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Using national or regional cost data is an easy way to quickly generate a budget or basic estimate for projects and make sure your pricing is competitive.

While many estimators rely on printed publications or secondary databases to access this information, you can access BNi item cost data directly within STACK Takeoff and Estimating.

You can apply the average national (US) or regional cost data from 600 areas across the United States and Puerto Rico to over 10,000 of the most commonly used items across industries.

NOTE: You will need to request the initial setup of this feature in your account. Simply complete this form and we'll email you when the request has been processed. (Usually within 24 - 48 hours.)


The 10,000+ item base package is available at no additional charge with your paid STACK account. It includes some sample assemblies and pre-built takeoffs for various trades to help demonstrate different assembly strategies that might be helpful and ways you can customize your own BNi content.

Trade-specific packages (Mechanical, Interiors, Sitework, Concrete / Masonry, Electrical, Roofing) or an all database package (22,000+ items) are available at an additional cost.

See below for more information and instructions:

How Cost Data Can Be Helpful

Apply BNi Cost Data to an Estimate (instructions)

How Cost Data is Determined


How Cost Data Can Be Helpful

Easily budget for your project​:

  • Quickly apply costs to your takeoffs​.

  • A great choice if precision is not required for this stage of the project.

Quickly generate estimates:

  • Items are comprehensive, yet simple enough that new and seasoned estimators can produce good estimates quickly.

  • Typical coverage and productivity rates are included in item calculations.

Ensure bids are competitive​:

  • Costs are averages for the location of the project​.

  • Some of your competitors will be using the same data​.

Bid for work in new areas:

  • Industry experts have provided current average costs for hundreds of regions across the US.

  • Costs will be added based on the region you choose.

NOTE: If you want to generate a precise material list​, it is best to use items from STACK’s standard item catalogs or upload your own item database.

TIP: Starting with cost data items to quickly budget and create an estimate, then following with STACK’s standard items to create a detailed material list or proposal can be a powerful combination​.

  • You can use the same takeoffs for both sets of content​.

  • Snapshots of reports can preserve data if items and/or assemblies are removed​.

  • Both sets of data can be used for analytics after a job is complete.


Apply BNi Cost Data to an Estimate

NOTE: You will need to request the initial setup of this feature in your account. Simply complete this form. We'll email you when the request has been processed (usually within 24 - 48 hours) and then you can follow the instructions below.

  1. Add BNi Items, BNi Sample Assemblies, or a custom assembly containing BNI items to your takeoff. (Click for info on how to Add or Remove Items from a Takeoff or How to Customize or Create an Assembly if needed.)

  2. Click the ESTIMATES button.

  3. Open or create a Labor and Material Estimate.

  4. Click the Tag icon to the left of the Summary button. (This will take you to the estimate worksheet.)

  5. Click Select Region.

    • You can select from the dropdown or type in the state abbreviation or city.

    • Dropdown is alphabetized by state abbreviation (PR for Puerto Rico), then city.

    • For national average pricing, select US – AVERAGE.

  6. Click Update Cost. BNi items* on the estimate will be updated with the selected regional pricing.

* You can tell if an item is from BNi or another item catalog by hovering over the item name.

Overwrite/Change BNi Cost Data

You can manually overwrite the populated Unit Cost pricing if needed. (Pricing in the Unit Cost field will appear bold if it has been manually changed.)

If you do overwrite the populated pricing and want to go back to BNi catalog supplied pricing or change the region, follow the steps below.

Update BNi cost data gif
  1. Go to the ESTIMATES tab and open the estimate.

  2. Click the Tag icon to the left of the Summary button.

    If needed, select the new region from the dropdown.

  3. Click the green Update Costs button.

  4. Select Update Costs if you want to update but keep manual changes to Unit Cost you have entered.
    OR
    Select Replace Manual Costs and Update to update all costs, including manual changes you have made to Unit Cost. Click Replace and Update to confirm.

NOTE: This will update the Unit Cost for all catalog items (BNi and others) on the estimate, including those not currently shown because of applied data filters.


How Cost Data is Determined

The BNi item cost data in STACK is updated annually. It is the same data published in the annual BNi cost estimating guides.

Material Costs

The material costs provided by BNi represent national averages for prices (typical average cost over time) that a contractor would expect to pay, plus an allowance for freight (if applicable) and handling and storage.

NOTE: Periodic fluctuations in availability and pricing of certain commodities can significantly affect local material pricing. It is best to check current, local prices in the final estimating and bidding stages of a project for the most accurate pricing.

Calculations for Labor and Equipment

Each BNi cost item that is not "material only," has one of 20 possible Crew Type designations.

For each of these 20 crew types, the Labor Rate Table provides:

  • The number of individuals in the crew.

  • The hourly rate for the crew.

  • The daily equipment rental cost (if any) associated with that crew.

Labor Rate Table for 2022

NOTE: Selecting a region other than US - AVERAGE will adjust the labor rate to account for increased or decreased labor costs for the selected region.

Each BNi cost item also has a value for "daily output in units." Output is the number of tasks the specified crew or piece of equipment can accomplish in a day. For example, the number of square feet a painter can cover in a day or the amount of earth a backhoe can remove in a day.

  • Labor Cost per unit of measure = (Rate * 8 * Number of Crew) / Output

    *The rate is hourly, based on an 8-hour day.

    Labor Costs include the typical average wage rates, common taxes, insurance, and markups for overhead and profit.

    Fixed government rates and average allowances for taxes and insurance - employer-paid Social Security/Medicare taxes (FICA), Worker’s Compensation insurance, state and federal unemployment taxes, and business insurance - are included in the labor costs.

    NOTE: These items vary significantly based on location - you should consult your local agencies and sources for specific data.

  • Equipment Rental Cost per unit of measure = Equipment Cost / Output

    *Equipment Cost is per day.

  • Labor Hours per unit of measure = (8 / Output) / Number of Crew


Related Articles

Add or Remove Items from a Takeoff
How to Customize or Create an Assembly

Add, Edit or Remove an Assembly on a Takeoff

How to Use STACK Estimating Tools


If you need additional assistance, please contact us.

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