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Construction Estimating

Construction Estimating Tips: 5 Essential Insights

Construction estimating defines the total cost for its realization. Here’s what it entails and 5 valuable tips to optimize it

During the drafting of a construction project, accurately forecasting the construction costs of a structure is essential for its successful completion. Here are some helpful suggestions that, with the assistance of an advanced construction estimating software, can enhance and streamline this process.

What is Construction Estimating?

Construction estimating is the process of evaluating the costs necessary to complete a specific construction project. This estimation is carried out by a qualified technician in both private and public contracts and regulates the relationships between the involved parties, namely the designer, client, and contractor.

It typically lists all the necessary work types for completing the construction, specifying quantities and their respective costs, including expenses for:

  • materials;
  • equipment;
  • provisional works;
  • rentals;
  • labor;
  • technical expenses;

Construction Estimating Procedures

Among the various estimation procedures, we can identify:

  • synthetic-comparative: developed in the preliminary phase, it consists of a parametric estimate for comparison with similar constructions. Typically, this procedure begins with the identification of the analysis sample, followed by the selection of measurement units and the calculation of parametric costs. After performing a chronological leveling and an analysis of cost distribution, estimating proceeds;
  • mixed: it proceeds with an estimate for functional elements and constituent components. After identifying a reference construction, similar in type and size to the one being analyzed, it is broken down into components, and from the cost estimate of individual components, the overall cost of the construction is obtained;
  • analytical-reconstructive: it is used in advanced design and executive phases. A project is broken down into multiple work types, for each work, quantities are identified, and each quantity is associated with a unit price, based on national analyses and price lists. The product of quantities multiplied by the respective unit price, for each work, allows obtaining the overall estimate of a work type cost.

Why Developing Construction Estimate is Important?

Developing a construction estimate is important to ensure the success of any construction process. Estimating costs accurately and doing so from the outset of the design is crucial to understand if there is a real possibility of implementing a project and to ensure that a project remains financially feasible, avoiding cost overruns.

Furthermore, adequately developing an estimating process consequently ensures the implementation of an optimized planning process: an in-depth understanding of activities and timings allows for better resource management and an increase in profit margins.

Construction Estimation - PriMus

Construction Estimting – PriMus

How to Develop Construction Estimating: 5 Useful Tips

To best develop an estimating process, it is advisable to adapt it to the design stage in which you find yourself. This process details itself as the construction planning progresses, and three main moments can be easily identified:

  • the preliminary phase, where the process appears as a simple economic feasibility study, collecting approximate costs related to the main works;
  • the design phase, where all technical, architectural, structural, and plant details are incorporated, along with their expenses;
  • the executive phase, starting from the base cost estimate document, companies will draft their offers, which will be examined and evaluated, leading to the choice of the most reliable company, identified based on the quality/price ratio.

Sometimes, developing a precise estimate can be very complex, even for the most experienced professionals, so I suggest you take a look at these 5 useful tips, capable of giving you an extra boost:

  1. Follow the client’s requests: it’s important to keep all of their objectives and requests in mind, maintaining ongoing dialogue and cooperation. It’s crucial to define every detail of the project together, clarifying rates, additional costs, and analyzing potential risks;
  2. Use an analytical-reconstructive method: the unit cost method is the most precise method for making your estimate. Without performing an analytical analysis of the project’s cost, it’s much more likely that the project will exceed the budget. This can lead to a series of problems, including the inability to pay for materials or labor, project delays, and even project cancellation. Drawing up a cost estimate will provide greater accuracy;
  3. Use real costs for estimating: to generate real estimates, you must use real and up-to-date costs. Many people make the mistake of using fixed rates for all works, creating unreal estimates. Having free access with just one click to a database of price lists and rates for construction with over 10 million items, materials, and prices for construction and plant works will certainly facilitate your work, allowing you to manage construction in every aspect;
  4. Develop a flexible estimate: cost estimates are always subject to changes in budget and design, but not only that, changes in estimates are often due to changes in official price lists or delays in project implementation, resulting in increased costs for equipment and labor. It’s essential never to be caught unprepared and to develop a working method that allows you to easily backtrack if the client or surrounding conditions require it, without losing too much time in rework;
  5. Pair your work with the right tools: if you want to be in line with trends, clear, precise, accurate, and compete with the most professional studios, you must digitize all the estimating processes of construction. With the use of a construction estimating software, you create budgets, BoQs, estimating labor and safety impact, requests for proposals, feasibility studies, progress states, etc.
Tips for construction work estimation

Tips for construction work estimating

It is clear, therefore, that construction estimating is a crucial phase in every construction project. An accurate cost estimate can ensure success and project profitability. Investing time and energy in cost estimating is an essential step for the construction industry, but choosing the right tools can make a difference.