Mathematical Operators

Template Tilde Codes & Mathematical Operators


As estimators we quantify plans for materials and labor. We all use the same methodology to arrive at some quantity, i.e. square feet, lineal feet, or count up. Those raw estimated values then have to be converted into logical order units and production schedules.
The following mathematical conventions are standard in The EDGE:


~??~ The two squiggly tildes. They are used to designate a tilde code. You do not need to put braces around a tilde code – the tilde codes are automatically calculated. However, if you want to use a tilde code in a formula, you need braces, like this:
(Where IT = Insulation Thickness (3½”))
Again, without the braces, the program doesn’t know that the above is a formula, so you would get something like SF*3½” in your description. With the braces, you get the quantity SF times Insulation Thickness.

Mathematical Operators:

( ) – These are parentheses or just parens. They are used whenever you need to force the order of operation in a formula, such as 5+6*2. Without the parens, the answer is 17, which is the equivalent of 5+(6*2). With the parens (5+6)*2 the correct answer is 22.
[ ] – These are brackets. They are used to designate a range, and may appear in an item’s description or match code. If the description contains:
~IT~[2,3,4] (Where IT = Insulation Thickness)

then the insulation thickness will be forced to 2″, 3″ or 4″, accordingly. Putting a range in the description does not automatically use the same range for the match code, so if the wrong template line is being dragged into the job, don’t’ look at the description. The match code is what determines which template line to use. When you use brackets, the numbers in the brackets must in ascending order (lowest to highest), like this [1,2,5,10]. The following will cause problems [10,5,2,1]. Also, you should put a “catch-all” value at the end of the range, like this: [1,2,5,10,999]

You want the last number big enough to catch anything that might fall outside the “normal” range. The catch-all number might be 9, 99, 999, 9999, 99999999, or whatever value is big enough for the particular range in mind. The catch-all for a gauge might be 99. For number of layers, it might be 9. If you don’t put a “catch-all” at the end of your range, any value outside the range will not be adjusted at all. So let’s say your formula is
{SF/LF}[1,2,3,4] If SF/LF = 1.22, it will be forced to 2. However, if SF/LF is 5.689, it will not be adjusted at all. It won’t be rounded to the next higher number, or anything.

{ } – These are braces. They are used to designate a formula, and may appear in an item’s description or match code. They are not used in the order formula or price formula, since an order formula and price formula are obviously formulas to begin with. However, if the description contains “{ST/4}”, the text inside the braces is evaluated as a formula. Without the braces, the description doesn’t know ST/4 is a formula – it is just displayed as ST/4. With the braces, it knows to evaluate the quantity ST divided by 4.

It is also possible to have combinations of the above. The following example uses all of the operations and tilde code together:

The example is not as difficult as it might first appear. The above formula says “Calculate the formula specified inside the the braces, which is the quantity ST plus 4 multiplied by the insulation thickness. Take that result and force it to be either 1, 5, 10, or 999.”