For Construction Managers: Best Practices for Construction Cost Estimation

Construction Cost EstimationAs one of the most critical tasks for construction managers, construction cost estimation makes certain that the project gets finished within the estimated time and budget. Following these best practices for estimation will make your job so much easier and more efficient.

Always Start with Accurate Plans

You must have a solid set of plans when conducting construction cost estimations. Without these, it’s extremely difficult to determine if what your client wants exactly jives with your understanding of what it is they really want. Note that it’s almost certain that your understanding of their wishes will vary from your client’s if you don’t have accurate plans to work with.

Opt for Unit Cost Estimation

This method is quicker and more reliable. Not only that, but you can’t possibly let your client wait for a month just to see your quotation. In general, you must deliver your quotation between five and seven days, 10 days at most, with an additional two or three days for jobs amounting to more than $100,000 since you’ll require quotes from subcontractors and such. Essentially, unit costing entails the following:

  • Compiling all assemblies or line items.
  • Assigning unit costs to every line item.
  • Adding up all numbers and having a second set of eyes to confirm your calculations.
  • Applying markups to get your overall estimates.
  • Getting back to your client to finalize the quotation.

Computerized Construction Estimation Systems

One of the most useful tools for construction cost estimating is the introduction of software programs specially developed for accurately determining expenses. If you insist on doing it old school, you should be 100% in your ability to conduct the whole thing without errors and in the quickest amount of time possible.

Prepare for Everything

Even if you’ve taken the time out to conduct accurate cost estimations, be prepared and flexible in the event that something changes during the actual construction process and you need more plans and estimations. From the start, accept that unexpected issues could arise so that when they do, you’ll be ready for them.

Cost estimating is an integral part of any construction project. Done irresponsibly and inaccurately, the entire project could suffer serious consequences. It’s a job that requires patience, practice, experience, and the right tools to master, so keep these best practices in mind.