Construction Estimator Job Description

Construction estimators use their expertise as well as the resources at their disposal to estimate the amount of money, time, materials, and labor required to complete a given construction project. Since construction estimators’ conclusions will directly influence a company’s decisions, it’s important that construction estimators have financial acumen and analytical skills. Construction estimators work in a standard office environment, although they also regularly visit construction sites.

 

Construction Estimator Duties and Responsibilities

In order to provide accurate estimates and draw educated conclusions, construction estimators perform many different tasks. Based on the job listings we looked at, construction estimators take on these duties and responsibilities:

Identify Cost Factors

From labor expenses to production time, there are many factors with can affect the cost of a construction project. It’s up to the construction estimator to identify and quantify those factors in order to create the most accurate cost estimate possible.

Gather Information

In order to create an accurate estimate, construction estimators must also gather as much information as they can to make well-informed projections. To do this, construction estimators travel to construction sites and read blueprints and other documents.

Analyze Information

Once a construction estimator has gathered an adequate amount of information, they’ll need to analyze that information and create estimates based on that analysis. Many construction estimators use specialized computer software to calculate estimates once they’ve completed their analysis.

Make Recommendations

After creating an accurate estimate, construction estimators are expected to make recommendations about how to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and boost profits. They can make recommendations about specific areas for improvement, or they can organize their recommendations into a complete project plan.

Collaborate

When creating an estimate, it’s essential that construction estimators collaborate with experts and professionals, such as engineers, contractors, and clients. By doing this, they can form a more accurate estimate.

Document and Share Information

In order to maintain a consistent stream of correct information across all teams and divisions, construction estimators must thoroughly document findings, actions, recommendations, and updates. They then distribute that information using the proper channels.

 

Construction Estimator Skills and Qualifications

Construction estimators are analytical thinkers with the ability to work both independently and as part of a team. Depending on the type of company they’re employed by, constructions estimators may also need to possess additional expertise in certain areas, such as residential or commercial construction. Employers usually prefer construction estimators with the following skills:

  • Financial acumen – since the primary function of construction estimators is to provide meticulously detailed financial estimates, it’s essential that they possess a great degree of financial know-how
  • Math skills – different types of math, such as algebra, geometry, and arithmetic, are all instrumental in creating high-quality estimates
  • Writing skills – to properly communicate the estimates they’ve created, construction estimators need to write accurate reports. Thus, they need to possess strong writing skills
  • Technical knowledge – construction estimators have a firm grasp on the ins and outs of the construction industry’s typical processes, materials, and costs. This makes it easier for them to properly analyze information
  • Attention to detail – since even seemingly small details can greatly affect the final cost of a construction project, it’s crucial for construction estimators to have a high level of attention to detail.

 

Tools of the Trade

Construction estimators typically use these tools in their daily work:

  • Construction estimation software (such as Buildertrend, CoConstruct, and Sage Estimating)
  • Documentation and project management software (such as Smartsheet)

 

Education and Training

The level of education construction estimators must possess varies greatly depending on their employer. For example, construction estimators for highly technical projects (such as the construction of a highway or skyscraper) may be required to have an engineering degree, while construction estimators for more small-scale projects (such as home construction) may only be required to have a high school diploma or equivalent. All types of constructions estimators need to have extensive experience in construction in order to succeed.

 

Salary and Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction estimators make an average annual salary of $66,250. The lowest-paid cost estimators, including construction estimators, make $37,000 or less per year, while the highest-paid make $106,010. The employment of cost estimators is expected to increase by 11 percent between 2016 and 2026, meaning that 22,900 jobs in this field will be created during that time period.

 

Helpful Resources

If you aim to become a construction estimator, check out this list of resources we put together to help you achieve that goal.

Estimators, Quality Surveyors and Cost Engineers Forum – this LinkedIn group has more than 60,000 members and was created specifically for the purpose of facilitating discussion between construction estimators and other high-level construction professionals.

2018 National Construction Estimator – the 66th edition of this book contains current costs for residential, commercial, and industrial construction projects, as well as a wealth of tips and recommendations.

American Society of Professional Estimators – the ASPE is an association which provides education, certification, fellowship, and various benefits to residential, commercial, and civil construction estimators.

 

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