Construction estimating services are valuable tools for construction projects. They can help contractors create accurate estimates that take into account all aspects of a project, including labor and material costs. They can also provide contractors with a comparison of quotes from different companies and identify the best contractor for the job.
A well-made construction estimate helps a contractor submit a bid that’s competitive and profitable. In a competitive bidding scenario, underestimating a project’s cost can cause a company to lose out on the contract. On the other hand, overestimating a project’s costs could result in a bid that’s too high and is unlikely to be selected by a client.
During the preliminary steps of a commercial construction estimating process, estimators compile detailed data points. These include the project’s location, building codes, and the availability of special machinery. Estimators also consider tangential expenses that have a direct impact on the project’s total cost. For example, they might account for the cost of bonding and insurance.
Once the preliminary estimates have been made, a professional commercial construction estimating company can create a base estimate for a particular project. This initial estimate includes a profit margin and contingency. The profit margin is the amount of money that a construction business earns for its work, and the contingency is a sum of money set aside to cover unexpected expenses.
To make an accurate estimate, a professional contractor should start by reviewing the project’s scope documents and building plans and specifications. They may then conduct a quantity takeoff, which involves calculating the total number of materials required to build a structure. Typically, professional estimators use digital measurement tools to speed up the process. However, they still double-check their calculations to ensure accuracy.
Construction estimating services provide the tools and data needed to create accurate bids for building projects. The first step in the estimating process is reviewing the project specifications and contract documents, then creating a construction estimate that takes into account all required costs, including materials, labor, equipment, indirect field costs, overhead costs and contingency. This construction estimating process requires knowledge of current market trends and the ability to predict future prices for materials, labor and equipment. These costs are always changing, so estimators must continually update estimates as prices fluctuate.
In addition to material and equipment costs, the construction estimating process must also consider indirect project costs such as insurance and bonds. These costs are not directly tied to the building project but must be accounted for in order to keep a construction business profitable. Inaccurate cost estimates at the outset of a project can lead to massive building overruns, making it challenging for contractors to earn a profit.
The next step in the estimating process is performing a quantity takeoff of all required building materials and equipment. This is often done manually using paper copies of the project plans and drawings, rulers, highlighters, digital measuring tools and pencils to count and measure each item. Some construction estimating companies offer specialized takeoff software, which can speed up the process and increase accuracy. After performing the takeoff, the estimator can then work with local suppliers and vendors to get pricing information for the required materials and equipment.
Accuracy of Takeoffs
Construction estimators create cost estimates as part of the bidding process for construction projects. They work for general contractors, home builders, or specialty contractors and use project blueprints to perform a number of tasks, including quantity takeoffs. This is a key component of estimating, and an inaccurate one can have serious consequences for the project’s budget.
Performing a takeoff involves counting and measuring each element of the building project. These elements may be as simple as a single stair step or as complex as a complete floor. Using a combination of paper copies of the drawings, pencils, rulers, digital measuring tools and software, the estimator calculates a list of materials that will be needed for each item. Estimators often double-check their calculations to ensure accuracy.
Estimators also need to consider indirect costs such as land acquisition, permits, design fees, office support, temporary on-site utilities and mobilization. These costs can add up quickly and can significantly affect a project’s final cost.
In addition, it’s important to know the current costs of labor, materials and equipment. Prices are constantly shifting, and an estimate that relies on outdated information can be inaccurate. For example, a shortage of material or labor can drive up the price of a specific item, making it harder to keep the estimate within the desired range.
Construction estimating services help you determine profitability for your projects. They validate the cost limits that you need to give your architects and help you select the right material. This will minimize costs and optimize efficiency. They also help you verify bids and ensure that the bid amounts are correct. This saves you a lot of time and money. This way, you can get the best results and make sure that your projects are profitable.
The heart of the estimating process is the quantity takeoff, which gives line-by-line costs for the types and quantities of materials needed to build a structure. This takes into account both standard and non-standard materials, as well as local pricing for each. For example, wood is often cheaper in regions near lumber mills. Using this information, estimators can develop more accurate estimates for the project’s budget.
Estimators also need to be aware of potential risks and backup plans for when unforeseen expenses occur during the project. These expenses are difficult to estimate in advance, but can be a huge problem for the project’s profitability. Without proper planning, unforeseen expenses can easily turn building projects into unprofitable undertakings. However, a good estimation will provide an early warning of these issues and give the project manager an opportunity to adjust expectations before a disaster occurs.