GUEST ARTICLE: The Unsung Hero – the Estimator

  • 30 Jun 2023

EstimatorWhen it comes to the success or failure of a construction project, the role of the estimator can make all the difference. For building sign-off, they are the unsung heroes, analysing project requirements, quantifying materials and providing accurate quotes that can shape both timelines and budgets. They rarely get the kudos they deserve, as this article courtesy of Simon Herod, from the digital tendering platform EstimateOne, explains…

However, in today’s fast-paced economic climate, accuracy and speed are everything – as is technology. The construction industry both wants and needs greater insight. Yet a reliance on outdated and inefficient processes persist – and its holding estimators back.

I’ve worked alongside estimators for six years experiencing the pain of working with outdated Excel sheets. From supply chain challenges to technology that seems to work against rather than with me. It’s become obvious that more intuitive methods are needed. Yet if we’re to progress, we need to stop underestimating the contribution of estimators and address the limitations of outdated technology.

Support your Hero

Whether you’re a contractor or an architect, timely project completion is the key to success. . But here’s the problem: estimators face time intensive, manual processes to get their job done. Overly complex Gantt charts for example, limit scope. Whilst older systems have their pros in terms of versatility, legacy spreadsheets can lead to project bottlenecks. Well now it’s time to set them free.

Empowering Estimators

It’s important to remember that estimating is more than just number crunching – it requires comprehensive and correct project data – the ‘who, what, when’. Estimators love the ‘nitty gritty’ and those that have this information at their fingertips will make the best decisions. Working with outdated information? That’s a sure-fire way to hinder the estimator’s job.

Businesses can empower their estimators by supplying them with tools that allow deep oversight of a project. Not only does this offer a competitive edge, delivering automation, interconnectedness, and improved user experience but it makes the process easier to manage.

When you digitise the construction process, it’s not just about adopting fancy technology for the sake of it. Third of construction professionals said having improved information prior to starting work would mitigate delays in the future.

Plus, foster collaboration and strong relationships across everyone involved, be it the subcontractor or the architect, allowing estimators to shine. Research from Cornerstone found that almost 15% of contractors and subcontractors believe a more effective supply chain is key to less delays. By aligning everyone towards a common goal and setting clear project expectations from the get-go, you ensure smooth sailing in your supply chain management.

Better budgeting

Effective budget management is crucial for any project, especially in the current climate of low construction margins. Estimators play a pivotal role in making cost-versus-quality decisions, balancing labour, equipment, and materials. Accurate cost forecasting and better budget management allow contractors to make informed decisions that keep finances on track.

Digital software has transformed cost estimation process. Helping avoid bids that are too high or too low, eliminating the frustration of inconsistent quotes, whilst streamlining reporting, tracking, and communication. In the long run, this may serve to overcome labour shortages by creating a reliable subcontractor database for future collaboration.

What’s clear is that estimators need to be valued. In doing so, they need the best tools for the job – the better resourced they are, the higher the odds that construction projects stay on budget and on time. For businesses looking to put their foot forward – invest in your estimator, your business and bottom lines will thank you for it.

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