What is a building cost estimator?
Also called quantity surveyors, construction cost estimators are skilled professionals who consistently produce accurate cost estimates. An accurate estimate can make or break a personal project or a business venture. For businesses, it’s the difference between clearing a profit and running at a loss. Construction cost estimators rely on their real-time database of building materials, labour and logistics costs, and their extensive knowledge of how and where construction materials are installed. The finished result is a line-by-line breakdown of all material, labour, transportation, and hidden costs otherwise known as a bill of quantities (BOQ) and materials take-off (MTO). Construction estimators use a methodical and consistent approach to ensure consistent accuracy.
What are the principles of construction cost estimating?
As is often the case, there are different schools of thought among professionals. Let’s look at three types of construction estimates used by construction companies. When applied properly, they can be applied in principle to everything from owner-builder to large-scale construction projects.
The order of magnitude (OM) estimate, otherwise known as a ballpark figure helps you to decide on whether you can embark on a given project or not. For an owner-builder, it answers the question of ‘can I afford it or not’? For the large-scale contract, it answers the question of ‘is there money in it’? Planning staff sometimes present OM estimates to company directors for approval to sink resources into a more detailed investigation. OM estimates can be based on benchmark costs from comparable projects or a square meter rate.
Budget estimates are used by companies when the OM estimate looks promising. This is far more accurate than the OM estimate and compiles average going rates for each building element, labour, and fees. For example, if carpet costs range from $50-$150 per square meter, you may use $100 per square meter as a safe estimate. It’s not exact because the exact items have not been selected at this stage, but it’s close enough to be realistic.
The definitive estimate: By this stage, the project manager has fully committed to the project and is well along in the development process. This is crucial, and it’s usually possible in small projects to jump straight from the OM stage to this one. It doesn’t just consider a feasible cost for a kitchen upgrade; it defines the type and size of the kitchen top, the brand and model of the oven, the type of hinges and screws, and how many.
Should you use a construction cost estimator?
People often find themselves running low on funds and wondering how they got themselves into this mess when they do a quick OM estimate in their heads, and then head to Bunnings and start buying materials. All projects need a definitive estimate to move ahead with any real confidence. The question is, should you enlist the services of a professional or do it yourself? Much depends on the type of project you’re planning:
DIY Home Repairers
It’s still worth doing a definitive estimate before starting, but you can usually do your own estimating for this type of job. Not really quantity surveyor territory.
Private Home Renovators and Owner Builders
The deciding factor here is the scope of the project. If it’s a $2,000 repaint, you can do your own estimate. If it’s a $200,000 extension or an upgrade, a construction estimator can help you to know if you have enough money to finish the project, and will likely save you cash in the process. We’ve all seen the home renovator who starts with big ideas, only to be staring at unfinished plaster for the next year because the money ran out. An accurate estimate allows the would-be renovator to select their preferred styles based on what they can afford; prioritizing the most important features, and sacrificing less important features to stay within budget. Without an accurate estimate, you’re flying blind and may end up missing out on the features most important to you.
Licensed Builders can often do their own estimating, but when the business starts ramping up, it can be hard to find time to crunch the numbers. Preparing an accurate estimate can be painstaking, but rushing estimates is not an option. Quote too high and lose the job; quote too low and lose money. So if business is booming and you’re ready to expand the operation, professional cost estimating services are the way to go. Estimators also help builders plan their labour needs. For example, estimators use time-tested labour calculations such as: “hand excavation of sandy soil takes a labourer 1 hour per cubic meter”, or “a tradesman can plaster 1.5 square meters of wall area per hour”.
Large-Scale Construction Companies
Larger firms often employ multiple licensed sub-contractors. When submitting a tender for a job, companies include the sub-contractor’s charges, plus extra for their own profit margin. Again: quote too high and lose the job; quote too low and lose money. Inaccurate estimates can squander lucrative business opportunities. Larger construction companies may even enlist planners and civil construction cost estimators for OM estimating to decide if it’s worth submitting a tender package or not. This is important since some tender packages incur hefty fees right off the bat.
Who is Estimating Australia?
Estimating Australia is a quantity surveying firm with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. The experienced team has helped countless clients to plan and quote with confidence, and ultimately save money.
With Estimating Australia, you can expect consistently accurate cost estimates, and whether you’re a homeowner or a business; we’ve got the skills and resources to make your project a success.
According to one online source, home construction in Australia can cost anything from $1,300 to $4,000 per square meter. That is a huge variation in cost and one that you need to narrow down before going further. The dedicated team of professionals at Estimating Australia is ready to take that unpredictability out of the equation.
The team prides themselves on their ability of understanding your project and visualizing the finished building based on the drawings so that no materials are overlooked. You can have the confidence of knowing that they have both the experience and know-how to produce accurate estimates time and again. The tailor-made cost estimates are based on extensive, real-time, location specific, cost database, and state of the art estimating software. Estimating Australia can provide you with the complete materials take off (MTO) and bill of quantities (BOQ) that you need to budget your project with full confidence. They also offer a standard 1-14 day turnaround from time of payment or a 48-hour express turnaround upon request, so you are covered even on short notice.
Why choose Estimating Australia?
Most people enlist the services of a chartered accountant because they expect that the tax savings will far exceed the accountant’s fee. Rest assured that the team at Estimating Australia are confident that they will save you more money on your project than what they charge. Check out the FAQ page of the company website for some sample estimate packages.
Address: 279/16-18 Redland Bay Rd, Loganholme QLD 4129, Australia
Phone: 1300 944 122