What Does an Estimator Do?

The construction and manufacturing business takes money, material, and time. Construction estimators are an essential part of the planning process and work with other professionals to ensure that projects are completed on time and on budget. Manufacturing estimators perform many of the same functions to calculate the costs of a product from design to completion. Keep reading if you want to learn about the job duties of an estimator. Schools offering Finance degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Duties of a Cost Estimator

As the job title implies, a cost estimator is responsible for determining to the best of his or her ability how much a construction project money will cost, from breaking ground until ribbon-cutting. Some of the responsibilities most commonly attributed to cost estimators are as follows:

Important Facts About Cost Estimators

Median Salary (2014) $64,040 per year
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 11% growth
Required Education Bachelor's degree
Professional Certifications Available through the American Society of Professional Estimators, the Association for the Advancement of Cost Estimating International (AACE International), and the International Cost Estimating and Analysis Association
Work Environment Construction sites, building contractors offices, manufacturing industries, foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Inspection of the Blueprints

Construction projects usually begin with a site and a blueprint. A construction estimator first must survey the available site and determine if the land will fit the project in both size and cost. Estimators need to also consider the soil stability and drainage capabilities of the land. You must have a working knowledge of construction technology, building design, architecture, and surveying to accomplish these goals.

If you're a manufacturing estimator, you'll be called in to work with designers and engineers when specific products are designed or redesigned. In order to calculate the specifications needed for manufacturing, you must be able to correctly read and understand complex drawings and blueprints, which are often computerized.

Material and Time Estimation

Exterior construction is the first step of a building project, and construction estimators must determine the number of bricks needed for the exterior, along with the materials needed for roofing. While working with suppliers, you'll need to provide an estimation of the costs for these materials. You'll then move on to the plan's interior. You must consider the wall materials, plaster, and paint. From there, you'll determine the costs for electricity, heating and air conditioning, cabinetry, and plumbing.

Many of the same applications can be used while breaking down the materials list for the manufacturing process. You'll need to calculate the costs of raw materials and tools, then work with suppliers to determine the estimated costs for those materials.

Estimators in both the manufacturing and construction industries need to provide a timeframe for the project. When estimating the time needed, you'll have to include factors like weather, shipping delays, holidays, and other work stoppages.

Worker Estimation

Depending on the size of the project, a construction estimator must estimate the number of workers needed for exterior and interior construction. You'll often work with union representatives and construction managers to help complete the hiring process. Many construction estimators are hired by architectural firms or construction companies and must work with subcontractors to finish a construction job.

Manufacturing estimators usually work for an engineering or pricing company. With the assistance of other professionals, you'll prepare time charts to determine the length of time and number of workers needed to efficiently complete mass production. Both manufacturing and construction estimators must factor in the number of workers combined with the payment per hour to give an educated estimate of the costs for a particular project.

Cost Summary Presentation

After weighing in all of the factors that you have researched, cost estimators in all industries must then present a cost summary to their project managers and other employers. After the cost summary has been discussed and approved, you'll also need to be on hand during the construction or manufacturing process, when unforeseen circumstances might demand a new estimate for materials and manpower.

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