How to Avoid Common Pitfalls in Construction Estimating
Posted: July 21, 2023 | Estimating
By Dersun Lopersad
This article was reprinted with permission from Art of the Zoo.
Construction estimating is a crucial process that involves predicting the total cost of a construction project. It’s important to get it right, as inaccurate estimates can result in project delays, cost overruns, and even legal disputes. Unfortunately, there are several common pitfalls that construction estimators can fall into, which can lead to inaccurate cost predictions. In this article, we’ll explore some of the common pitfalls in construction estimating and provide tips on how to avoid them.
Underestimating Project Complexity
One of the most common pitfalls in construction estimating is underestimating the complexity of a project. This can happen when estimators rely too heavily on previous projects that were similar in scope or when they fail to properly account for the unique challenges associated with a particular project. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should take the time to thoroughly evaluate each project and identify any potential complications. They should also consult with other members of the project team to ensure that all aspects of the project are properly considered.
Ignoring Site Conditions
Another common pitfall is ignoring site conditions when estimating construction costs. Site conditions can have a significant impact on construction costs, and failing to account for them can lead to inaccurate estimates. For example, if the site is located in a remote area or has difficult terrain, transportation costs may be higher than anticipated. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should conduct a thorough site analysis and consider all factors that could impact construction costs.
Failing to Consider Material Costs
Estimators can also fall into the trap of failing to consider material costs when estimating construction costs. Material costs can vary significantly depending on the quality of the materials, their availability, and other factors. If estimators fail to properly account for material costs, it can lead to significant cost overruns. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should conduct research to identify the current market prices of materials and factor in any potential fluctuations in pricing.
Inaccurate Labor Estimates
Inaccurate labor estimates are another common pitfall in construction estimating. Estimators may fail to account for the number of workers needed to complete a project or the amount of time required to complete certain tasks. This can result in delays and cost overruns. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should consult with project managers and other team members to identify the required labor resources and develop a detailed schedule for completing each task.
Failing to Account for Overhead Costs
Finally, estimators may fail to properly account for overhead costs when Construction Estimating Services costs. Overhead costs can include expenses such as insurance, permits, and other administrative costs that are necessary to complete a construction project. If estimators fail to properly account for these costs, it can lead to inaccurate cost predictions. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should develop a comprehensive list of all overhead costs associated with a project and factor them into their estimates.
Overlooking Change Orders
Change orders can be a major source of cost overruns in construction projects. Estimators may fail to properly account for the potential for change orders when developing their estimates, which can lead to inaccurate cost predictions. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should consult with project managers and other team members to identify potential changes to the project scope and factor them into their estimates.
Inadequate Risk Assessment
Risk assessment is an essential component of construction estimating, but it’s a pitfall that many estimators overlook. Estimators may fail to properly assess the risks associated with a project, such as weatherrelated delays, supply chain disruptions, or unexpected issues with subcontractors. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should conduct a thorough risk assessment and develop contingency plans to mitigate potential risks.
Using Outdated Data
Estimators may also fall into the pitfall of using outdated data when developing their estimates. Market conditions can change rapidly, and failing to account for these changes can lead to inaccurate cost predictions. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should conduct regular research on market trends and pricing and update their estimates accordingly.
Inconsistent Estimating Methods
Inconsistent estimating methods can lead to inaccuracies in cost predictions and make it difficult to compare estimates across different projects. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should develop consistent methods for estimating costs and ensure that all team members are following the same methods.
Lack of Quality Control
Finally, a lack of quality control can lead to inaccurate construction estimates. Estimators may fail to double-check their calculations or review their work for errors, which can result in cost overruns and delays. To avoid this pitfall, estimators should implement a robust quality control process that includes multiple rounds of review and checks for errors.
In summary, construction estimating is a complex process that requires careful consideration of many factors. Estimators can avoid common pitfalls by properly assessing project complexity, accounting for site conditions, considering material costs, accurately estimating labor, accounting for overhead costs, anticipating change orders, conducting risk assessments, using updated data, developing consistent estimating methods, and implementing quality control measures. By following these best practices, estimators can improve the accuracy of their cost predictions and ensure the success of their construction projects.