Construction estimate

From US Dept of Labor

Accurately forecasting the cost, size, and duration of future projects is vital to the survival of any business. Cost estimators develop the cost information that business owners and managers need to make a bid for a contract or to decide on the profitability of a proposed new project or product. They also determine which endeavors are making a profit.

Regardless of the industry in which they work, estimators collect and analyze data on all of the factors that can affect costs, such as materials, labor, location, duration of the project, and special machinery requirements, including computer hardware and software. Job duties vary widely depending on the type and size of the project.

The methods for estimating costs can also differ greatly by industry. On a large construction project, for example, the estimating process begins with the decision to submit a bid. After reviewing various preliminary drawings and specifications, the estimator visits the site of the proposed project. The estimator gathers information on access to the site; surface topography and drainage, and the availability of electricity, water, and other services. The estimator records this information, which may go in the final project estimate.

After the site visit, the estimator determines the quantity of materials and the labor required to complete the firm’s part of the project. This process, called the quantity survey or “takeoff,” involves completing standard estimating forms, filling in dimensions, numbers of units, and other information. A cost estimator working for a general contractor, for example, estimates the costs of all of the items that the contractor must provide. Although subcontractors estimate their costs as part of their own bidding process, the general contractor's cost estimator often analyzes bids made by subcontractors. Also during the takeoff process, the estimator must make decisions concerning equipment needs, the sequence of operations, the size of the crew required, and physical constraints at the site. Allowances for wasted materials, inclement weather, shipping delays, and other factors that may increase costs also must be incorporated in the estimate.

After completing the quantity surveys, the estimator prepares a cost summary for the entire project, which includes the costs of labor, equipment, materials, subcontractors, overhead, taxes, insurance, markup, and any additional costs that may affect the project. The chief estimator then prepares the bid proposal for submission to the owner. On large construction projects, there may be several estimators, each specializing in one area, such as electrical work or excavation, concrete, and forms.

Construction cost estimators also may be employed by the project's architect, engineering firm, or owner to help establish a budget, manage and control project costs, and to track actual costs relative to bid specifications as the project develops. During construction, estimators may be employed to manage the cost of change orders and negotiate and settle and extra costs or mitigate potential claims. Estimators may also be called upon as expert witness on cost in a construction dispute case. Estimators use construction estimating software.

Experience construction estimators often go into private practice and serve many clients. One trade association in the United States they can be found affiliated with is the Consulting Estmator FORUM. Many estimators join the American Society of Professional Estimators.

See also


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Construction bidding — is the process of submitting a proposal (tender) to undertake, or manage the undertaking of a construction project. The process starts with a construction estimate from blueprints and take offs. The tender is treated as an offer to do the work… …   Wikipedia

  • Construction estimating software — is computer software designed for contractors to estimate construction costs for a specific project. An estimator will typically use estimating software to estimate their bid price for a project, which will ultimately become part of a resulting… …   Wikipedia

  • Construction of One World Trade Center — was deferred until 2006 because of disputes between port authority and the developer. Tishman Realty Construction,[1] is the selected builder. The building reached ground level on May 17, 2008 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2012… …   Wikipedia

  • Construction accounting — is a form of project accounting applied to construction projects. See also production accounting. Construction accounting is a vitally necessary form of accounting, especially when multiple contracts come into play. The construction field uses… …   Wikipedia

  • Construction of the World Trade Center — For the post 9/11 rebuilding and ongoing construction at the World Trade Center site, see World Trade Center site. The completed World Trade Center in March 2001 The construction of the World Trade Center was conceived as an urban renewal project …   Wikipedia

  • estimate — ▪ I. estimate es‧ti‧mate 1 [ˈestmt] noun [countable] 1. a calculation of what the value, size, amount etc of something will probably be: • They were able to give us a rough estimate (= a not very exact one ) of the cost. • Even the most …   Financial and business terms

  • estimate — es|ti|mate1 [ estı,meıt ] verb transitive *** to say what you think an amount or value will be, either by guessing or by using available information to calculate it: It s difficult to estimate the cost of making your house safe. The Antarctic ice …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Construction — For other uses, see Construction (disambiguation). In large construction projects, such as this skyscraper in Melbourne, cranes are essential. In the fields of architecture and civil engineering, construction is a process that consists of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System — The construction of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System was a massive undertaking involving tens of thousands of people often in extreme temperatures and conditions. Specialized construction techniques were pioneered to build the pipeline, most of… …   Wikipedia

  • Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry — The Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry (2001 2003) was a Royal Commission established by the Australian government to inquire into and report upon alleged misconduct in the building and construction industry in Australia …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.