Before the Project Begins: Your Accurate Construction Estimate Guide

If you still believe that each construction project starts with signing the contract, you are wrong. Everything begins with the estimate and further preparations. You might be even more than just an over-optimistic contractor with a strong belief in your successful market performance. But construction estimating and costing routines are a must to avoid various surprises like budget overruns and inaccuracy in predictions of deadlines, expenditures, profit margins, etc.

Cost estimating software can make a difference when it comes to estimates and any financial forecasts. A range of operations like data collection, reporting, and analytical research will turn out to become automated and paperless. Even if you and your clients prefer changes, improvements, and cooperation on the fly, it is better to arrange your pre-construction phases perfectly.

Follow our construction estimate guide to understand the fundamentals of these processes including the main factors, tips, and basic needs each contractor and estimator should take into account. Your construction project management, the post-construction phase, and bidding performance will become better as well. Just explore the basics of construction estimating and make your conclusions, improvements, and enhancing changes based on the cornerstones you have discovered.

Where to Start If You Are a Construction Estimator?

Start with the four factors that matter for your construction estimating. These are your cornerstones to take into account. Four categories of costs should be analyzed and figured out in your estimates as the main expenditure items of the project. They are:

  • Material costs – you build with the help of cement, bricks, wood, and other supplies. So this spending item is critically important. Your task is not only to find reliable suppliers but search for reasonable costs and form accurate quotes.
  • Labor costs – you need to estimate your man-hour ratio and understand if these prices are suitable for your budget plan. Attract subcontractors if you need to speed up some on-site processes. Subs do not require regular payments like sick leaves, compensations, and bonuses like your team members do.
  • Equipment costs – some machinery and tools you are going to purchase; another category of building equipment should be rented. All these expenditures you need to plan and analyze in-depth. Do not forget about the factor of wear and tear. Your old equipment should be replaced with more modern items from time to time.
  • Overhead costs – do not forget about your own salary and wages for your top managers, project leads, and other office staff. All the permitting costs and fees should be taken into account to form the most accurate construction estimates.

All these four cost categories really matter for your estimates. Identify all the required expenses to realize your real profit margins for this or that project. Together with a deep analysis of all the price tags, spending items, and forming the starting budget plan based on the main costs, you need to pay attention to other critically important aspects like takeoff, scheduling, and high corporate culture.

Helpful Tips for Accurate Construction Estimating

It goes without saying that your top-priority task is to automate as much as it is possible. Both on-site processes like measuring, cargo lifting, transportation of materials, and even bricklaying can be delegated to robots, drones, and other tech solutions. Speaking about office needs, here you need apps for communication, costing software, management tools, and many more,

It is recommended to create an all-in-one system and integrate into it more and more programs. For example, if you have a CRM or BIM system you are not going to replace it with other software. Find digital tools that can perform together with your existing software and form some kind of corporate ecosystem.

Speaking about other tips and hacks for your estimating, follow these recommendations:

  • Pick sides with your timeline to understand if your team meets deadlines. You can attract subcontractors timely not to fail all your scheduling and project commissioning regulations, norms, standards, etc.
  • A quantity takeoff should take place. As can be seen, estimate four categories of costs not to miss any details. Then, you will be able to see what materials, technologies, and labor resources are needed for the project.
  • Use templates and e-format reporting forms. Paperless processes are the future of construction. Skip from paper reports and manual routine work into template operations via apps and digital tools. Create your own e-format cost estimating template to fill in with new data from one project to another.

To sum up, it is possible to find the best-matching cost estimating strategy that will save your time, improve the accuracy of estimates, and reduce the risk of overestimating or underestimating. Make your profit margins higher with lower costs and custom timing.

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