PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby Hinrichs42 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:15 am

Extremely Bummed.

I think I just missed it. I ran short on time and knew I was having a difficult time with these questions. The math was simple, it just took a while.
That being said, does anyone have any advice on where to study and get better at these sorts of questions/problems?
Any advice or help is appreciated.
Thanks.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby butleli » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:23 am

I am really sorry to hear that! I had several costing questions on my exam- 2 of them required more time than anything else (more than any of the case study questions) because of all the calculations involved. Like you said, very simple arithmetic, but just very involved to get answers. I think both of mine were fill in the blank as well, so there was no working backwards to save time.

I would suggest practicing the on-screen calculator. My mouse for the exam was particularly clicky and sensitive, which made using the calculator really difficult. Being stressed about time on those likely leads to mistakes; I know I felt really stressed realizing how many bits and pieces had to be calculated to get to the answer. Maybe also take a project you are working on and calculate lots of SF & LF of different materials and then look at cost difference if you say clad it in material a, b, or c or use this flooring or that flooring and figure the percentage increase or decrease in cost, as it seems NCARB is partial to talking about budgets in percentages of some other budget. Get used to translating a cost/sf to a cost/lf given info about wall heights as well. Depending on what you are estimating it can be a more efficient way to get those numbers. Make sure you subtract out openings in walls for windows or doors if it is detailed cost breakdown.

I was fortunate to have a good bit of experience doing this coming from a design-build background; but time was definitely a big big issue. I ran out of time on the last case study, and judging from what people have said on the forums; I am betting that if you happen to get a test with a few of the involved cost estimating questions like the ones I had, it is enough to blow the clock.

I got lucky and passed, so I didn't get to see the score breakdown, but that is honestly horsesh*t that cost estimating could be only 2% of the exam and lead to a failing score. I don't know why passing scores don't get breakdowns, especially if there are 2 levels of passing...

You look like you were close on Integration of Building Materials & Systems. I feel like that is kind of a crapshoot, alot of the questions I had were so specific I was best-educated guessing. Then some were so easy I thought they may be trick questions...
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby xnokturnx » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:28 am

You got a level 3 in Content Area 1 - Building Systems Integration. That is why you did not pass, which is up to 37% of the exam.....
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby butleli » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:37 am

I also wanted to say if you haven't taken PPD, you should sign up & take it ASAP! I don't know how long ago you studied for PDD, but if its still fresh, I found the content on PPD to be very similar to PDD, but a bit less involved. There is site planning & early design on PPD as well, but I think these areas are probably the easier things in life & architecture in general. And there were no detailed cost estimating questions.

I posted a pretty long winded thing about my strategy for PDD & PPD since I took them together as well here-
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=47682

Good luck on the next one!
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby Hinrichs42 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:42 am

Thanks for the comments.
I understand the level 3 in 'Building Systems Integration'. I know what I can study to improve in that subject. I have the MEEB book and have been taking notes in BCI.
However, I haven't found material on improving in Construction Cost and Estimating. The questions I came across on the exams I haven't found anywhere.
Thanks for the pointers Buteli.
If anyone has any other pointers or can lead me to some sample problems, it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby xnokturnx » Thu Mar 30, 2017 1:14 pm

Hinrichs,

I think you missed my point - you don't have to pass all Section content areas to pass the exam - says NCARB directly on the ARE5 forums. All 5.0 questions are worth 1 point.
So, because Cost Estimates only makes up 2-8%, whereas Building Materials and Systems makes up to 37% - that should be your serious focus. That said, the NCARB 5.0 guide and Ballast both cover estimating and have sample questions.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby Hinrichs42 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 4:35 pm

xnoturnx.
Thanks. I understand everything you said. (Like I explained in my first reply to you.) I think you missed my point.
Again, I can improve in 'Building Materials and Systems' with the materials I have (MEEB, BCI, and Ballast). However, there is no section that has these types of questions for 'Cost Estimating'. Since you mentioned Ballast (I have 4.0), please point out where sample questions are.
Thanks.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby xnokturnx » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:46 pm

ARE 5.0 Handbook pages 95-99, and pages 125-129 (NCARB references Fundamentals of Building Construction twice for these examples).
Ballast ARE5 Chapter 30-13 (Example 30.1 Cost Indexes), Chapter 48-5 into 49 as well.
The PM chapters also deal with a lot of cost indexing and estimating, just presented in a different context.
I cannot comment on 4.0 materials. Not trying going tit for tat, but speaking for myself, the Division 1 results would have a much larger impact on my studies considering the %.
Good luck.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby Hinrichs42 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:18 pm

Thanks for the reply.
I am not trying to go tit for tat either; I am just trying to get better at an area I am deficient in.
Of course the handbook has examples.The questions I am trying to improve on and failed were not like those, that's why I am asking.
Have you taken this exam yet? Perhaps you'll have a better idea of these questions after you take it. (But thanks for trying to point me in a direction though.)
Good luck to you as well.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby xnokturnx » Thu Mar 30, 2017 8:47 pm

I've tested multiple 5.0 Divisions each with questions no amount of studying would have prepared me for. Not sure how you know what questions really tripped you up unless you simply left QFIBs blank. Based on the Handbook, FoBC seems like the main source here.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby Hinrichs42 » Thu Mar 30, 2017 9:12 pm

So have you taken this exam or not?
The questions I failed (and want to get better at) are similar to the questions in the 5.0 handbook you referenced; however they are harder and more time consuming than the one on page 96. In regards to your point; I knew I was doing poorly on them (or being tripped up) when I was taking the exam, but did not leave them blank. As buteli noted, the time factor for these questions played a large role in determining the answer. Again, this is is dissimilar to the sample questions in the handbook.
For the third time, practice questions to improve in this section are NOT in FoBC or BCI.
Best of luck when you take this.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby butleli » Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:40 am

I've just realized that NCARB's official line is you don't fail the entire exam if you don't pass a section, unlike 4...

In that case, as a strategy for re-taking- I would immediately skip the cost questions that involve lots of calculations. It is such a small percentage of the test. Thinking back on it, I am now certain that taking time to do the detailed cost estimating questions with lots of sums + using the incredibly difficult calculator on those is why I ran out of time. I would have had an additional 30 minutes on the exam if I hadn't worked through them. If you end up with time to spare at the end, you can go back and work them, but I think that 20-30 minutes is probably better spent reviewing marked questions!
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby Ssm508 » Mon Apr 03, 2017 7:16 pm

I failed too. I was told to get the amber=book subscription for 2 months but it costs $395 a month. If I find someone else we each get $100 discount. Is anyone intereted in partnering with me to save some money. The videos are not tranferrable so we each have to have our own subscription.
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Re: PDD FAIL... Help with Construction Cost & Estimating

Postby randar82 » Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:31 am

As someone who has taken this exam and passed, I would recommend the following:

Think of PDD as being an exam that tests 50%DD thru 100%CD. What are the decisions being made at this phase of a project: selection, integration and detailing of materials, integration of structures, estimating.

STUDYING
- If you have 4.0 study materials, focus your time on studying BDCS, BS and CDS. Know these 3 sections inside and out. Read SS but you can probably skip anything that involves equations - know the basics like moment and shear, but a conceptual knowledge of materials and systems is really all you need.

- For PDD: Read Building Construction Illustrated. If you haven't done a lot of detailing (wall and building sections, enlarged details) at work, this will be in invaluable resource.

EXAM
Every question is worth 1 point, so the approach that I took was:

- Start with multiple choice, but only spend 60-75 minutes on it. If the question required any math, flag it and leave it blank. If I was unsure, put down an answer, flag it and move on. The beauty of 5.0 is that you can go back and just see unanswered or flagged questions, so it's easy to quickly lay down a foundation of multiple choice before starting the case studies.

- Case Study 1 would be next. 1 hour. Skim the brief for information, and then move on to the questions. My experience so far is that they provide a lot of reference material that you don't even need. You should be able to complete each case study in about 60 minutes.

Break

- Case Study 2. 60 minutes

That leaves the last hour+ to now go back and deal with the questions that require math (the ones you left blank) and then revisit those flagged questions. You have to be efficient but it's totally do-able.

I would also add that when it came to the calculation questions, read carefully! I had several that seemed very challenging in terms of time and things needed to calculate, but then when I read the question again, it was actually pretty simple.
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