Creating an Estimate in Estimator

Last updated: 2020-07-27

Below is the process to follow to create the initial engineer's estimate in Estimator which includes the categories and bid items only. The estimate must be exported from Estimator, and imported into Preconstruction to complete the remaining tasks. These tasks include identifying Points, Road Segments, Structure Segments, and establish funding. The process in Estimator is broken down into these key areas:


Entering Project Estimate Header Information

  1. Log into Estimate using these credentials:
    User name: user
    Password: password

  2. From the menu, select File | New to create a new estimate file.
    From the menu, select File | Open if the file has already been created.
    The Estimate Header window will appear.

  3. Enter the required fields on the Project Header Page 1 screen. Information entered MUST match the project information found in the Financial Integrated Improvement Programming System (FIIPS). Consultants will need to contact their region support person for FIIPS information.
  4. Info: Refer to the Estimator Project Field Information table for detailed field data entry information.

  5. Enter the required Estimate Type field on project header Page 2 screen. In all cases, the value will be LET.

  6. From the menu, click File | Save
    New estimates - Browse to the appropriate directory and enter the Estimate ID number for the file name (e.g., \\ExampleServerName\PDS\Estimator\1234-15-01.est). Click <OK> to save. Save the project periodically to project your work in case of a system interruption or failure.

    Requirement: There are three fields that we cannot use on Page 2. These fields CANNOT be imported into AASHTOWare Project Preconstruction. If these fields are filled in, the import process will fail.

Estimate Project Field Information

Field Required Description
Project Yes Project ID with hyphens (usually assigned by the region).
Example: 1234-15-01
Description Yes Must match description that appears in FIIPS. This is the project title and limit from FIIPS. Must be entered in Mixed Case.
Spec Year Yes 03 for English projects
Base Date Yes PS&E and Draft PS&E use the Letting Date for the Base Date.
All other plans use the current date for the Base Date (mm/dd/yyyy).
Unit System Yes E for English projects
Latitude of Midpoint (DDMMSS) Yes Enter the latitude for the midpoint of your project in the format DMMSS from 423000 to 470500 (i.e. 431504). MM and SS cannot be 60 or greater. You do not need the precise location. To find the latitude and longitude, you can use an on-line application like Google Maps or .These applications will convert the decimal format to the correct DDMMSS equivalent.
Longitude of Midpoint (DDDMMSS) Yes Enter the longitude for the midpoint of your project in the format DDDMMSS from 864600 to 925300 (enter as a positive value with no leading zero, i.e,. -89° 03' 06" is entered as 890306). MM and SS cannot be 60 or greater. You do not need the precise location. To find the latitude and longitude, you can use an on-line application like Google Maps or
GPS Latitude of Midpoint No Not used by WisDOT, leave blank
GPS Longitude of Midpoint No Not used by WisDOT, leave blank
Federal Project Number Yes Enter the federal project number as it appears in FIIPS, if it has been assigned and is applicable. If the value is unknown, enter “N/A”.
State Project Number Yes Same as project ID. Enter the project ID with hyphens.
Example: 1234-15-01
Default Fund Package No Not used by WisDOT, leave blank
Source Catalog Yes

Source catalog name: ENG20YY
If the catalog does not appear OR the estimate file is read only, complete these steps to resolve the issue:

- Select Edit | Estimate Options
- Select the catalog from the drop-down list.
- Click <OK> to save changes.

Work Type Yes Select appropriate work type. Correlates with the Project Work Type field in AASHTOWare Project Preconstruction. Go to the Project Summary Data Fields Table for work type examples.
Highway Type Yes

Select the appropriate highway type. Refer to the WisDOT Functional classification site for more information.

Urban/Rural Type Yes Select the appropriate type.
Season Yes

Select the appropriate season based on the anticipated letting date:

Winter 12/01 to 4/30
Spring 5/01 to 5/31
Summer 6/01 to 10/31
Fall 11/01 to 11/30
County Yes Select the appropriate county.
Region Yes Select the appropriate WisDOT region.
Contingency % Yes This is the delivery percent from FIIPS Estimate page or the EC Percent from AASHTOWare Project. Because of new requirements in the payment processing system, if the Contingency % differs from FIIPS, you must contact the region planning section so they can update FIIPS.

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Creating Project Categories

Refer to Introduction to an Estimate: Categories for an explanation of category concepts and how they are organized. Category is a term to describe a collection of items and are funded the same.

Info: Categories are referred to as groups in Estimator


  1. To add project categories, right click on the project number in the Tree View List. Select "Add Group".

  2. Type in the appropriate category description in the Category Description field.

  3. From the menu, select File | Save.

Info: The initial 0010 category (group) is created when a new estimate is created in Estimator. If the initial category number is 0010, refer to Estimator Licensing, Installation and Configuration: Numeric/Rounding tab to update Estimator preferences to WisDOT specifications.

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Adding Bid Items

  1. Select the category to add item to in the Tree View List.

  2. Right click on the category in the Tree View List. Select "Add Item".

  3. The Item Header area will appear.

  4. Click the down arrow next to the Item field and select the item you wish to add from the list.
    Type the item number in the field to locate it quickly.

    Estimator automatically fills in the Description and Unit fields for each item. Complete the following fields:
    • Quantity - quantity needed

    • Unit Price - Estimator will note the price bases (i.e., Bid History, Reference) attached to that item and will fill in the Price Source field for these price bases. If there are no price bases or if you do not want to accept the price bases amount, enter a new Unit Price. Changing the Unit Price will update the Price Source field to Ad Hoc.

    • Fixed Price Item – If the item carries a fixed price, check this box if not already checked.

    • Supplemental Description - Items requiring a supplemental description are flagged with the word “Required” in parentheses under the Supplemental Description field. Enter a valid supplemental description for these items with a maximum length of 80 characters.

      • See the Nonstandard SPV.#### Numbering and Description Policy section at the end of this chapter for guidance on how to fill out nonstandard SPV items.

    • Notes (optional) – If you add item comments under Notes, when you import the project into AWP Preconstruction, the imported comments will be limited to 256 characters.

  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 to add additional items.

  6. From the menu, select File | Save.

Info: If an item is used multiple times, refer to Introduction to an Estimate: Using a Single Bid Item Multiple Times.

Tip: Item grid - This feature can be used to add items or renumber items if out of sequence.

Items Out of Numeric Sequence:
-Select the category.
-Within the item grid area, click on the item column heading to place the item in item number order.
-Select Edit | Renumber Using Current Order

Adding Items:
-Click once in the empty row under line #.
-Tab to the item field. Select the item from the drop-down list or type in the item number.
-Estimator will automatically complete the description and units for the item.
-Use the tab key to move to remaining grids to enter quantity, unit price, and supplemental description (if required). Accept the price or enter a different price.
-To add additional items, click in the next empty row of the item grid.

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Verifying the Estimate

Before uploading an estimate into AASHTOWare Project Preconstruction, verify there are no errors.

  1. Select the project in the Tree View List.

  2. Click the <Verify> button.

  3. If there are errors, the Estimator Verify window listing the errors will appear.

  4. The Message field explains the error. Double-click on the error to go to the associated data field containing the error explanation.

  5. After correcting the error(s), click the <Verify> button again to ensure all errors have been corrected.

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Printing the Estimate

There are two options to print an estimate in Estimator - direct print or print preview.

Direct print option

  1. From the menu, select File | Print to open the Estimate Print Options window.
    1. Select "Show Bid-based Price Options".
    2. Select "Summary" from the "Show Price Bases Details" drop-down list.
    3. Select "Print using Crystal Reports".
    4. Click <OK> to print the estimate.

  2. Make any necessary changes to the selected printer or its properties, or a combination of both.

  3. Click <OK> to print the estimate.


Print preview option

  1. From the menu, select File | Print Preview to open the Estimate Print Options window.
    1. Select "Show Bid-based Price Options".
    2. Select "Summary" from the "Show Price Bases Details" drop-down list.
    3. Select "Print using Crystal Reports".
    4. Click <OK> to print the estimate.

  2. The report preview will appear. Click the <Printer> button to print the report.

  3. The report will print to the default printer. The only changes that can be made at this point is the page numbers to print and the number of copies to print.

  4. Click <OK> to print the previewed estimate.

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AASHTOWare Project Non-Standard Item Numbers

Item Number Unit Description
SPV.0005 ACRE Acre
SPV.0010 AD Arrow Day
SPV.0015 BBL Barrel
SPV.0020 BD Board Day
SPV.0025 CF Cubic Foot
SPV.0030 CWR Hundredweight
SPV.0035 CY Cubic Yard
SPV.0040 CYMI Cubic Yard Mile
SPV.0045 DAY Day
SPV.0050 DD Drum Day
SPV.0055 DOL Dollar
SPV.0060 EACH Each
SPV.0065 EACH Each
SPV.0070 GAL Gallon
SPV.0075 HRS Hours
SPV.0080 ID Inch Diameter
SPV.0085 LB Pound
SPV.0090 LF Linear Foot
SPV.0100 LOT Lot
SPV.0105 LS Lump Sum
SPV.0110 MBM 1000 Foot Board Measure
SPV.0120 MGAL 1000 Gallon Unit
SPV.0125 MI Mile
SPV.0130 MKFT Board Foot
SPV.0135 MON Month
SPV.0140 NONE None
SPV.0145 OZ Ounce
SPV.0150 PD Person Day
SPV.0152 PH Person Hour
SPV.0155 SACK Sack
SPV.0160 SD Sign Day
SPV.0165 SF Square Foot
SPV.0170 STA Station
SPV.0175 STYD Station Yard
SPV.0180 SY Square Yard
SPV.0185 TD Ton Day
SPV.0190 TM Ton Mile
SPV.0195 TON Ton
SPV.0200 VF Vertical Feet
SPV.0205 WD Working Day
SPV.0210 WEEK Week


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Nonstandard SPV.#### Numbering and Description Policy

In AASHTOWare Project Preconstruction, a nonstandard SPV.#### item number can be used more than once in a project if you have unique items with the same unit of measure. The correct SPV.#### item is selected based on the correct unit of measure needed. When using one or more of a nonstandard SPV.#### item number in an estimate, a standard description of “Special” is assigned. A supplemental description must be used to further describe the item.

The supplemental description begins with a number (01., 02., 03., 04., etc.). This will aid in organizing the special provisions in the proposal. The number should be two digits (01., 02., 03., etc.) unless there will be more than 100 items for a specific SPV. ### item number. If there will be more than 100 items, use three digits (001., 002., 003., etc.). Item numbers do not have to be in numerical order if additions or deletions are made.

The supplemental description can be no longer than 80 characters in AASHTOWare Project Preconstruction. Abbreviations are to be avoided whenever possible.

Requirements: It is important that designers use the same format for the supplemental description throughout the rest of the estimate, miscellaneous quantity tables, and special provisions, as to not cause bidders any confusion. Remember to generate line numbers prior to printing.

Example of how the supplement description appears in the systems and documents noted below:

Estimator Supplemental Description field:

Estimator Estimate Report:

As it should appear in the Special Provisions listing:
##(Article #). Pole Fiberglass Mounting Height 40-Foot, Item SPV.0060.03………..Page #