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Construction Estimating in the UK

Construction estimating is the process of forecasting the cost of building a structure. This can help determine a project’s feasibility, scope, and budget. It can also prevent the contractor from losing profit and ensure that the customer is not overpaying.

A building estimator is responsible for calculating and revising a project’s cost estimates. They often work for construction companies, engineering firms, or architectural firms. They must stay up-to-date with construction regulations and standards.


The qualifications needed to become a construction estimator are a good work ethic, attention to detail and an ability to read architectural plans. You should also be able to make judgements and assessments of budget costs from limited information. You should also be a good team player as you will work closely with other professionals, including project managers and planners. You may also need to attend training courses and seminars to keep up with industry changes.

Construction estimates are used for many purposes, from submitting bids to establishing project costs and budgets. They typically take into account the projected cost of materials and labour, which is based on historical data. However, this is only useful if the information is collected and stored in a format that can be easily retrieved and used. In addition, price indices for labor and material should be taken into account.

The first step in preparing an estimate is to validate the project’s scope of work. The scope document, along with the building plans and specs, gives an estimator a place to start. From there, the estimator can compile a list of the materials required to construct the building, called a quantity takeoff. The estimator can then break the quantities down into “work packages,” which can be assigned to specialty contractors. This helps to ensure that all the necessary work is done and prevents duplicate work.

Working conditions

The work of a construction estimator requires an extreme level of attention to detail. In addition to a thorough understanding of the project’s specifications, he or she must also be familiar with local market prices for materials such as steel and wood. This information is critical for ensuring that the estimate is accurate and complete.

A construction estimate is a key tool in the budget control process of a building project. It can be used to provide a contractor with a more precise bid, as well as to help the client determine if a project is feasible within its allotted budget. Construction estimates can be based on historical cost data or may include input price indices of labor and materials. However, it is important to note that these indices are not foolproof, and systematic changes over time can introduce uncertainty into estimates.

Estimators are tasked with predicting future costs. Unlike cost engineers who are able to use historic pricing data, construction estimators must take into account local market conditions, such as supply and demand for labor and materials. Moreover, they must also factor in the cost of insurance and bonds that contractors must purchase.

Construction estimating software can help improve workflow and reduce the amount of time it takes to prepare an estimate. This type of software typically comes with a variety of pre-made templates and can be customized for each project. It can also be linked to accounting systems for seamless data flow.


Construction estimators need to have excellent analytical skills to calculate costs and anticipate risks. They often work closely with the project managers to ensure that their estimates are accurate. These professionals may also need to negotiate pricing and find alternative materials at budget-friendly prices. This is a challenging job that requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

The salary of a construction estimator varies depending on the area in which they specialize. For example, mechanical construction estimators are experts in the cost of installing HVAC systems on commercial buildings, electrical construction estimators are familiar with everything above ground level, while civil engineering construction estimators are knowledgeable about the costs involved with all aspects of a building’s foundation. Construction estimators also need to know how much it costs to hire specialized workers and purchase equipment. They must also be able to present cost summaries to clients and customers.

There are several ways to become a construction estimator, including earning a bachelor’s degree in building science, civil engineering, or construction management. Many employers offer on-the-job training to help you learn the skills of the position. In addition, you can take courses to improve your skills and knowledge in the industry. These courses include project management, data analysis, and the use of software. Typically, these courses are offered by universities and private companies.

Working hours

A construction estimator’s working hours can vary, depending on the time of year and the type of project. During the peak of summer, for example, working hours may be increased to deal with extra demand. Estimators typically work office hours, but may be required to visit construction sites at certain times. They can be employed by commercial, industrial and residential construction companies as well as by major electrical, mechanical and trade contractors.

Working as a construction estimator is challenging because it involves predicting future costs. The building projects that the estimator estimates won’t be completed for six to 18 months after they are created, and prices and availability of materials, equipment and labor are constantly changing. In addition, a construction estimate must take into account current market prices and price trends in order to be accurate.

In addition to calculating direct costs, such as labor and material costs, the estimator must also consider indirect costs, such as insurance and bonding. This is because these costs must be covered by the contractor in order to complete the job. Finally, the estimator must determine a markup for profit and contingency.

While the estimating process can be challenging, it can also be rewarding. In some cases, estimators are able to free up cash flow for project owners by using discounted pricing on materials and negotiating 120-day terms with suppliers.