Speed versus accuracy in the world of estimating

Everyday construction estimators around the globe face a common dilemma, can they achieve a high level of accuracy while trying to hit a tight deadline?

In the world of estimating deadlines often approach rather quickly. Couple that with the everyday delays, such as waiting on that final set of approved blue prints, construction estimators can feel quite rushed. Whatever the obstacles maybe, an estimator is required to complete their estimate on time and to make sure they have all the required info that was asked for in the specifications guide.  With that being said, let us take a step back and look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the methods of today’s estimators.

As estimators we have many tools available to us to help assist in our day to day jobs; anything from an architect’s scale to today’s leading technology.  No matter what we choose, we need to have a full understanding of how to use those tools.  Estimating, as we all know, has been part of the construction industry since the first buildings were ever built. For thousands of years estimating was done by what we call in the industry as “estimating by hand.”  This method involves hand calculating everything; from the construction materials, to measurements, and even equipment and labor needed for the project.  This has been a tried and true process for a long time, but thanks to technology, this process continues to improve.  Though a by- hand estimate is accurate, human error in the different aspects of the process, can cause a miss calculation at any point.  Just a simple mistake on the amount of material or even forgetting to measure a section, can result in the loss of the project.  In the past, some estimators may have provided a 10 plus day lead-time on their estimate, just trying to ensure they have enough time to make sure everything is correct!  Thanks to advancements in technology, the tools of the construction industry are changing and over the last few years, those “safety” lead-times have been, at a minimum, cut in half.  Even though an estimator may be very detailed with their by hand process to maintain accuracy, technology takes it many steps further by ensuring their measurements are always accounted for and that their calculations are always right.

So let us look at the question again, can we have speed while doing a construction estimate but also maintain the required accuracy?  In today’s market, technology provides us with an edge, by allowing us to find the perfect balance between the two, ensuring that every estimate is right and never late.

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