September 9, 2022

What Is A Construction Estimator & What Do They Do?

Nexvia is the best construction estimating software in Australia, helping contractors make faster, smarter decisions. Here's why this tool is right for you.

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For a construction project to be successful, a team of experts with specific expertise need to work together. One of the relevant positions for a construction team is a construction estimator, who calculates prices by measuring costs and applying a markup that goes into the project’s total price.

Construction estimators play an important role in keeping track of estimates and preventing misunderstandings with clients, especially if the project involves bidding. Arriving at an accurate estimate is necessary to close the project with a prospective client and ensure that you can deliver based on the material specifications.

What is a construction estimator?

A construction estimator is a professional who prepares cost estimates of a construction project, including materials, labour and other costs for buildings and other structures. Construction estimators, also called cost estimators or construction cost estimators, use various tools and methods to make their estimates, which construction companies then use to bid on projects, negotiate contracts and ultimately determine the final cost of a project.

Estimators can be employees or independent contractors. They can work on one project at a time or dozens at once, and they may specialise in residential or commercial buildings.

Construction estimators typically have a college degree in engineering, architecture or any related field. Many also have experience working in the construction industry. Construction estimators work for contractors, architects or engineers during the planning stages of building and road projects. Estimating helps them decide if they can afford to do the job without exceeding the budget.

Important qualities of a construction estimator

Construction estimators must have a thorough understanding of the construction process and an ability to read and interpret blueprints or other technical drawings. They must also be good researchers, since their role involves calculating the cost of materials and labour.

Additionally, construction estimators must have strong maths skills and know how to use software programs like Nexvia’s cloud-based Construction Estimating & Tendering Software to prepare estimates. Other essential qualities of a construction estimator include:

  • Analytical skills — Construction estimators need to understand complex documents and make calculations quickly and accurately.
  • Communication skills — Estimators prepare written reports that describe their estimates. They also present their estimates to clients, managers and other stakeholders. As a result, they need to be able to clearly and concisely explain their calculations.
  • Detail-oriented — Construction estimators must pay close attention to detail to avoid making mistakes in their estimates.
  • Interpersonal skills — Estimators often work with other professionals, such as architects, engineers and construction managers. They need to be able to build relationships and work cooperatively with others.
  • Organisational skills — Construction estimators need to keep track of multiple projects and deadlines. They also prioritise their work and handle multiple tasks simultaneously.
  • Time management skills — Estimators must be able to complete their work promptly. They also need to work well under pressure and meet deadlines.

Construction estimator job role

Although you can quickly determine what a construction estimator does based on their job title, there are other tasks that they execute to ensure the success of a project, such as:

  • Validating the project’s scope of work.
  • Studying blueprints, drawings and other documentation to prepare estimates.
  • Identifying labour and material to create a quantity takeoff.
  • Studying the time requirements by reviewing proposals, schedules and related documents.
  • Estimating equipment rental costs, including delivery and pickup fees, fuel charges and maintenance costs.
  • Converting building plans and specifications into an estimate of a project’s time, materials and expenses.
  • Visiting the construction site to determine equipment and transportation costs.
  • Selecting the appropriate construction methods and strategies.
  • Adjusting total cost for profit, overhead and indirect construction costs.
  • Presenting cost estimates to clients or managers.
  • Revising estimates when plans or specifications change.
  • Monitoring project progress and revising estimates as necessary.

On a day-to-day basis, these are the construction estimator’s job roles:

  • Estimating the cost of a construction project

The estimator will review all documents related to the project, including plans, specifications and drawings, and then provide an estimate on how much it will cost to complete the job.

  • Developing a budget for a construction project

Once an estimate has been developed based on all relevant documentation, information should be gathered regarding labour costs and materials needed for the project to create a budget that shows how much money is required to complete each phase of work within manageable boundaries.

This may involve working closely with other members of your company’s management team who specialise in accounting and finance to help keep track of finances throughout the process while still being able to meet deadlines without exceeding budgeted amounts.

  • Preparing schedules for completing various phases of work

This involves looking at and managing the schedules of each contract awarded by your company’s clients/customers or partners/vendors. This includes developing timelines for tasks outlined within the contracts to identify certain milestones and their projected completion date.

Why hire an estimator?

If you have a construction project, it is recommended to hire an estimator. They are responsible for getting as much information about your project as possible and determining how much it will cost to complete the work.

A construction estimator can save you time and money by accurately estimating the cost of your project. They can also help you avoid costly mistakes by providing a good analysis of your project’s materials, labour and other fees. When hiring a construction estimator, ask for references and check their backgrounds carefully.

Use Nexvia’s cost-estimating software for easier, faster estimates

At Nexvia, our cloud-based, smart construction estimating software offers a range of features that make estimating and tendering faster and more efficient. If you aren’t sure it’s best for your business, we offer a free trial and free online training, so you can try it out before committing. Contractors use Nexvia to win more jobs by getting bids done faster and with less stress. So why wait? Start your free trial today.

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Contact us now for more information about our software and to arrange a free demo.

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