10 Things Every Estimator Should Know About Quantity Surveying!

I will be talking about some of the roles, skills, and techniques that every Estimator should know about Quantity Surveying in this article. I have created a list of 10 Things that I believe are essential to every Estimator.

Let's start with the definition of a Quantity Surveyor and a brief summary of what Quantity Surveying is.

A Quantity surveyor is a person who measures the value of a construction project, from the initial project startup to the completion stage. Quantity Surveyors have a good understanding of the complete construction cycle and the roles of each professional and trade required to build a successful project.

Quantity Surveying is the ability to provide accurate values for project cost, estimating task duration times, and providing maximum profits for Project Stakeholders.

The Quantity Surveyor commonly referred to as an Estimator has a good understanding of All the roles involved in the project, which is necessary to provide accurate values for project costs.

So what should every Estimator know about quantity surveying?

1. Know Your Position On The Team

Every company has a certain niche market that they focus on to keep there project pipeline full and every company is structured differently. Your role and the type of company you work for will determine what aspect of the quantity surveying process you are expected to know. Know your role and find ways to continuously get better.

2. How To Set Up Systems To Speed Up Tasks

To be an efficient Estimator you have to have the ability to gather project-specific information and store it in a manner that allows you to refer back to it quickly. This is just one of the many tasks that you are faced with as an Estimator. To make things easier for yourself you should set up Check-list, Templates, and have some good estimating and project management software.

List all the tasks that you do to get your project values, from A-to-Z and break down each task into smaller steps. Also mention the Check-lists, Templates, and software you use for each task and step.

3. How To Produce Accurate Project Values Consistently

The systems and processes that you set up will assist you in preparing accurate estimates consistently in a timely manner.

Learn how to calculate and use productivity and crew rates to calculate your estimate totals. Using productivity and crew rates provide you with labor cost and task duration times. Simply using a Square foot cost by a dollar value will not provide you with enough information to provide accurate estimates.

4. Be aware of All The Parties Interested In The Project

Every project has a list of people who are interested in the project. The roles of each of these people differ and some may have an impact on your project cost. Identify the Project Stakeholders and their objectives. Each Stakeholder will have a negative or positive impact on the project an some of the Stakeholders decisions will have an impact on the project cost. Failing to identify each Stakeholder and understanding how they affect project cost can end up costing you a lot of time and money.

5. Understand The Project Life Cycle

Each project has its own Life Cycle and a unique set of deliverables. You should have a clear understanding of who is needed at each step in each phase of the project. The project has an Initial Start-Up Phase, the Intermediate Phase, and the Final Phase. Each Phase has a set of deliverables that need to be started or completed to start the following Phase. Pay close attention to the project schedule, important project deliverables and project milestones.

6. Understand The Law

A good estimator must know the applicable building codes, laws and regulations to help generate values. As an Estimator, you must be familiar with the Construction Lien Act, OSHA Standards and Labour Codes. You can save yourself a lot of headaches by staying familiar with relevant laws and regulations and by conducting yourself in a manner that protects you and the Stakeholders from legal issues.

Your job as an Estimator consist of more than just number crunching. To be a good Estimator you must be well rounded in all aspects of the project. Knowing your role and the role of other professionals on the job will make your job a lot easier.

7. Learning From Your Mistakes

Even though some may not admit it, I believe that we all make mistakes. So instead of being quick to point the finger and flip out on someone else for your mistake, you should look into the office mistake and see what you could have done to avoid it. This may sound like some motivational B.S. to you but the truth is that mistakes allow you to improve yourself and the people around you.

If and when you do encounter issues, you should takes notes and consider what cost will be incurred because of the mistake and immediately find ways to rectify the situation.

8. Master The Art of Communication

Excellent communication is the ability to communicate your message effectively to the other party and for the other party to have a clear understanding of your message.

An Estimator is forced to communicate with numerous people throughout a Project's Life Cycle. Your ability to deliver your message to Stakeholders, General Contractors and your team will help you be more efficient at your job.

9. Find Ways To See Value in Every One You Work With

Except for the fact that your team usually stays the same, you will have to work with different people on most projects. Being able to see the value that everyone brings to the table will help you to appreciate the skills and knowledge that each individual has.

See what you can learn from each person and implement what you learn into your daily system. See if any of them have any Checklists, Templates or Tools that you can use to speed up your tasks.

10. Your Ultimate job is to Create Profits

Your Ultimate job as an Estimator is to generate profits for the Stakeholders. Costly mistakes and poor workmanship will have a negative impact on the project. If you make costly mistakes and don't pay attention to details then you will be out of a job or business very quickly.

To ensure that you are profitable on every project you should constantly refer to your Systems, Templates, Check-lists, and Software to generate and prepare your values.


10 Things Every Estimator Should Know About Quantity Surveying!

1. Know Your Position On The Team

2. Set Up Systems To Speed Up Tasks

3. Produce Accurate Project Values

4. Be aware of All The Parties Interested In The Project

5. Understand The Project Life Cycle

6. Understand The Law

7. Learn From Your Mistakes

8. Learn The Art of Communication

9. Find Ways To See Value in Every One You Work With Throughout the project

10. Your Ultimate job is to Create Profits


Your job as an Estimator is not easy and you must have the ability to pay close attention to detail. Along with providing cost data, the Estimator must understand the roles each professional involved in the project.

Creating toolkits and systems for completing tasks will allow you to produce accurate estimates, quickly. Remember that Investors and Stakeholders are counting on you to be there Cost Consultant and provide them with reliable values and filter through cost estimates provided by other parties.

The list above provides you with some insight into what you need to know as an Estimator.

Do you have ideas on what you think every Estimator should know about Quantity Surveying? Please leave a comment below, I would like to hear your suggestions!

About The Author: Louis Henry is an Entrepreneur, Contractor, Estimator, and Writer.

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