What Is The Role Of Project Estimator In Civil Engineering Project?

The estimator for the project will be involved with putting together conceptual budgets, design development budgets, and progress construction document estimates, and preparing the project budgets including subcontractor trade costs, general conditions costs, contingencies, fees, insurances, and analysis of the subcontractors bids.

The estimator must have a full understanding of all aspects of the construction process, the delineation of the work among the subcontractor trades and jurisdictions, cost of construction materials, cost of construction personnel, and appropriate mark ups in order to put together meaningful estimates and budgets for the project.

During the preconstruction phase, the estimator will play a key role in working with the project team to define the project scope, design intent, architectural finishes, engineering systems, specialty items, long lead items, appropriate inflation, and contingency factors to develop a meaningful estimate for the project.

If the estimate is too high or too low, it can significantly affect the feasibility and scope of the project and cause a creditability problem for the CM/GC. The estimator must have a sixth sense and a magic scale to weigh and assess matters to come up with a meaningful estimate for the project, even when there is little documentation from the design team on which to base it.

Estimates during the preconstruction phase of the project are often done on an order of magnitude basis or by cost per square foot, cost per Btu of cooling or heating, and cost per kilowatt of electrical load. Often, allowances may be made where sufficient definition of the exact scope of certain items, such as the lobby, plaza, roof garden, and signage is not available.

In these cases, a target allowance is helpful for the entire project team to manage the design and engineering of the area or system. The estimator will usually work out of the home office during this phase of the project.

During the bid and award process, the estimator will be involved with developing the list of perspective bidders, screening and finalizing the list of bidders, developing bid packages, receiving bids, analyzing and leveling bids, recommending award of subcontracts, and reviewing the bid for completeness, qualification and exclusions, and unit prices.

This is a very important and critical task; if the subcontractor is not scoped out properly and is awarded without a complete project purchase, the amount of change orders and claims thereafter can be significant and have a negative impact on the project. The estimator will usually work out of the on-site project office for all phases of the project.

During the construction phase, the estimator will be involved with pricing change orders for bulletins, sketches, field information memos (FIMs), requests for information (RFIs), and reviewing subcontractor’s claims for extra work as it relates to their contracts.

All allowances that may have been included in a subcontract need to be accounted for and reconciled as the final scope of work and project is defined.

During the project close-out phase, the estimator will be finalizing all subcontractor final contract amounts, including all base contract amounts, approved change orders, adjustment of allowances, back charges, etc. to determine the final contract price for each subcontractor.

You want to be a project estimator? Give us your thoughts and leave a comment. :)

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