What Does A Constructor Estimator Do? (Role, Responsibility & Challenges)

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When material, men, and management are involved, any project will need a cost outline before implementing any step. Therefore, a construction estimator’s role becomes integral for companies to do effective and seamless operations, whether a large-scale project or a small one.

Often known as cost estimators, construction estimators are mainly involved in the primary stage of a project. Estimator cost estimates the financial aspects based on the drawings, designs, and other specifications.

The whole process of estimating a project involves a great understanding, analyzing, calculating, and reporting procedures which can be highly time-consuming and tiresome.

Here we are breaking down a complete profile – what does an estimator do?.

Who is a Construction Estimator?

A construction estimator is a professional who tries to estimate an overall project accurately based on drawings, budget, requirements, and market trends. The final report contains many elements and details related to fees, resources, machinery, rent, wages, and other materials.

To become a construction estimator, you require an engineering education or a bachelor’s degree in engineering. They imply more mathematical and analytical construction processes. Moreover, they also need multitasking skills as they constantly work with vendors, architects, engineers, and other skilled professionals.

Their primary role is to predict the project’s cost, which can make both client and the company aware of the approximate investment and other financial risks. A construction estimator always needs to be keen on the details and accurate about numbers.

Not only calculating manpower, material, and time is the task of a cost estimator; sometimes, he also needs to present the report in a most convincing and simplified manner to make key people involved in the project understand the particulars.

The construction cost estimator is very good with statistical interpretation and data analysis as its the core subject of their work, enabling them to provide valuable suggestions and cost-cutting techniques.

What Does An Estimator Do?

The center of an estimator’s job is to evaluate the project and give a costing outline. However, many duties come under a construction estimator’s profile, which makes his contribution to the company more valuable.

The estimator would prepare a cost estimate giving figures for the material, labor, and equipment involved in the construction cost. He may consider plans, designs, contracts, supply quotations, and bids as the foundation for his estimating work.

Estimator’s Other Responsibilities:

  • There is no single formula that a cost estimator can apply to every project. Different requirements, limitations, complications, and risks are associated with each new prospect. That is why he needs to do beyond just calculations with every given project.
  • Construction estimators also perform many cost monitoring and reporting tasks with project managers, contractors, architects, and supply managers. His contribution is also required in the project lifecycle to eliminate unnecessary expenditures and maintain the original bracket of estimation.
  • In some companies, an estimator is also responsible for the tendering process. He would support the procedure, make negotiations, assess the files, and profitable research tenders.
  • Apart from these responsibilities, a construction estimator is also expected to keep track of valuable contractors, suppliers, and labor groups to make his job systematic. In addition, he would also work on cost adjustments that may occur during the construction process.

Importance of an Estimator:

Planning, designing, and construction estimating a project is one thing, and executing it thoroughly is a different subject. It is a volatile industry affected by many human and natural factors. Therefore, the nature of this industry requires a professional who can give an idea about estimated expenses of manpower and material that are yet to be invested.

The initial predicted numbers don’t always match a project’s final ending. Nevertheless, working on a construction site without an estimation report can mean taking each step blindfolded without a possibly profitable direction.

Estimator’s Role Throughout the Project:

  • A cost estimator is mainly involved in the primary stage of a project. Still, he is always needed until the project is done because predicting, monitoring, managing, and tracking every small expenditure is the most significant part of his job.
  • The ideal responsibility of a construction estimator is to ensure the execution and delivery of a project under the decided estimation and timeline, but he is not the one accountable for over-limit expenses on the site. Therefore he always includes such possibilities and conditions in the report to make the client fully aware.
  • His effort, knowledge, and participation are directly related to the project’s profitability and feasibility which supposedly makes the foundation of any deal.

Common Challenges of an Estimator

common challenges for estimator

  1. Primary Challenges

    Like any other job profile in the construction industry, an estimator’s role is also very demanding as it goes with many challenges every day. The basic challenge involved in an estimator’s work is the constraint of time and budget. Sometimes, clients and designers have impressive requirements with a restricted budget line, making an estimator’s work more troublesome.

  2. Rework Related Issues

    He needs to make constant changes in material, quality, quantity, procurements, and rates according to the demand that arises on the site, and that’s how his estimation report works with multiple cost adjustments in one project lifecycle.

  3. Problems Associated with Market

    The market never remains the same, and that’s why rates of labor and resources are always fluctuating. When an estimator is first working on a project, he has to consider the latest data and market scenarios which also requires him to stay constantly updated with the market.

  4. Other Challenges

    Another difficulty is the difference between theoretically accounted material and practically implemented material. The unpredictable nature of the construction industry invites sudden changes and quick decisions, which may bring differences in data on the initial report and final report. Thus, an estimator needs to consider every shift and break before and during the project to improve accuracy.

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Useful Tools Used By A Construction Estimator

useful tools for estimator

Construction estimators use some beneficial yet straightforward tools to make the daily work more organized and efficient. Their large portion of time is dedicated to calculations and statistical reporting, which can become easier and more accurate with the help of the latest tools.

The first and most common tool used in the estimation department is a spreadsheet. The spreadsheet is a highly used program in any work that involves basic to complex calculations. With this tool, estimators can make calculations and evaluate their estimations properly and swiftly.

Another valuable tool would be the estimation software like InvoiceOwl. There are many estimating software solutions available in the market that can help to reduce paper use and create more precise estimates in lesser time. Different software has different features that can perform various other actions and help estimators to save their time for many other tasks.

Construction estimators are also most likely to use simulation tools to evaluate better and find errors and scheduling tools to organize their professional responsibilities smartly.


Estimation of a new construction cost plan is a report that ensures a fair and practical roadmap of the structure and leaves a minimum window for the risks. Some companies hold a separate division for this important job, while others outsource from reliable estimators to save themselves from tedious mathematical and analytical work.

With keen knowledge about the engineering, latest market prices, experience, tactical approach, and technical skills, estimators measure all the elements of the project to state a final costing. An extensive statistical practice makes the bargain between a client and a company more feasible.

Construction cost estimators hold an engineering background, and they work closely with numbers and data research to help construction projects that are about to go on the site. Nowadays, software like InvoiceOwl does its job, allowing them to create estimates and invoices on the go from the comfort of their home. Indeed, it is not an easy job, but it also has high potential and responsibility to get as close to the correct financial characteristics as possible.

But it is suggested to and explore different features and functionalities of the software.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

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