The right estimation of cost is very important for going ahead appropriately with the plans of construction. The estimate should be accurate and should be such that considers all areas of cost. Construction cost estimation is not a simple task but is one that must be done systematically and accurately. The following tips intend to improve the skills of a construction estimator/cost planner
1. Understand the market in which the construction process will take place.
This is an important aspect of cost estimating as the construction of buildings often involves many different specialist trades carried out by separate contractors. Understanding how these contractors operate in the current market will help arrive at a realistic estimate figure.
2. Know how buildings stand up.
Estimators who are technically aware of the processes and procedures involved in constructing a building will be less likely to rely too heavily on the specialist trade contractors to arrive at an estimate. This reduces risks due to errors in the estimate made by specialist trade contractors. Such knowledge also helps estimators accurately estimate the Preliminaries component which involves labour, plant and equipment resources required by the main contractor (builder) to project manage and supervise the construction activities carried out by trade contractors. The difference in material and labor would bring about a difference in the cost of the project.
3. Request quotes from suitable trade contractors for each project. Each construction project has its distinctive characteristics in terms of locality, site conditions, timing, building type, etc. Trade contractors often specializes in certain aspect of construction, e.g. industrial buildings, operating nationwide or locally only, having interests in large projects only. When asking for a quote from a trade contractor, it is important to understand the business preference and specialty of the contractor to ensure a realistic quote.
4. Utilize estimating software to help with the estimate. With the developments in technology working out the costs of construction has also been made simple. The specialized software for estimation of construction costs would be of great help in trying to work out the quantities of labour, plant and materials involved and find out the overall estimate of the project. Estimating softwares are designed to handle multiple functions and greatly simplifies the task of cost estimation. There are also features that help merge details of one project with that of another. It makes cost estimation simple as well as quick. The changes made can also be calculated in no time at all. The construction cost estimating software is a simple and quick way of making accurate cost estimates.
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Lee Fueng, construction cost estimator