Skip to content
Home » Life » Home & Garden » Shocking Construction Estimate Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Shocking Construction Estimate Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

  • / Updated:
  • Digital Team 

Compiling a construction estimate is an art form that involves a dance between precision and foresight. It’s not just about crunching numbers. As an experienced builder who has experienced many bumps in the road in the US homebuilding industry, I have witnessed my fair share of failed projects. And erroneous estimates are almost always to blame. Now, let’s explore some of the most startling errors in construction estimation and, more crucially, how to avoid them.

Underestimating Material Costs

Materials are the foundation of any construction project and, paradoxically, also one of the most easily overlooked areas. I recall pricing a work using the timber rates from the previous month early in my career. By the time you came to buy it, the cost had multiplied. What a wake-up call that was!

Pro Tip: Always be aware of market trends and factor in a margin of safety when estimating.

Overlooking Labor Costs

The erratic nature of labor expenses can be attributed to various factors, such as subcontractor fees, experience level, and overtime. I once gave a project a lower estimate than I thought my team could do in regular business hours. 

Lesson Learned: Account for every possible labor scenario.

Ignoring Project Scope Creep

One of the silent budget killers is scope creep. I remember a project that started out as a deck and turned into an entire outdoor living area. It was a problem for the budget, even if it looked fantastic in the portfolio.

Strategy: You can save a tonne of trouble by having clear, formal agreements on the project scope. Consistent client communication is key, and a tool like Bolster can help keep everyone on the same page.

Failing to Consider Site Conditions

Have you ever started a project only to discover that access is a logistical headache or that the site is a swamp? I discovered the hard way that site conditions can have a significant impact on your budget when an apparently simple job became an excavating nightmare.

The moral of the story is: Never undervalue a careful site assessment. It may uncover unspoken difficulties that have a big influence on your estimate.

Neglecting Quality Control Measures

Although quality control cannot be compromised, it is frequently disregarded during the estimation process. I once took on a project that had to be redone due to poor quality materials. The price? Double the initial projection.

Suggestion: Consider the price of quality up front. In the long term, it will save you (and your reputation), even though it might raise your initial estimate.

Leveraging Technology

Estimating software is not a luxury in the digital society we live in today—it is a need. The estimate process is streamlined and becomes more accurate and efficient with the use of tools like BolsterBuilt.

Professional Networking

Developing a rapport with subcontractors and suppliers might result in more advantageous terms and insightful information. Frequent networking in the construction industry can yield a wealth of insider knowledge.

Detailed Documentation

Keeping thorough records is essential for accountability and transparency. Additionally, it facilitates the tracking of deviant estimations, hence improving accuracy for subsequent projects.

Client Communication

Early on, setting reasonable expectations with clients can save a great deal of trouble later on. Open communication on possible budget variations can help control client expectations and build trust.

In wrapping up, remember that estimating is as much about experience and intuition as it is about numbers. Each project has its own unique challenges, but with the right approach and tools like Bolster, you can navigate these waters with confidence. And for more insights on making the most of your estimates, check out BolsterBuilt’s comprehensive guide to mastering the art of construction estimating.

Remember, in the world of construction estimation, forewarned is forearmed. Here’s to more accurate estimates and successful projects.

Categories: Home & GardenLife