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There was a run on for Estimators early to mid 2021 with government funding being poured into construction projects and those earlier developments being halted prior to tender due to covid uncertainty.

Return to normal market conditions in early 2022 with the development sector ramping up as industry stability returns has seen opportunities for Estimators ramp up again.

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Estimator Career Pathways

The next step in the career of an Estimator is Senior Estimator. To become a Senior Estimator requires a minimum of 10 years in an Estimating role.  where you price more complex projects and manage bigger risk as an individual business. Alternatively you can step into a team management role as Estimating Manager or Chief Estimator, managing a team of Estimators.

Senior Estimator is often the highest rung of the Estimator career ladder in construction.
For the exceptional Senior Estimator there is a rare opportunity to step into a Pre-Construction Manager role in larger firms where you would manage estimating, design and business development if the Construction Company is large enough and has these departments.

How to become a construction Estimator

To become an Estimator you’ll be expected to hold a Bachelor degree in Construction Management, Engineering, Economics, Quantity Surveying, Law, Commerce or equivalent.

The first step in your career starts in a Cadet or Graduate position in a larger tier 1 or 2 builder or straight into a junior Estimator role within a tier 3 builder.

After 2-3 years as a Graduate or junior Estimator, you could be promoted into an Estimator role. Working closely with the Estimating team or more directly with the leadership team depending on the size of builder, you’ll be mentored in your junior role, learning the processes and procedures of that particular builder.

Sometimes there may be an opportunity arise earlier than expected so if you’re learning fast and working towards building the skill-set you require to step into an Estimator role, your chance may come earlier than expected.

Alternatively you may come from a quantity surveying background and move into commercial estimating.

What does a construction Estimator do?

A love of numbers & pricing and the ability to find exceptional subcontractors as well as utilise construction innovation to keep construction cost’s low and reduce delivery windows is what underpins the career of a talented Estimator. Ensuring all of this is achieved without compromising safety and quality is paramount to your role as Estimator.

In construction, the role of Estimator involves planning and organisation for upcoming projects. Estimators assist key personnel such as Construction Managers & Architects and works in collaboration with Design Managers and Project Manager to price and plan projects. The Estimator is responsible for quoting and winning tenders for development.

The Estimator must be able to review projects from a commercial perspective and be involved in value management to ensure outcomes are met. They are responsible for monitoring project progress in conjunction with cost accruals, assessing any variations and reporting these to the Project Manager. The Estimator is responsible for project lifecycle cost analysis and management.

Estimators should be familiar with the preparation and management of Bills of Quantities along with tender submissions.

As the name suggests, Estimators must be skilled in detailed construction estimating; able to evaluate costs and provide advice on commercial projects. They may also be required to manage payments to suppliers and subcontractors throughout a project. The Estimator may also need to keep a record of labour and materials cost information.

Estimators should be comfortable reviewing and interpreting designs and plans, to assess the scope of potential projects and identify any cost risks that may arise.
Here’s an outline of an Estimator’s key responsibilities:

  • Measure appropriately & accurately at all design stages; F, SD, DD, partially or fully documented
  • Recognise and deal commercially with omissions in drawings, speciation’s, reports or BQ (biller quantities)
  • Bulk check externally provided BQ’s & identify substantial errors

Bid Process & Sub Contractor Management

  • Accurately check, record, read, comprehend and interpret all drawings, specifications and reports
  • Produce accurate document split and scope for subcontractors
  • Selecting appropriate sub-contractors for projects and obtaining sufficient coverage, particularly in major trades
  • Manage, communicate & work inclusively with subcontractors during bid phase
  • Provide accurate and traceable vetting of subcontractors scope and quotes – recognising errors of consequences
  • Identify and assess value management opportunities and alternatives alongside Design Managers. and Project Managers to price all impacts


  • Produce accurate, robust and traceable estimates using combination of knowledge of own rates, sub-contractor rates, first principles pricing
  • Maintain knowledge of current rates/pricing levels
  • Ability to compare estimate $/m2 GFA rate to similar projects and recognise reasons behind differences


  • Keep informed of current industry matters/trends
  • Keep informed of and utilise new competitive subcontractors in bids
  • Understand and target clients’ needs/requirements/ethos
  • Determine project, trade and sub-contractors risks and reflect via pricing and /or written submission
  • Adapt project practices & procedures to be project specific
  • Ensure awareness of project team to project specific issues (e.g. long lead times, constructability issues)
  • Effectively communicate understanding of project to client

Post Tender 

  • Communicate with Client and/or Project Manager in confident & knowledgeable manner, particularly at interview
  • Keep informed of and utilise new/competitive subcontractor bids
  • Provide accurate budge at handover, including information relating to sub-contractor scope and preferred sub-contractor
  • Ensure potential risks and opportunities are communicated to project team

What to do next for Estimators looking for career progression

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