Monkey Pox: What We Know So Far and Ways to Prevent Transmission

In the recent news, there have been talks about the monkeypox cases in Europe and now the United States. President Biden called it something “to be concerned about” and is being very closely monitored here and internationally. Monkeypox was first identified in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has since expanded over the last 10 years to many other African nations. Despite the name, monkeys, like humans, are accidental hosts. The wild animal reservoir remains unknown.

Here is some current information on the situation and monkeypox in general.

From the CDC About Monkeypox | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC as of today:

  • A patient was confirmed in Massachusetts to be infected with a West African strain after returning to the US from Canada, they are currently being isolated and poses no risk to the public. See 2022 United States Monkeypox Case | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC for more information.
  • Monkeypox is a rare viral disease. The virus belongs to the same family and genus as variola virus (causing smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox. The rash is indistinguishable from smallpox.
  • CDC is also tracking multiple clusters of monkeypox cases reported in several countries that don’t normally report monkeypox, including in Europe and North America.
  • The rash associated with monkeypox involves vesicles or pustules that are deep-seated, firm or hard, well-circumscribed, and grow synchronously (all lesions at the same stage as the disease progresses, as opposed to chickenpox); the lesions may umbilicate or become confluent and progress over time to scabs.
  • Presenting symptoms typically include fever, chills, a distinctive rash, or new lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes).
  • The rash associated with monkeypox can be confused with other diseases that are encountered in clinical practice (e.g., secondary syphilis, herpes, chancroid, and varicella-zoster).
  • The illness typically lasts for 2−4 weeks. Although rare, in Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 persons who contract the disease.
  • Based on the limited information available at this time, the risk to the public appears low.

Transmission

  • Transmission of monkeypox virus occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth).
  • Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required.
  • Other human-to-human methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens.
  • The secondary attack rate is estimated 10% in contacts unvaccinated against smallpox.

Prevention

  • The vaccine JYNNEOSTM (also known as Imvamune or Imvanex) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of monkeypox. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is currently evaluating JYNNEOSTM for the protection of people at risk of occupational exposure to other orthopoxviruses such as smallpox and monkeypox in a pre-event setting.
  • Smallpox (vaccinia) and monkeypox vaccines are effective at protecting people against monkeypox when given before exposure to monkeypox. Experts also believe that vaccination after a monkeypox exposure may help prevent the disease or make it less severe. In addition to smallpox vaccine, vaccinia immune globulin and some limited use medications are available for monkeypox outbreak control.
  • Routine vaccination of the American public against smallpox stopped in 1972 after the disease was eradicated in the United States and is no longer available to the public. Those of us that are old enough have a faded but unique vaccination scar on their left upper arm.

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About the Author

Dr. Joe Mignogna is Acuity’s Chief Medical Officer.  Connect with him at jmignogna@acuityinternational.com

Dr. Joe Mignogna, MD, MPH, CIME, FACOEM, Chief Medical Officer

Acuity Spotlight: Kevin Jackson-Beleski, The United States Air Force

The Acuity Spotlight is our way of highlighting some of the incredibly talented individuals that we’re lucky enough to have on our team. At Acuity, we value diversity and inclusion and focus our attention on bringing candidates who have a wide range of backgrounds and experiences onboard. Our mission is to build enduring relationships that provide secure, stable, and long-term predictable outcomes and we are grateful for the men and women of Acuity who embody our corporate values in everything they do.

Which branch of the military did you serve in?
I served in The US Army

What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?
The hardest part of adapting to the Army was learning to cope with the strict regimen. It truly felt like I was starting a new life after graduating from high school. Eight months later I was deployed to Iraq in support of the US mission set. I learned to adapt over time, but it was a definite change.

When did you leave the military? What were your first few months out of the service like?
I got out of the military in June of 2016. The first month was slow; I took time to readjust myself. I took the time to develop a plan and establish priorities for what I wanted to do with my life. I ended up finding the perfect balance of traveling, using my military experience, and being financially stable through the contracting world.

How would you describe the work you do at Acuity and the impact it is making?
I think the work I do at Acuity benefits the relations between Iraq and the United States as well as helps facilitate the demise of terrorist organizations that both countries suffer the effects of.

What is your proudest career moment?
My proudest career moment I would have to say is being afforded the opportunity to progress from one department to another and further use my previous career’s tools and knowledge. The skillsets and knowledge I learned from The US Army were ideal for my transition to the contracting world.


About the Author


Kevin Jackson-Beleski, Balad Air Base Life Support/Security Services Project, Security Directorate, Quick Reaction Force (QRF) Team Member, The United States Air Force

Acuity Spotlight: Christopher Hendricks, The United States Air Force

The Acuity Spotlight is our way of highlighting some of the incredibly talented individuals that we’re lucky enough to have on our team. At Acuity, we value diversity and inclusion and focus our attention on bringing candidates who have a wide range of backgrounds and experiences onboard. Our mission is to build enduring relationships that provide secure, stable, and long-term predictable outcomes and we are grateful for the men and women of Acuity who embody our corporate values in everything they do.

Which branch of the military did you serve in?
I served 20 years in The United States Air Force as a member of their security forces.

What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?
The whole process of transitioning from being a civilian to becoming a military member was challenging. Going through basic training and tech school (which included having a very strict daily agenda) to getting my first duty station and adapting to being in another country while performing my duties as a US Air Force airman was an adjustment.

When did you leave the military? What were your first few months out of the service like?
I retired from The United States Air Force in 2014.  My first few months out of the service were “odd” to say the least.  Being able to plan and schedule things and no longer having to follow a set schedule established around mission requirements allowed me to decompress from the military life. At first, it proved to be a hard adjustment, even though I found the change both therapeutic and refreshing. I took the time to travel domestically visiting family, and friends and exploring different locations that I didn’t get to visit while I was in the military.

How would you describe the work you do at Acuity and the impact it is making?
The work that I do at Acuity has been phenomenal and it’s something related to what I did in The United States Air Force as a Security Forces member. I’d like to thank Acuity for providing me with my first job as a civilian after serving in The United States Air Force.  Always and forever grateful.

What is your proudest career moment?
My proudest career moment was being part of the Phoenix Raven Program as a team member and then as a team leader. Getting selected as the Phoenix Raven Team Leader of the Year at a US Air Force headquarters was amazing and completed unexpected.

Being able to fly on different aircraft to different locations all over the world providing security support was incredible and something that I put my heart and soul into. I will always be thankful, grateful, and blessed to have been given the opportunity to be a part of, and experience, something of that magnitude.  My dream was to see the world and meet people from all walks of life; The United States Air Force was able to make that dream and vision a reality. I feel such a sense of accomplishment because of my experience, and I’d like to thank The United States Air Force for helping me become the person that I am today.

 



Christopher Hendricks, Balad Air Base Life Support/Security Services Project, Security Directorate, Flight Line Security Chief, The United States Air Force

Wellness Programs: Using Healthcare Analytics to Support Employee Health

Most well-designed corporate wellness programs are successful, but we’ve all seen well-intended short-lived efforts come and go over the years. The challenge is defining “well-designed” and “successful.” This third edition will focus on practical considerations for using employee healthcare analytics in your business setting to support employee health and wellness. But first, a brief background on employer-based wellness programs.

A thriving “culture of health” at any organization relies on many factors, from leadership support at all levels to shared corporate values, to formal and informal systems reinforcing healthy behaviors, to accurate, reliable, and reproducible tools to measure all aspects of the culture of health.

It’s been well-documented that custom-designed wellness products can support corporate performance, both in dollars and human capital. Examples of highly developed wellness models include the ACOEM Corporate Health Achievement Award or CHAA, HERO Employee Health and Well-Being Best Practices Scorecard, Health Risk Assessments, The Health Project C. Everett Koop National Health Awards, and health & wellness “contracts” using The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change) model.

Studies have shown a link between stock market price growth, financial performance, and having a great employee health program (CHAA, Koop Award). Employers attesting to comprehensive wellness programs outperformed the S&P index at rates ranging from 7-16 percentage points per year, representing a nearly doubling or tripling of earnings.

  • Stock performance is tied to companies with high ratings for corporate social responsibility, employee job satisfaction, spending on human resources and acknowledged as a best place to work
  • Stock values for a portfolio of companies that received high corporate health & wellness scores appreciated by 235% compared to the S&P Index of 159% over a six-year period
  • Investing in funds to develop a great wellness program will not make stock prices go down
  • Great wellness programs may be reliable indicators of future stock performance
  • Investing in funds to create a great wellness program will not make stock prices go down
  • Great wellness programs may be reliable indicators of future stock performance
  • A 2018 UK study by Glassdoor of over 35,000 reviews across 164 employers found those with more satisfied employees returned ~16% more than those with less satisfied employees
  • Koop Award companies outperformed the S&P Index over a 14-year period (2000-2014)

It’s also important to understand the practical concepts regarding CDC: Clinical Prevention Models. Most corporate wellness programs focus on primary and secondary prevention.

  • Primary prevention aims to prevent disease or injury before it ever occurs.
  • Secondary prevention focuses on early diagnosis to prompt timely interventions to prevent or minimize morbidity, reduced productivity and additional costs.
  • Tertiary prevention addresses effective interventions and employee disposition once disease or impairment is evident.

Most cookie-cutter wellness programs, despite great intentions, are often doomed to failure. You can create customized, focused programs that “learn” as they grow using well-designed analytics tools to harness your unique populations’ health data. Tap into those databases we discussed in an earlier blog, such as indemnity and workers’ compensation claims, demographics, HRAs and employee surveys to customize your wellness programs for maximal impacts on your bottom line and employee health, well-being, retention and productivity.

Stay tuned for further predictive healthcare analytics blogs covering a variety of other common and important business topics.

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About the Author:

Dr. Joe Mignogna is Acuity’s Chief Medical Officer.  Connect with him at jmignogna@acuityinternational.com

Dr. Joe Mignogna, MD, MPH, CIME, FACOEM, Chief Medical Officer

Acuity Spotlight: Jacqueline Rodriguez Valdes, Chief Nursing Officer

The Acuity Spotlight is our way of highlighting some of the incredibly talented individuals that we’re lucky enough to have on our team. At Acuity, we value diversity and inclusion and focus our attention on bringing candidates who have a wide range of backgrounds and experiences onboard. Our mission is to build enduring relationships that provide secure, stable, and long-term predictable outcomes and we are grateful for the men and women of Acuity who embody our corporate values in everything they do.

When and why did you decide to become a nurse? What do you like most about being a nurse?

When I was fifteen, I realized the desire to provide care for others was innate. Caring for others is a passion and my driving force for choosing the nursing profession. Being there for my patients at their most vulnerable times and advocating for their well-being was all I wanted to do at an early age.

When I provide bedside care for patients and their loved ones, I take on the role of a family member, always upholding their best interests at the forefront. My aunt encouraged me to become a nurse leader to serve and motivate nurses who in turn will share in this altruistic vision. As a nurse leader, I have the privilege to mentor, motivate, and foster innovation and passion amongst our nursing team.

Can you describe a situation where you felt proud of your healthcare team?

In April 2020, we created a field hospital in New York City during the worst COVID-19 wave in the United States at the time. Nurses from all over the country came to the emergent call for help. This selfless team left their loved ones and the comfort of their homes to serve these critical patients by quickly making the altruistic decision to get on a plane and travel to the unknown that was waiting on the other side. This brave team arrived in New York with a variety of nursing backgrounds, training, and experience focused on one mission, to save lives. It was astonishing to see how this team of professionals melded to form a unified medical unit to provide compassionate nursing care during this most challenging, testing time.

How would you describe the work you do at Acuity and the impact it is making?

I have worked in this organization for five years and during this time we have provided high-quality nursing excellence in a variety of clinical environments. The nursing team champions lead the execution of medical programs such as shelter services, COVID-19 field hospitals, COVID-19 testing centers, emergency response support following natural disasters, mobile medical units, medical reviews, and performing occupational health exams in austere environments. The care provided by our nursing professionals cultivates evidence-based practices, and holistic and compassionate care, which is essential for providing clinical excellence for our examinees and patients.

 



Jacqueline Rodriguez Valdes, MSN, ARNP, FNP-BC, COHC, is the Chief Nursing Officer. You can connect with her at jrodriguezv@acuityinternational.com.

 

 

How Construction Estimators Can Leverage Data and Technology for Accurate Estimate Costs 

Estimating Costs Is Challenging – But Crucial to Business Success. Here’s How to Get It Right 

By Frank Richardson and Chris Thomson 

Experienced construction estimators know that estimating large and complex commercial projects is both a science and an art. That’s true whether your organization is the contractor planning the project or the owner of the built asset. And it’s especially true when estimating labor costs. 

The science of estimating is based on data: historical numbers from previous projects, current numbers based on trends, forward-looking numbers drawn from external sources. 

The art of estimating relies on experience. After you estimate enough projects, you gain a feel for when an estimate feels high or low. 

Trouble is, art isn’t consistent or repeatable. You might nail an estimate today but badly miss tomorrow. That fact can have negative repercussions for your business. 

But what if you could transform estimating so that it’s less art and more science? With the right data and technology, you can. In the process, you can make labor cost estimating a competitive differentiator and a driver of business success.  

Why you need accurate estimates now 

U.S. construction activity is forecast to ramp up in 2022, especially as COVID-19 wanes and organizations return to the office. Construction costs will likewise continue to rise by up to 7% over the next year. 

Labor costs climbed 4.5% in 2021, largely due to scarcity of qualified workers. They’re expected to grow at a similar pace in 2022. President Biden’s Executive Order on Use of Project Labor Agreements could drive further increases for large federal projects. 

These trends highlight the importance of accuracy in labor cost estimates. After all, in the US, labor typically accounts for up to 40% of a project’s budget. 

The threats of underbidding and overbidding 

The biggest risk in estimating is underbidding or overbidding. Underbid, and your company will realize slimmer margins or even lose money. Overbid, and you risk missing out on the business altogether. Either way, a serious miscalculation could put your enterprise in jeopardy. 

Of course, contractors and owners have different mindsets when it comes to under- and overestimating. Owners want estimates on the higher side, especially for government contracts. That’s because if bids are substantially higher than their own estimate, they need to consider narrowing the project scope. 

Contractors want estimates to be low enough to win the contract but high enough to earn a profit. In a lean market, they might bid lower than they normally would, accepting that they’ll earn a lower profit. That will let them maintain cashflow and retain their workforce, avoiding business interruptions and layoffs. 

Understanding knowns and unknowns 

Why are under- and overbidding so common in estimating costs? Because in estimating, there are knowns and unknowns. And labor involves a lot of unknowns. 

Equipment and material costs are almost always easier to predict. Yes, pricing and availability of equipment and fuel can vary. But whether you own, lease or rent, equipment essentially costs what it costs. 

Likewise, pricing for material such as timber and steel can be unpredictable – especially as tariffs are implemented or repealed. But overall, material costs what it costs. 

Labor isn’t so cut and dried. Sure, there’s a going rate for particular talent in a particular market, and union labor rates aren’t negotiable. But many factors that affect labor costs are unknowns. Most notable is productivity, which can have a huge impact on the cost of labor. 

Productivity is affected by three key factors. First is location. In an urban environment, it takes more time to move equipment and materials than in a suburban or rural environment. In a remote area, in contrast, you might not have access to local labor, and bringing in outside labor can take time. 

Next is congestion, especially in interior spaces. If the project requires a lot of workers to be onsite simultaneously, they can get in one another’s way, slowing things down. 

Last is security. Getting workers into and out of a high-security site on a daily basis takes time. And security protocols can slow the work itself. 

Data and technology for accurate cost estimates 

The good news is that the right data and technology can help you turn unknowns into knowns – and get control of material, equipment, and labor costs. 

Start with a trusted advisor that has extensive experience in estimating labor costs. It’s crucial to have valid baseline numbers that are built on real-world scenarios and that factor in both historical data and current trends. A qualified consultant can provide reliable baselines that break down costs by prep-work time, direct-work time and nonproductive time. 

Then, effective software can equip you with purpose-built tools to help make consistent, accurate cost estimates. The solution should allow you to work with many thousands of unit line items that are researched, validated and routinely updated by knowledgeable cost engineers. 

A cloud-based platform can give key stakeholders access to projects from any location and on any device. A dashboard view should enable you to review estimates through a single interface, with a real-time view of estimate status. Collaboration features should allow multiple estimators to work together and co-edit as needed. 

As the volume of construction projects increases, and as construction costs remain volatile, cost estimating will be a challenge. But with the right data and technology, estimating labor costs can become consistent and accurate – and help contribute to business success. 

 


 

About the Authors 

Frank Richardson is the Senior Cost Analyst for CostCenter’s database of constructive tasks and assemblies. CostCenter is an advanced facility lifecycle solution that empowers professionals with cost estimating tools and current cost data. 

Chris Thomson is a Senior Professional Engineer for Acuity Engineering and Consulting.  By applying sustainable business practices, proven project management techniques, and effective cost analysis and engineering principles, Acuity Engineering and Consulting helps our clients manage costs, risks, and schedules. 

To learn more visit costcenter.com. 

 

Acuity Spotlight: Matt Lowell, Balad Air Base Life Support/Security Services Project, Security Directorate, and Personnel Protective Officer (PPO)

The Acuity Spotlight is our way of highlighting some of the incredibly talented individuals that we’re lucky enough to have on our team. At Acuity, we value diversity and inclusion and focus our attention on bringing candidates who have a wide range of backgrounds and experiences onboard. Our mission is to build enduring relationships that provide secure, stable, and long-term predictable outcomes and we are grateful for the men and women of Acuity who embody our corporate values in everything they do.

Which branch of the military did you serve in?

I served 13 years in The United States Air Force. I was in the Combat Arms and Security Forces field. I separated with an Honorable discharge as an MSgt (E-7).

What are some of the things you remember about adapting to military life?

I came from a military family so the adaptation to military life was not too difficult for me. My spouse was in the military as well and both of my boys were born on US bases, one stateside and one in Europe. The brotherhood and comradery of the armed forces were one of the most difficult things to let go of when I got out.

When did you leave the military? What were your first few months out of the service like?

I left the Military in 2008. Immediately following my separation, I spent two months hiking the Pacific Crest Trail with my dog. I walked from Oregon down to Mt. Whitney in California. After that, I began work with a private security company overseas and returned to the brotherhood of arms.

How would you describe the work you do at Acuity and the impact it is making?

I feel that the work I do with Acuity is vital to the overall success and execution of the contract. I believe that without me and/or others like me doing our job, Acuity wouldn’t be as successful in fulfilling its obligations and current contracts. I take great pride in my job and am thankful that the US military as well as other US government agencies have provided me the training and skillset to effectively execute my protective service for all clients assigned to me.

What is your proudest career moment?

It is not too difficult for me to identify the proudest moment in my career. I have been deployed 11 times in the United States Air Force in support of freedom, I have flown security missions to 122 countries around the world, and I have been stationed on four different continents (and visited five).

I proudly served my country and fought the war on terrorism when called upon, I have provided security for VIPs, celebrities, and heads of state in both military and civilian functions, but the proudest moment I have was watching my boys grow to mature young men with solid values and follow in their father’s footsteps by joining the military and contributing to the betterment of man and not standing on the sidelines watching. Not failing as a father.

 


Matt Lowell is the Balad Air Base Life Support/Security Services Project, Security Directorate, and Personnel Protective Officer (PPO).

 

 

Predictive Health Analytics in the Workplace

Knowledge is Power, Power provides Information; Information leads to Education, Education breeds Wisdom; Wisdom is Liberation.”Israelmore Ayivor

Tackling health analytics in the workplace can appear daunting and intimidating. It can be difficult to know where to start, what resources are needed, and what the time commitment will be – not to mention balancing the initiative with other business needs.

Most organizations have a vast number of health data sources coming from different directions and in a variety of formats. It’s important to take it one step at a time, following a step-by-step approach to identify, collect, and analyze data:

  1. Identify your data streams and ensure access
  2. Determine how you will collect and store the data
  3. Develop and implement processes and technologies to analyze the data

Remember, the goal is to provide a valid and “living” real-world picture of your Population at Risk (PAR) at any point in time and as it trends over time. Some of the data may seem obvious and intuitive, but additional context and data can reveal a more holistic profile of your PAR. Keep in mind the importance of privacy and confidentiality while handling employee personally identifiable information (PII) and protected health information (PHI), and consider anonymizing and/or aggregating data whenever practical.

Here are some data points and data sources to consider when collecting healthcare data analytics for your organization:

  1. Employee demographics
    1. Can include but are not limited to age, gender, ethnicity, home of record zip code, and education level.
  2. Employee attributes related to Business Continuity Planning (BCP) or Continuation of Operations:
    1. For example, dependents living at home, a working spouse or partner, access to transportation during inclement weather or natural disasters (some of these attributes also covered under #12 social determinants of health), home location (risk of bridge or highway closures, areas prone to flooding, reliable utilities, etc.), availability of a secure home workstation to work remotely, and access to a mobile phone.
  3. Employment
    1. Can include years of service to the company, job category, location or department, salary quartile, performance rating, as well as professional certifications, experience, and interests.
  4. Healthcare
    1. Personal healthcare indemnity claims, which provide an exemption from incurred penalties or liabilities, bundled into a limited number of manageable diagnostic codes or categories.
  5. Workers’ compensation
    1. Similar profile to personal indemnity claims; include time out of work, costs, healthcare provider attributes (name, access, responsiveness, patient satisfaction, quality of care (best practices and published guidelines), and location.
  6. Medical leave
    1. Frequency and duration of leave, restricted duty, and accommodations.
  7. Drug testing data
    1. If relevant, can include pre-employment, random, or other reasons to test.
  8. Healthcare benefits utilization beyond claims data
    1. Can include Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), wellness and prevention programs (i.e. smoking cessation), fitness club membership, weight loss, or exercise groups.
  9. Health Risk Appraisals (HRA)
    1. Lifestyle factors such as tobacco use, exercise, alcohol intake, diet, seatbelts, and sleep hygiene. HRA data can also examine mental health, work-life balance, biometrics, and personal & family medical history.
  10. Employee and manager surveys
    1. Examples include job satisfaction, suggestions, challenges, or complaints.
  11. Human resources data
    1. Including but not limited to recruiting, retention, and turnover.
  12. Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)
    1. A relatively new area of research, SDOH focuses on conditions in which people are born, grow, live, play, and age – connecting which factors are shown to lead to health disparities and inequality, many impacting work productivity. Examples include economic stability, access to healthcare and transportation, community and environment, education, family dynamics, social networks, safe and affordable housing, and access to healthy food.

The data collection and analysis phases generally require some investment into applicable technologies and informatics expertise. Many of your data streams and databases will require “translators” and interfaces to facilitate transforming the data into a common operational format for ongoing collection and eventual analysis.

Once you’ve collected your data and identified similarities, differences, and patterns, you can query that data to create a valuable information resource for your organization. Stay tuned for a blog on best practices for making the most of your healthcare data analytics.


About the author:
Dr. Joe Mignogna is Acuity’s Chief Medical Officer.  Connect with him at jmignogna@acuityinternational.com

Dr. Joe Mignogna, MD, MPH, CIME, FACOEM, Chief Medical Officer

The Future of Pre-Construction Parametric Estimating for Retail Chains and Franchises

Before any retail chain or restaurant franchise developer moves forward with a new construction project, they must first conduct a cost feasibility assessment. But it’s a tricky process. Cost fluctuations, supply/demand issues, labor shortages, and local construction regulations can all introduce uncertainty and risk into the estimation process.

To introduce reliable insights into pre-construction estimates, cost estimators have increasingly turned to parametric estimating.

What is parametric estimating?

Parametric estimating helps developers determine the cost of a new project by drawing on the relationships between historical and statistical data to deliver high-level estimations quickly and with different levels of granularity.

Retail chains and franchises use parametric estimating during the pre-construction phase to develop comprehensive conceptual models to understand the budget, opportunity, and planning required. This is particularly critical for large, complex projects where cost confidence is critical during the pre-construction phase and best-guess estimates of old weren’t as informed or as accurate as they needed to be.

For instance, Publix Super Markets recently announced plans for its first store in Kentucky, with a grand opening in Louisville slated for late 2023. Before deciding whether to break ground on a project like this, developers typically establish a high-level estimate using parametric models based on actual project data from previous developments.

These conceptual models are also adjustable. As the parameters of a project change – such as the size of the building or the use of new construction materials – cost estimators can dynamically account for these variables and achieve confident cost projections.

Once the model is developed, it can be reused for similar projects and the quality of data is improved with each iteration.

Construction market dynamics create challenges – but innovation brings answers

Even with these data-driven insights, market developments and fluctuations can throw a wrench in the works, potentially delaying budget approvals and bid solicitation process. For example, before the pandemic, if a contractor requested a price from a supplier, that estimate was good for six months – today, it may only be valid through the end of the day. As a result, cost estimators often reprice a project numerous times to accommodate unpredictable environments as well as client requirements.

Modern parametric models can help streamline this process. Not only do they allow estimators to create estimates faster than ever, they also provide the flexibility for users to change their inputs and run different scenarios – making it easier to anticipate and account for price fluctuations.

Check out this earlier blog from Acuity’s Frank Richardson. Frank shares some valuable tips on how building owners can control material costs from the outset and mitigate the impact of price fluctuations.

Another challenge that developers and owners face is finding ways to mitigate the disconnect between high-level parametric estimates during the conceptual stage and detailed cost assessments as the project matures. This is an area where Acuity International continues to innovate.

CostModeler is a breakthrough in the Acuity team’s development of a strategic vision to accelerate pre-construction productivity supported by big data and analytical insights. Through the parametric application, users can develop and adjust comprehensive conceptual models in the preliminary stages of any project to better understand the budget, opportunity, and planning.

As new project opportunities progress towards later stages, parametric models built within the new CostModeler tool can be converted to a comprehensive, detailed cost estimate with just a few clicks.

This puts up-to-date cost data into the hands of developers with full transparency into the source, quote date, and direct pricing for rapid decision making – a capability that has become more critical in today’s dynamic construction market.

The future of parametric estimation

CostModeler is just the first step in our advanced roadmap for the pre-construction industry. It will soon be followed by what-if analysis, geo-mapping, the next phase of risk analysis, and forecasting.

Learn more about how parametric estimating advances facility lifecycle capabilities.


About the Author

Mark Clark, Senior Cost ConsultantMark Clark is a Senior Cost Consultant with over 30 years of experience managing commercial and residential projects. He is experienced in all phases of construction and renovation and is knowledgeable in compliance standards relating to all government regulations and codes. Mark has supported various large and small-scale projects in the private and public sectors.

Connect with Mark at mark.clark@acuityinternational.com.