The role of the Estimator

20 September 2023

As I’m sure we all know, construction firms have a tiny ~5% profitability margin. With such little room for error, the accuracy of estimating is more important than ever. This is even more crucial given 80% of margins are locked in pre-construction. 

When it comes to locking down projects, we don’t tend to focus on the significance of locking down the RIGHT projects. Estimators are the gatekeepers to securing the right projects, but they’re continually grappling with outdated and manual systems. 

Often, estimators have to base tenders on subbie quotes from outdated Excel spreadsheets, adding an extra burden to the already risky and tedious task they have on their plates. With only 3% of construction firms using digital technology on at least half of their projects (source), transitioning to digital methods can be a major competitive advantage.

Is it the lack of awareness around these digital solutions that’s holding companies back? Allow us to enlighten you…

A digital process leads to more effective and efficient estimating. That’s not to say manual processes don’t work, just that there’s far better ways to achieve a more accurate and less risky outcome, leading to better decision-making. 

And back to our undervalued estimator… digitising their processes enhances project planning, improves visibility across projects and progress, and helps with cost saving. Estimators will be able to nurture existing and foster new relationships with subbies, ensuring all participants in the tendering process are on a shared path. This doesn’t only help the estimators, main contractors, and subcontractors, but it helps the construction industry as a whole, thanks to the reduction of labour shortages that can result.

Embracing the digital era for estimators will spearhead them to a position of greater knowledge, through real-time data and market insights. Allowing them to better navigate supply chain challenges will benefit the industry through more accurate estimates, competitive bidding and improved collaboration across the supply chain.