F.A.Q.




What is ENVision?

ENVision is a library of cost models that allow you to report your total environmental restoration (ER) costs used for liability estimating, budgeting, feasibility studies, what-if analysis, and more. ENVision includes over 350 Cost Estimating Relationships (CERs) that can be combined to develop environmental restoration liability estimates. ENVision also includes pre-built Integrated CERs (ICERs) that estimate the entire life-cycle of an environmental remediation project. You can store prior-year estimates in your own or a shared library for archival purposes.

Also, the particular cost model development method we've taken with ENVision allows you to adjust each model based on actuals. After project completion, you can adjust the model using historical data to identify statistical relationships between cost and design parameters.

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What are cost models?

Cost models are used to estimate costs for projects that have little to no available data. Technically called a Cost Estimating Relationship (CER), they use parameter-driven cost algorithms that calculate costs based on user input and are the foundation for building a parametric cost estimate. CERs are derived from a statistical analysis of historical project cost data and other validated sources and compiled into mathematical equations using our proprietary procedure.

Cost models are often used during the conceptual and preliminary planning phases of a project. Cost model developers work collectively to capture high-level business process knowledge and develop a cost model (in IDEAL). This model is run for the upcoming project to calculate cost for budgeting, etc.

With ENVision, we have pre-built project level models that we call Integrated CERs, or ICERs. Each ICER includes related CERs that cover the entire lifecycle. You can then add, remove, or disable CERs as you see fit.

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What types of ER costs does ENVision estimate?

ENVision estimates site-specific costs such as compensation and benefits of Government personnel; contractor support; machinery and equipment; utilities (if separately billed); security and surveillance; fees for permits, licenses, and approvals; costs for deletion from the NPL; and site- specific overhead and management costs for multiple technologies and activities.

ENVision also includes multiple professional labor models. These models estimate overhead and management costs for personnel at all levels of the organization (e.g., installation, intermediate command or regional, and headquarters) who will devote significant time directly to environmental restoration efforts at specific sites.

Additionally, ENVision estimates costs for initial containment and studies to develop the environmental restoration plan for the site, should a remediation technology not exist to address the contamination at the site.

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Does ENVision allow me to manage and track costs at the site-level?

Yes. It is up to you to define the scope (whether site or installation-wide). Most ENVision models are typically used at a site-level. However, models like “5 Year Review” are particularly useful at the installation-wide level.

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Can I add indirect, overhead, and management costs?

Yes. With ENVision you can I add indirect and overhead and management costs that cannot be attributed to specific sites to rolled-up CTC estimates and report these costs at the appropriate installation, intermediate or regional command, or program level.

Further, with IDEAL’s User Defined Estimate capability, you can add any type of cost and adjust each model as needed. These costs and adjustments are seamlessly integrated into your estimate and for reporting.

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Does ENVision allow me to adjust the models estimate based on historical costs?

Yes. ENVision models are specifically designed to be adjusted based on historical costs at similar sites. Historical costs are the best tool for producing valid estimates, however, these costs are often difficult and costly to collect. With IDEAL, you can collect these costs according to the same code of accounts that ENVision uses then immediately adjust the model(s) based on these costs.

We developed ENVision so that you can adjust each model at the level you collect costs at. Other solutions require you to collect historical costs at a level detail (i.e., unit cost/quantity level) not typically available.

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Are ENVision models developed using un-inflated dollars?

Yes. ENVision models are developed using un-inflated dollars based on the FY in which the model is developed.

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Can ENVision estimates be adjusted by inflation indexes?

Yes. Each ENVision model includes a markup to adjust for inflation based on pre-defined inflation indexes that can be adjusted by an authorized user.

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Can ENVision report a list of all estimates based on some criteria?

Yes. Estimates developed with ENVision models are typically organized in a library that can be filtered and queried to identify estimates that match criteria. For example, with IDEAL you can easily capture estimates with changes of 10 percent or greater from the prior year estimate (minimum $25,000 change, excluding inflation and work completed).

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Does ENVision use typical environmental restoration phases?

Yes. ENVision estimates costs associated with phases of the environmental restoration process from initial studies through Response Complete (RC) and Long Term Management (LTM), including obtaining regulatory reviews.

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Does ENVision allow me to report my site-level estimates by phase?

Yes. All ENVision models are organized by environmental restoration phase. Therefore, you can filter and report costs by each phase.

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Are ENVision models based on existing remediation technologies?

Yes. We update ENVision each year to ensure that each model remains current with existing remediation technologies. We incorporate emerging technologies based on industry and ENVision user demand.

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Can I account for multiple potential environmental restoration scenarios in one estimate?

Yes. With IDEAL, you can combine multiple models into a single estimate and organize that estimate by scenario. You can then simply enable or disable specific scenarios as your project matures.

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Does ENVision help me maintain defensible, audit-ready ER cost estimates?

Yes. ENVision models are verified and validated and are continually maintained. ENVision models, coupled with IDEAL and proper documentation, are defensible and audit ready.

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Is ENVision verified, validated, and accredited pursuant to DoDI 5000.61?

Yes. ENVision has been verified, validated, and accredited pursuant to DoD 5000.61 under guidance of the U.S. Navy.

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Can I document my model inputs at the project, CER (component), and the parameter level?

Yes. With IDEAL, you can document at every level using notes. At the CER and project level, you can attach documents and links. You can also:

  • Generate an estimate summary report, from summary to detail.
  • Export your estimate to Excel, HTML, PDF, or XML.
  • Control confidential or privileged documents that must not be accessible to the public. With IDEAL Desktop you can maintain all your estimates/documents on a controlled machine behind your firewall.
  • List of all documents / manage documents at the model level.

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Do the ENVision models follow a hierarchical approach?

Yes. The ENVision models are hierarchical and object-oriented. With IDEAL, this means that you can not only hierarchically view and organize your estimate, but that you can duplicate, merge, move, and remove individual models or major sections of your estimates easily.

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Can I share my estimates with other users in the system?

Yes. With IDEAL, you can share your estimate using a shared library or directly with other IDEAL users via IDEAL Web.

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Does ENVision provide a way for individuals to easily review and approve estimates?

Yes. With IDEAL you can provide various levels of access to your estimate: from developing your estimate with a colleague to providing your estimate for review/approval to management.

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For indefinite LTM phases, do ENVision estimates include a finite period of 30 years?

Yes. ENVision models can be setup to define a finite period for LTM phases.

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Is there training available for ENVision?

Yes. We provide training in ENVision. ENVision training can also be provided along with:

  • Training in preparing defensible Independent Government Estimates for environmental remediation; Covering various Cost-estimating techniques.
  • Training in general environmental studies that address contamination, and laws and regulations governing environmental restoration and associated processes.
  • Training in environmental programs related to the type of estimate being developed.
  • Training in project planning and management related to cost estimate preparation.
  • Training in accounting and auditing policies.

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Can you customize an ENVision model for me?

Absolutely. We want ENVision to be as accurate for you as possible and you have worked hard to stand out from the industry. So it is important that you not only have the capability of adjusting the costs based on actuals, but that you can benefit from a taylored model to fit your business. This is one of the main reasons we chose to use IDEAL for our development. With IDEAL, we can rapidly deploy customized models. If you're interested in customizing models, just contact us.

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What is IDEAL?

IDEAL is a cost modeling platform for developing and running advanced cost models. The ENVision models are developed and deployed through IDEAL (desktop and web).

We have the basics on IDEAL in this FAQ, but please check out IDEAL's site at www.idealestimating.com

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How does IDEAL work?

The IDEAL framework begins with the parameter. Each parameter has configurable attributes that define how it interacts with the user and other parameters. Formulas in IDEAL use the same INFIX notation used by Excel. Parameters are grouped into nodes. Each node represents a Cost Estimating Relationship (CER). Multiple CERs (nodes) can be combined and re-used into the IDEAL tree. Parameter values are passed down the tree and costs are rolled up.

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How do you access IDEAL?

IDEAL is available on the desktop (on Windows XP, Vista, 7, & 8) or on the web through a standard Web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.). Cost Model developers use IDEAL Desktop to transform business process knowledge into cost models. Managers and other end-users then run these models using a web browser. Cost Model developers can share (and even sell) their models with other developers, power users, and clients using IDEAL’s standard client-server solution or a custom integrated network solution.

  • IDEAL Client/ Server (Figure A): A typical hosted solution on the Internet. It should be noted that the IDEAL Desktop application only requires authentication to run. It does not require continuous connection with the server to run the models/estimates. This allows a user to work and upload the estimate/data to the server when he/she sees fit.
  • Integrated Network Solution/Custom Install (Figure B):
IDEAL can easily be installed behind a company/agency firewall. The IDEAL server would be behind the firewall and the desktop and web version of IDEAL would be accessed behind that firewall through a company/agency intranet. Client/salesmen can connect to IDEAL through the individual company/agency intranet as well.

IDEAL works best on what platforms?

The Desktop version of IDEAL runs on all versions of the Windows operating system. It also operates in an OS X development version. IDEAL Web is browser based so it functions on all platforms.

IDEAL Web also functions on tablets and to a more limited degree on smart phones. IDEAL Web is built using responsive design techniques which means that it adjust the interface controls based on the resolution of the screen. Therefore if you access a browser on a tablet, laptop, or phone, it will work appropriately. With respect to the smart phone implementation, we are still updating some of the controls for that.

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Are there any prerequisites for client installation?

As far as the client Windows installation it can be run on all versions of the Windows operating system. The installation is simple. You download an .exe on to the desktop. Create a folder called “Ideal” and when you run the .exe everything will download. Everything that IDEAL needs to run will be in that one folder. Then you can create a shortcut to your desktop and toolbar. If you are a desktop level user, you will also have web access. You just go to a URL that will have your name in it and add in your username and password.

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Can you create and/or run the models off line?

Yes. You do need to authenticate, so you do need to login. However, once you login with the server you can continue to work offline in either installation solution. As such, you can develop models that are only stored and run on your desktop.

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Are IDEAL licenses “floating” or locked to a work station?

IDEAL licenses can be considered “floating” licenses. As it currently works, a user logs into IDEAL (web or desktop) and authenticates by logging in. Therefore, authentication on multiple locations is possible. You can have IDEAL on two or more computers, but projects that are stored locally (not uploaded to the server) can only be accessed on the computer where they are stored.

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Can you get subtotals per cost category at each WBS level?

Yes. You can build your tree structure in terms of your categories/activities. In a manner defined by you, the model user/estimator.

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What cost is displayed in front of each WBS level?

The costs displayed is determined by the model developer. This is typically the total or subtotal of all cost categories. IDEAL allows the user to then choose to display specific categories made available by the model developer.

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Is it possible overwrite the equation results for parameters?

Overwriting is possible only if it allowed by the developer. The model developer can restrict use, visibility and modification of each parameter. The model user can overwrite parameters as allowed and then can return to a default value by selecting the default button for each parameter.

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Does IDEAL provide reports?

Yes. IDEAL comes with a comprehensive report. This is report which displays all costs and parameters that the user has selected. This is a report from a user’s perspective, not a developer’s perspective. There are a number of reports that either provide additional detail or are more of a summary level.

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Is training available?

Yes. There is training and manuals for help. They are being updated presently for release online. They will be integrated both in the desktop and on the web both for the developer and the estimator. For the developer we would highly recommend a training program.

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