Integration of Estimating + Scheduling Data

To effectively manage large, complex projects, it’s essential to have a strong foundation before construction even begins. A detailed cost estimate and schedule are crucial for on-time and on-budget project delivery. However, improper alignment of the estimate and schedule can create significant risks in the project planning process.

Learn more about the challenges that come from siloed estimating and scheduling processes and how to resolve them to improve efficiency and accuracy moving forward.


In many construction companies, the estimating and scheduling groups operate independently from one another. This can create competing narratives on how the project will be executed, causing misalignment in scope, budget, and timeline.

Estimating and scheduling groups commonly use standalone solutions that serve their own needs, whether it’s software or carefully crafted spreadsheets. In these situations, estimates are produced, typically without consistent input from the scheduling group, and then manually input into the scheduling software platform. For large, complex projects with thousands of resources and tens of thousands of man-hours, this is an incredibly tedious and time-consuming process that can lead to inaccuracies. Additionally, the labor required for this task can be costly.

Throughout the planning of the project, the estimate and schedule should serve as living documents. If they aren’t linked together, it can be difficult to keep both up to date as things change. For example, if there is a scope change within the estimate, the schedule will no longer be accurate. Additionally, if some activities take longer than scheduled, the new cost will not be accurately reflected in the estimate. Manually updating both documents to keep them current as the project progresses is time-consuming and leaves room for error.

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“For big organizations like utilities, there is tremendous value in aligning cost, schedule, and scope management through an integrated approach. A comprehensive project controls system must include tools that speak to one another. Here, you are accomplishing these two things in an automated fashion.”

- Anthony Aguilar, Chief Process and Safety Officer, Campos


Integrating estimating and scheduling is crucial to improving efficiency and accuracy in the planning stages of a project. It also helps establish structured and consistent communication between the two functions. With effective implementation, it can provide a feedback loop that helps gauge project health and improve future estimates and schedules.

So how is this achieved? It depends.

For companies that are still using spreadsheets to estimate, there are limitations. While it is possible to import spreadsheet data into scheduling platforms, doing so does not achieve automated two-way communication that helps keep the scope and budget aligned. First, the estimate data must be reformatted and exported, then any further changes must be updated on the spreadsheet and re-imported. Furthermore, any changes to the schedule require manual updates to the estimate.

For companies that are using an estimating software platform, complete integration is easier to achieve. Many estimating software solutions, like HCSS HeavyBid, offer out-of-the-box integrations with various scheduling platforms, such as Oracle Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project, allowing for the free flow of information between systems.

For companies that are transitioning from spreadsheets to an estimating platform and scheduling platform, it is important to make sure that there is an integration available to connect both software solutions.

Integration Benefits

With the integration between estimating and scheduling software, it is possible to take the costs, resources, and durations from the estimate and efficiently translate them into a cost & resource-loaded schedule. Any changes that are made to the estimate or schedule can be easily updated across both platforms for continued alignment.

Maximize Efficiency

Estimate and schedule large projects more efficiently and with less room for error. Resource and cost load schedules more quickly and with fewer man hours. Avoid the duplicative work of manually rebuilding thousands of resources.

“With every project, you’ve got the same elements: you’ve got scope, resources, cost, and schedule. In order to maximize the efficiency and opportunity for better performance, getting all of these things to talk to each other is necessary.”

- Anthony Aguilar, Chief Process and Safety Officer, Campos

Improve Performance

The automation of data entry in estimating and scheduling large, complex projects improves efficiency and reduces the likelihood of avoidable errors. With the free flow of information between both platforms, it is possible to compare baseline estimates versus actuals to assess project health and make real-time adjustments in the field. Review these data points later to identify historical trends in performance and shift future estimates and schedules as needed.

“Data is king in this industry, and there are many auxiliary benefits that go beyond the project. With the additional data points, we are able to analyze and make use of performance benchmarks. With the integration of schedule information into the cost data, we can paint a better picture of our past to inform future estimates.”

- Anthony Aguilar, Chief Process and Safety Officer, Campos

Better Reporting

Quickly run reports to identify variances between estimates and actuals. With the integration of the data into a common structure, avoid costly time spent on data cleanup and enjoy consistent data that can easily be traced between both platforms.

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