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Master the Art of Construction Estimating

Albert Cormier
May 5, 2023

Cost estimation in construction projects is a critical component of project success. It involves predicting the expected labor, materials, and other related expenses. As a project manager or estimator, having accurate estimates can help you plan for materials and labor costs, improve accuracy when bidding on projects, set timelines, and reduce the chances of costly changes. When you underestimate the prices, you end up with a project that doesn’t finish on time or within budget. By taking the time to understand cost estimation and how to improve it for each of your construction projects, you can ensure that your estimates are as accurate as possible. These six tips will help you master the art of construction estimating and improve the accuracy of your project estimates.

Identify the Scope of Work

The scope of work is the most crucial part of any construction project. It defines what needs to be done from start to finish. This includes gathering material, labor, and equipment costs for each aspect of the job, such as building materials, flooring, and appliances. You need a detailed scope of work for the project to estimate the costs accurately.

The more detail you can provide in the scope of work, the better. Ensure to include the measurements and quantities of materials needed and any special requirements or considerations. When creating the scope of work, communicate your expectations to subcontractors and suppliers to ensure they understand what is expected.

Analyze Previous Projects

Analyzing similar past projects is a great way to understand the costs typically associated with construction projects. Start by looking at the cost breakdown for each task and compare them against the actual job costs. This will help you identify areas where you can improve and identify cost-saving opportunities.

Reviewing successful projects will give you valuable insight into how to improve the construction project estimating process and provide more accurate estimates. The review will reveal where you could have been more over or underestimated in the past and help you to adjust your calculations accordingly.

Understand the Quality of Materials

The quality of materials used in a project directly impacts the project's overall cost. Research different types of materials and understand their quality, durability, and availability when estimating costs. High-quality materials will cost more upfront but will be more durable and require less maintenance later.

You should also consider additional factors such as the time required to install or purchase certain materials, delivery charges, and any associated warranties. For instance, if your project involves waterproofing, understanding the quality of the material will help you know which waterproofing professional to hire so that you can get the most out of your investment.

Include Labor Costs

Labor costs can range from hiring subcontractors or employees to worker’s compensation and benefits packages. The labor cost can quickly add up and should be included in your construction project estimates. Ensure that you factor in the number of hours required for each task and any additional costs such as wages, benefits, or overtime pay.

Consider the experience level needed for specific tasks and adjust your estimates accordingly. Jobs requiring more experienced workers tend to cost more, and you should factor this to improve the construction project estimating process.

Use Estimating Software

Estimating software can help you quickly and accurately calculate the costs associated with a construction project. The software reduces data entry time, eliminates calculation errors, and enables you to identify areas where you can save on costs. Studies show that using construction estimating software improves the accuracy of your estimates by about 42%. This implies that you will have better control over the entire construction project.

Many existing estimating software cater to different types of projects and budgets. Research various programs to find one that best suits your needs. Take-off software can quickly break down costs by materials, labor, and equipment and help you adjust your estimates as needed.

Understand Market Rates

Knowing and understanding the current market rates is an essential part that helps to improve the construction project estimating process. You should research the rate of materials in your area and consider factors such as the size of your project and seasonal price fluctuations.

Compare the market rate to what you pay for the materials, labor, and equipment your project involves. This will help you determine if there is any scope to save or adjust costs. Moreover, understanding market rates will give you a better idea of how much it would cost to complete your project.

Accurately estimating the cost of a construction project is essential for success. When done correctly, it helps you to save money and time in the long run. The above tips will help you improve your construction project estimating process and better control costs. If your project concerns epoxy deck coating or any other waterproofing solution, contact West Coast Deck Waterproofing for reliable advice and services. Our experienced professionals will provide the best waterproofing solutions for your project.