Main Role of The
Construction Cost Estimator
The Construction Cost Estimator occupies one of the most important jobs in the Sewer Contractor company in Saudi Arabia. He is the person who prices the company's tenders and contributes to its continuity and development. Therefore, he is responsible for estimating the cost of any new project (direct and indirect), and then he works on adding the profit percentage until he reaches to the desired selling price (considering to submit a competitive price to the client to win the tender).
As we know, sewer projects include performing many tasks, such as pipeline network, pumping station and house's connections. These tasks include all cost items (materials, labor, equipment, subcontractors and indirect costs). Therefore, the Construction Cost Estimator role is so important to the company. He must have a good idea on how to estimate these costs.
The general manager or the executive manager or the projects manager sometimes, do the mission of the construction cost estimator, especially in small and medium-sized companies. However, in large companies which usually have several huge projects in the pricing process, this mission is given to a specialized team.
Construction Cost Estimator may be one of the following
1) A person who gained his experience from practicing this job for a longtime.
2) A person who has joined academic institutes and colleges and learned engineering, construction management and architecture.
3) A person who has attended training courses in construction materials and its processes, math, estimating, bidding and blueprint reading.
Besides that, he must have technical characteristics such as the ability to read and analyze blueprints and costing data, including how to estimate materials quantities. He should have the ability to detect errors and differences between bill of quantities and blueprints. He must also be computer literate, especially using MS Office programs such as MS Words, MS Excel and Estimating programs.
The estimator uses some tools, which help him to do his work, like performing calculations and estimation matters, such as:
A) Digital Plan Measure
This tool has built-in scales for more versatility; it can calculate areas, volumes, heights, lengths, widths and metric units.
B) Estimating Calculator (Construction Calculator)
This calculator can find solutions to buildings and dimensional problems and reduces the risk of making costly errors when estimating dimensions, costing and materials.
C) Estimating Software
A respectable software package will help you establish professional estimates. Most programs provide modules for estimating materials and labor. Estimating software aim to improve the assessing process, save time and form a refined look to complete the estimates.
How does the estimator estimate costing elements?
He uses all the available means to develop a correct opinion of the expected cost of the project. He utilizes his previous experience, review the blueprints, conduct site visits and study the conditions that surround performing the project. Besides that he looks into the project direct and indirect cost.
Direct Cost (materials, labors, equipments, subcontractors)
Material use in the sewer projects ranges from small to large items. The finest method to obtain best purchasing price is to gather as much material as possible from a specific supplier.
Usually, project cost consists of a high percentage from the labor cost. Therefore, the estimator interested to calculate each work requirement from the labor force, considering both normal time costs and overtime costs.
The estimator concern to calculate each task need from equipment work. There are two types of equipments (owned and leased), and the estimator has to decide each type cost.
Sewer projects are hardly free from hiring various subcontractors. The estimator cares to decide what tasks he intends to give to subcontractors. He becomes more interested to price them correctly, to decide the selling price how much it will be.
These expenses are like administrator's salaries, electricity bills, stationery, hospitality expenses, permits and site office expenses. The estimator cares to estimate these costs, because it is indispensable for performing any project, and it represents a high figure sometimes.
Costing items are
+ Labors ----
+ Equipments ----
+ Subcontractors ----
Total: Direct Cost (1)
+ Administration ----
Total: Indirect Cost (2)
Total Cost (1+2)
Profit % ----
Value of the project ----
It is represented in the continuous effort to gain new tenders, by using his experience and the courage to take the right decisions. At the meantime, he has a battle to win, which lies between three things:
A) Winning the tender with a good profit margin.
B) Winning the tender with a few profit margins.
C) Losing the project.
Therefore, he should balance between the interest of his company, and the client goals.
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