How to Estimate a Construction Project

Estimating various aspects, including the costs, of a construction project can be much easier said than done. That’s why you need to approach the whole task carefully. However, you might also be in a situation where you need to have accurate estimates in your hands quickly – particularly if you work for a construction-related company. So, how can you speed up the process of getting a construction estimate without compromising the accuracy of the figures? Here are some pointers.


Make sure that you’ve got good, detailed plans

If you’re working without plans, or at least plans that are thorough, it’s a bit of a gamble to expect to derive reliable estimates for the project. It’s especially perilous if you’re building for a customer – it’s simply too easy for your idea of the job to differ from what the customer wants.


So, you shouldn’t rely just on, for example, conceptual drawings – as these are only rough ideas. If you work for a business and don’t have, or can’t get your hands on, accurate plans, you should warn the customer that you are unable to provide more than a very rough estimate for the project.


Resist the temptation to use “stick estimating”

What is stick estimating? If you are genuinely unaware, it involves numerous steps, including: listing all of the job’s various parts, the hours necessary for finishing each part, the materials to be used for each part, each required subcontractor, and all other items necessary to buy or rent for the job. Then, you would go back through the lists, give each item a cost, and – finally – have a second party with the right knowledge double-check the lists and calculations you have made.


Following those steps carefully would indeed give you an accurate estimate; however, the big problem is that it would also be very time-consuming and so you might not be able to give the entire task the care that is required. Therefore, you could too easily end up with a inaccurate estimate. Also, to make the calculations, you would need separate take-offs – lists – for material and labour, even though you don’t usually require a material take-off until the job is sold.


Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race

At this point, you might be wondering: if we keep emphasising the speed at which you get your estimate, what would count as too slow? Basically, if you want that estimate in order to provide it to a customer, taking three or four weeks to get that estimate should be considered unacceptable.


However, you can get the estimate within only five working days when, rather than trying to manually figure it out yourself, you outsource the estimate to experts here at My Build Estimate. Once you’ve used our website to send us various details, those experts will work to produce an accurate breakdown – with a materials and labour estimate, preliminaries breakdown, and quantified summary all included. We pride ourselves on being quick and convenient – and, if you’ve got any remaining questions, you can simply contact us.

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