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7 Common estimation mistake made in construction

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Common estimation mistakes are quite normal as Estimating is a difficult job when it comes to the best construction services. Though it might be dicey, it is an essential task for construction management services. Construction companies make profits or losses based on their estimation of the project.

Many construction companies near me make lesser profits as they are unable to make their estimates as accurately as possible. Many among them are not even confident about the budgets they make. One incorrect estimate will not lead you to shut down your construction business. But if this continues for more than one project, you might ruin the construction business. There are several factors to be considered for getting the best estimates.

One needs to calculate the labor costs, costs of materials, cost of equipment, general conditions and understand the productivity of the crew, overhead costs for getting an estimate. To minimize mistakes and to get the right profit. The following are list of common estimation mistakes.

1. Not visiting a construction site is a common estimation mistake

The bidding events provide a platform for the bidders to visit the construction site and attend the pre-bid meeting. These are often compulsory for submitting a bid. It helps the contractors as the two sites are different. Having a thorough knowledge of the site helps to avoid unexpected costs when the construction begins.

When one visits the site, they can inspect the site properly, take measurements and analyze constructability. They can check the access to the roads and the traffic conditions as well. During this pre-visit, the contractor can understand the location of the staging area and provisions to reach the work location. The site visit will help to generate any prebid questions if there are any discrepancies with drawings and specifications. Not visiting a construction site is a common estimation mistake.

2. Incorrect takeoffs is a common estimation mistake

The takeoffs help in making better estimates for the construction business. Right quantity take-off generates the right estimate which will help to calculate labor hours, labor cost, material cost, equipment cost, and the project schedule to complete the job. Selecting the right scale is important even if one uses computer-based take-off tools to minimize common estimation mistake. Different takeoff software or generate thru BIM or best construction estimating software available in the market can aid one in getting the best measurements for the estimates. Construction estimating programs also helps to save time that would have been needed in completing the job manually.

3. Cost of labor


This is a tricky element and understanding it accurately for estimating costs can be difficult. It is among the most expensive costs incurred by a construction company. Different factors have to be considered when determining labor costs. Some of common estimation mistakes not included them are the number of workers available for work, crew composition, experience, their productivity, prevailing / union wages, benefits, employer taxes, workers compensation insurance, cost of training, etc. List out the number of workers needed based on trade and verify with resource planning of in-house labor pool and additional manpower is needed.

The new hires always have additional expenditure and incubation time etc. Some jobs are PLA or union-based and vary with the union to check availability additional manpower is needed. Create labor hours based on cost codes which help to track production and cost during construction with construction software and performance logs etc.

4. Cost of construction materials

The cost of construction materials and supplies is also very hard to determine for a construction company. The prices for construction supply can fluctuate from the time you estimated to the time the construction starts. There is demand for construction supply near me and the tariffs often have an impact on their prices. Therefore it is very difficult to get the estimate right for the construction materials and supplies. 

5. Cost of construction materials

If a contractor has good relations with the construction supply company and manufacturers, that is an added advantage. They can help to get the best prices when calculating the cost of material and equipment to complete the estimate. However, for doing this, the contractor must provide the quantity to the construction equipment supply company. It helps in getting the products on time from service construction supply companies.

If the construction crew has to sit idle due to lack of materials that will increase the cost of the construction project. Make sure to get a quote from a supplier on long-lead items as well as major material cost items. The estimator needs to make sure go thru specifications to know if there is Buy America clause and notify to suppliers accordingly to have a right price quote including lead time.

6. Cost of General conditions

Now a days size of specification book is increasing as the owner wants the contract to meet all compliance and minimize claims. Being a contractor preparing the estimate make sure to go thru all specification and capture related costs duration of construction, these related costs may not be available in drawings, so the estimate needs to make sure to capture the cost related general conditions, genera requirement, all means & methods to complete the construction.

7. Not able to understand risks and create contingencies

All the construction projects have their share of risks involved. A risk assessment must be done by the contractor. It enables one to make a good bid. With a good estimator, the contractor can understand whether it is risky and whether they must avoid making the bid for the project.

The inability to assess the risks and create contingencies can be harmful to getting the correct estimates. The bigger the risk, the more time you should allow for it. It will help one to understand how the budget will change.

Common estimation mistakes described above in Final words

Having an in-depth knowledge of the common estimation mistakes made in the construction business will be helpful for the contractors. They can analyze them to avoid making the same mistakes and make better estimates for their business.


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