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Construction Estimating for Facility Management

Cost estimating is often a time consuming, labor intensive process. However, a well done estimate can be a powerful sales tool and lead to profitable projects for your company.

Many construction firms rely on third-party cost data and their own historical estimating database to provide accurate estimates. However, these indices must be adjusted to the local conditions and specific project characteristics.


Many Facility Management projects require the completion of a construction estimate before they are scheduled and constructed. Accurate estimates are key to winning new work for companies and avoiding cost overruns on existing projects. This makes the effort spent on accurate estimating important to the profitability of both the customer and the builder.

Several companies sell construction data in the form of online databases or cost estimating guides/books. This data is compiled from various locations and a variety of project types. It is then analyzed and reported to provide average costs. Individual site conditions and project complexity can significantly impact the results.

Estimating is a science and an art. Those who are skilled at it understand how to interpret a building design and determine the best approach toward constructing it. They also know how to read a set of plans and specifications, understand the merits and concerns with different construction delivery methods, and know how to assess and incorporate potential cost drivers.

Facilities Management tries to limit the number of projects that require an estimate to those requiring substantial new construction or those where an outside contractor cannot meet project criteria. However, for those projects that must have an estimate, the department has three different pricing options to accommodate varying needs. If you are not sure which type of estimate is needed for your project, please contact the Service Center to get assistance with the appropriate selection.


Facility scheduling involves a complex set of tasks and requires a high level of technical expertise. It involves defining the schedule and resource requirements for each project. Often, it requires the use of sophisticated software to provide more accurate estimates. This helps managers make better decisions and avoid cost overruns. It also enables them to provide more realistic estimates to clients, thus improving client satisfaction.

Cost Estimating can be a stressful and time-consuming process. However, it is important to remember that accurate estimates can win new projects and business for your construction company. It can also reduce costs and increase productivity by allowing you to automate repetitive processes and eliminate human error. This can save a significant amount of time and money in the long run.

The construction estimate for a facility may need to be adjusted for the actual design and construction procedures used on the project, especially if they are different from those on similar projects. This can be done by using compiled indices or considerable professional judgment. It is important to include a buffer in the estimate to take into account unexpected events. This can include subcontractor delays, equipment breakdowns, regulatory hold-ups and staff absenteeism.

The final construction cost can be determined by performing a quantity-takeoff of the facility and assessing unit prices for each item. This is a common procedure for both preliminary and detailed estimates. It is a good idea to visit the construction site before conducting the takeoff to ensure that you do not miss any materials.

Contract Negotiation

When facilities managers are preparing to bid for a contract, they must accurately estimate the labor, material and equipment costs of the project. Labor costs need to be analyzed by breaking down the work into tasks and assigning the appropriate hourly rates, while materials and equipment need to be carefully determined based on requirements. This process will allow facility management to provide accurate, competitive quotes and gain trust with potential clients.

Construction estimates are a key component of the pre-construction phase of a project, and must be prepared by professional estimators. To prepare an estimate, an engineer needs to validate the scope documents, building plans and specs in order to compile a list of quantities for each task in a project. This list, also known as a quantity takeoff, will serve as a starting point for the total cost estimate.

Once the initial estimate is compiled, it can be used for budget control purposes and planning construction financing. During the construction stage, it is important to track changes to the estimate and keep an eye on the project’s progress. A significant deviation from the estimate may indicate a problem with a scope document or the need for revisions to the plan.

It is also important to communicate with vendors throughout the process and be upfront if you foresee any problems that could hinder performance. This will create a win-win situation for everyone and help prevent any major issues down the road.

Project Management

The estimating process must take into account both construction and indirect field costs, such as utility fees, equipment rental, legal expenses, permits, etc. In addition, it must include a reasonable profit margin for the contractor and contingency to cover unexpected overruns in construction or savings from better than expected materials prices or labor rates.

The initial estimate is a preliminary cost, often used to determine whether the project is financially feasible or not. This type of estimate is based on a list of items and their quantities, with unit prices solicited from bidders. This estimate is also useful for evaluating changes in design technology during the preconstruction phase.

A more detailed estimate is the engineer’s estimate, which is based on a complete set of construction documents. Builders perform a quantity takeoff – itemizing measurements from the architectural drawings and linking them to pre-recorded unit pricing in a construction estimation software, such as Buildxact. This produces a comprehensive estimate of all items in the facility, including structural frames and floor finishes.

Each construction business decides on a minimum attractive profit margin, which can vary depending on the size of a company and market conditions. Many estimators also include a contingency amount, which is a percentage of the contract price reserved for overages in construction or for any other unforeseen costs during the project.