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Construction Estimating for Non-Profit Organizations

Inaccurate construction estimates can quickly lose you a bid, and even worse, cause significant problems throughout the project. Thankfully, there are several ways you can improve your estimating skills.

Eliminate headaches and wasted time chasing material price changes. Let the experienced construction estimating services keep tabs on copper’s up and steel’s down.


The budgeting process is an important one for nonprofits. It allows them to see how they are spending their money and helps them determine if they are meeting their goals. If they are not meeting their goals, the budget can be adjusted to correct that.

The first step in budgeting is to identify all of the expected costs. This includes any supplies needed for the project as well as overhead expenses. Overhead includes things like the executive director’s salary, office space, and other general expenses that are used across the entire organization. It is also a good idea to document any expected in-kind donations and volunteer labor.

Next, the estimator must determine how much to spend on the project. This is done by analyzing the unit cost estimate and the scope of work. The size of the project and type of construction will have an impact on unit costs, as can the negotiated pricing for the project. The estimate can be improved by examining the finalized project drawings and specifications.

The estimating world is full of technicalities, acronyms and jargon. To help navigate this world, the Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering offers a comprehensive glossary that makes estimating easier to understand. Another helpful tool is RSMeans Data, which provides construction estimating data localized to zip codes and allows users to select the type of wage they prefer (union, open shop or residential). They have reference information for each section that further describes, adds to or adjusts the data for specific situations.


Construction estimating services can save you valuable time and resources. They can handle a variety of tasks, from gathering material pricing and availability data to building cost estimates and project schedules. They also provide a critical service by performing spot checks on the project to ensure accurate quantities and completeness. This peer review can address significant gaps and make sure the cost estimate is based on current conditions, including labor, equipment, material, and subcontractor rates.

Construction estimates are complex, and it’s easy to miss key cost factors or omit them altogether. To reduce errors, it’s important to use a consistent estimating methodology and templates for each project. This will help you compare costs and make more informed decisions about your budgets and timelines. It’s also important to consider the impact of inflation on the project’s final cost.

A good way to avoid these costly mistakes is by using a digital takeoff and estimating solution like ConX Measure. It provides the accuracy you need and a step-by-step process to get the job done right. This helps you create an accurate and reliable estimate for your construction project and stay within budget. It can also help you track progress on the project and keep it on schedule. In addition, it can save you money on materials by reducing the number of items ordered and eliminating waste.

Contract Negotiation

A construction project’s final cost is ultimately determined through contract negotiation. It’s a highly-specialized and complex task that requires razor sharp attention to detail. It also demands a considerable time investment.

Generally, negotiations are conducted by a duly appointed DOE negotiator. In some cases, the negotiator may be assisted by a team of negotiators. This is often dependent upon the nature, size, dollar value, complexity, and importance of the construction contract or modification being negotiated.

An effective negotiation strategy involves establishing clear-cut objectives. These objectives should be established before beginning negotiations. They should also be documented in order to avoid potential confusion. This will help in the development of effective negotiating strategies and a strong bargaining position. It will also help to mitigate any anticipated “pie-in-the-sky” demands by the contractor.

Construction estimators use various methods to prepare bid estimates. These include Project Comparison Estimating, Area & Volume Estimating, Assembly & System Estimating, and Unit Price & Schedule Estimating. Each method offers a different level of accuracy and confidence.

However, preparing a successful construction estimate requires an understanding of many factors including material prices. These can fluctuate rapidly, making it difficult to keep track of the latest prices and accurately predict construction costs. Construction estimating services can eliminate the headache of chasing material prices, saving hours of wasted time for contractors.

Project Management

Construction estimating is a complex process that requires razor sharp attention to detail. It also involves a significant time investment. For that reason, it’s important to outsource your estimating needs to qualified professionals. Using a reliable estimating service will save you money by reducing overhead costs and ensuring that your projects are completed on time and under budget. You can then use the savings to invest in equipment like a boom lift or power tools, or even to grow your business.

Cost estimators perform a variety of tasks, including reviewing architectural drawings and engineering plans, conducting takeoffs, and preparing a detailed cost estimate for each project. They also work with subcontractors, project teams and stakeholders to collaborate and communicate cost-related insights and concerns.

A cost estimate covers all the projected expenses associated with completing a project within its defined scope. It includes direct costs, such as materials, labor and equipment rentals, and indirect costs, such as utilities and site conditions. It also reflects foreseen future escalations, such as inflation rates and market fluctuations.

A construction estimator should be familiar with the various techniques used to prepare cost estimates, such as unit cost estimating and stick estimation. They should also be able to localize costs by zip code. This is critical for calculating accurate labor markups and avoiding inaccurate bids. It’s also important for assessing subcontractors’ pricing, qualifications and scope of work.