The primary part of an estimator job is to estimate. This means going to a potential job site, looking over all the work required, and putting in a bid on the job. Sound easy? It's not. You have to take into account the materials, labor, and everything in between. This means you must have a strong level of knowledge in all facets of the construction world. Not only do you have to know which materials will be used where, you also have to be able to consider labor, specialized machines required, and any areas of the project that require special attention. If you think that an estimating job ends there, you had better continue reading.
Not only do construction estimators bid on jobs, they are expected to oversee certain aspects of them as well. Not all estimating jobs are like this. Construction estimators deal with subcontractors, material suppliers, and even the owners to help produce the final product. This means negotiating prices with the suppliers and setting deadlines with the owners. People skills are very important to any estimator job.
While overseeing the job, an estimator is expected to have status reports on job progress ready for all who ask. You are expected to forecast the use of supplies and the progress made in a given amount of time. For longer jobs, this tends to be on a monthly basis. This part of an estimator job is ongoing until the completion of the project. It is not the job of an estimator to fix the schedule, but to let the owners and foremen who are in charge of the workers know what the situation is. The ongoing communication between all parties is a vital part of estimating jobs. From the material supplier to the subcontractor, everyone needs to be continuously informed by the estimator.
The last thing that a construction estimator does on a job is to produce a final overview of total job costs for reference. This not only helps the owner understand where the money went, it is also very valuable to the estimator. An estimator can use the final overview as a reference for future projects so that they can more accurately place their bids.
Estimating jobs are not all paperwork, but there is a lot of paperwork to do. You must have good communication and people skills if you hope to succeed in an estimator job. If you are seriously considering becoming a construction estimator, you should take stock of the skills and knowledge you possess. Even if you have the construction know-how to do the job, it may not be best suited to your personality. This is also true if you have great people skills, but little understanding of the construction world. The estimator job is very well rounded, are you?