Branch Fittings (Threaded), 174
     Fire Protection Sprinkler Pipe and Fittings (CPVC), 175
Fire Protection Sprinkler Fittings (CPVC), 176

HVAC Equipment
     Commercial Boilers, 177
     Commercial Boiler Connections, 179
     Commercial Boiler Components and Accessories, 180
     Centrifugal Pumps and Pump Connections, 189
     Heat Exchangers and Connections, 190
     Fan Coil Units and Connections, 191
     Reheat Coils and Connections, 192
     Unit Heaters and Connections, 193
     Chillers and Chiller Connections, 194
     Condensing Units and Cooling Towers, 195
     Cooling Towers and Cooling Tower Connections, 196

Steel Piping Systems
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 40 with 150# Fittings &
          Butt-Welded Joints, 197
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 40 with 150# M.I. Fittings &
          Threaded Joints, 206
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 5 with Pressfit Fittings, 217
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 80 with 300# Fittings &
          Butt-Welded Joints, 220
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 80 with 300# Fittings &
          Threaded Joints, 230
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 160 with 3,000-6,000# Fittings, 238
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 40 with Roll-Grooved Joints, 249
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 10 with Roll-Grooved Joints, 256
     Carbon Steel, Schedule 40 with Cut-Grooved Joints, 263

Air Handling Units, 269
Air Handling Unit Accessories, 270
Heat Recovery Ventilators - Commercial, 271
Heat Recovery Ventilators - Residential, 272
Water Coil Piping, 273
Air Handling Unit Coil Connections, 276
Gas Fired Furnaces, 278
Wall Furnaces, 279
Unit Heaters, 280
Infrared Heaters, 281
Heat Pump Systems, 282
Commercial Fans and Blowers, 285
Commercial Ventilators and Exhaust Fans, 286
Apparatus Housings, 288
Air Devices, Registers & Grilles, 290
Air Devices, Diffusers & Grilles, 291
Terminal Units (VAV), 293

Ducting Systems
     Ductwork Specialties, 294
     Galvanized Steel Ductwork, 297
     Installed Ductwork Per Pound, 299
     Galvanized Steel Spiral Ductwork, 301
     Galvanized Steel Round Spiral Fittings, 302
     Galvanized Steel Rectangular Ductwork, 304
     Galvanized Steel Rectangular 90 Degree Elbows, 306
     Galvanized Steel Spiral Duct, 309
     Galvanized Steel Spiral Duct Fittings, 311
     Galvanized Steel Spiral Tees, 313
     Galvanized Steel Spiral Crosses, 319
     Galvanized Steel Rectangular Ductwork, 322
     Galvanized Steel Rectangular Elbows, 334
     Galvanized Steel Drops and Tees, 344
     Galvanized Steel Round Ductwork, 347
     Fiberglass Ductwork, 348

Fiberglass Pipe Insulation, 350
Calcium Silicate Pipe Insulation with Aluminum Jacket, 352
Closed Cell Elastomeric Pipe Insulation, 353
Thermal Duct Insulation, 354
Balancing of HVAC Systems, 355
Temperature Controls, 358

Ductile Iron Pipe Systems
     Ductile Iron, Class 153, Cement-Lined with Mechanical Joints, 360
     Ductile Iron, Class 153, Double Cement-Lined with
          Mechanical Joints, 362
     Ductile Iron, Class 110, Cement-Lined with Mechanical Joints, 364

Cast Iron, Class 150 with Mechanical Joints, 365
Asbestos-Cement, Class 2400 or 3000 with Mechanical Joints, 366
Fiberglass Tanks, 368
Plastic Tanks, 369
Trenching, 371
Equipment Rental, 373
Close-Out Items, 374
Budget Estimating, 375

Forms and Letters, 378
     Change Estimates, 378
     Subcontract Forms, 387
     Purchase Orders, 391
     Construction Schedules, 393
     Letters of Intent, 396
     Submittal Data, 398
     Billing Breakdown Worksheet, 401
     Monthly Progress Billing, 403
     Warranty Letters, 405

Index, 407

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