Receiving an accurate construction estimate is essential to predicting your costs and timeline for any commercial construction project. From updates and renovations to new buildings, your estimate should help you make decisions based on budget and schedule. However, over 40% of contractors are not confident in their estimates.
The reason is that getting a good estimate involves a large number of variables, such as the cost of materials, the hours of labor needed, the potential for delays, and some amount of loss that can be difficult to put together accurately into a single summary. Having a good estimator is worth its weight in gold. Once a team that gives accurate estimates is found, investors often never let go.
So, how do master contractors produce accurate commercial construction estimates, and how can you acquire an accurate estimate for your next project? Read on for the answers.
First Step: Plan Each Phase in Detail and Budget Accordingly
No estimate can be accurate unless it is built from a complete plan. Therefore, the first step to an accurate estimate is to plan each phase in detail and prepare your budget accordingly. This plan completion means calculating the materials, labor, logistics, and potential delays for each phase of your construction project.
Avoid Unit Cost Estimates
Unit cost estimates tally up the cost of materials “by unit” but often neglect to consider the many other expenses involved in construction. Materials may be essential, but they are only the beginning. Labor, logistics, licensing, and insurance are not necessarily included in a unit cost estimate.
Prepare a Master Checklist
Instead of unit costing, prepare a master checklist of everything that will go into your construction project. Break it down by phase and category so that you get absolutely everything, every box of nails and every visit from the master electrician.
Determine Equipment Needs
Don’t forget the equipment. Most contractors use a combination of equipment they own (this will require gas and maintenance) or rented equipment for particularly large pieces and one-time project requirements. Equipment rental, gas, and maintenance play a major role in pricing and are often among the items left out of a general construction estimate.
Understand Materials Pricing and Fluctuations
Materials pricing is also not set in stone. You may have noticed that most things are more expensive this year, from eggs to lumber, impacting construction costs. An estimate you got three years ago is likely less accurate today. Some costs may have gone down while others have risen, all due to the natural consequence of operating in a free market and with international vendors. So, contractors may need to re-estimate material prices if costs fluctuate between the estimate and project initiation.
Why Working With a Transparent General Contractor and Construction Manager Is Important
When working with a contractor, an accurate estimate becomes the blueprint for your timeline and budget, which is why transparency is essential. Many contractors will give an optimistic estimate and may even fail to report delays or overages until the inaccuracies have already gotten out of hand. However, with the Gateway Building Company, we strive to ensure that our estimates and operations are crystal clear.
A transparent general contractor will first walk you through every detail of the estimate, then keep you informed as the project progresses through each stage of the planned timeline. While some setbacks are unavoidable, transparency with Gateway will ensure that you are informed quickly and able to make a timely decision about things like material availability, items broken in transit, or delay risks.
With accuracy and transparency, your commercial construction project can be completed within budget and to your fully informed satisfaction.
How Construction Cost Estimators Manage Uncertainty
Construction cost estimation is intended to reduce uncertainty and create clarity. Clients should be able to look at an accurate commercial construction estimate and see how their investment budget will be allocated toward each phase and section of the project. An accurate estimate should provide a clear timeline and the peace of mind that comes with seeing a project outline with a beginning, middle, and end.
Estimates can also allow clients to take their plans to secure financing by providing clear details to investors. By managing uncertainty, a good estimate can prepare everyone, from the client to the construction teams, on how the construction will be conducted, how much it will cost, and how long it will take.
Work with Gateway Building Company for Your Next Commercial Build
Suppose you have a commercial construction project on the horizon. In that case, you need a contractor partner who understands the importance of an accurate construction estimate and will strive to provide you with the greatest of possible detail, accurately measured based on current the current pricing of materials, labor, equipment, and licensing.
Gateway Building Company is here to complete your commercial construction without a hitch and to your satisfaction. That means accurate estimates, transparent operations, and collaboration with clients at every step of the project. Contact us to request a meeting.
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