Simply stated, construction estimators are responsible for analyzing production processes to determine how much time, money, and labor a project needs. And so, it goes without saying (though we will regardless) that a construction estimator is critical to a project’s success.
If you are currently looking to hire a construction estimator and want to make sure that they have what it takes, or if you are looking to convince a potential employer that you are the right estimator for the job, here are five key skills that are the hallmark of a successful construction estimator.
1. Industry Knowledge
Construction estimators know the industry inside and out, and are constantly keeping up with the latest trends and developments. In so doing, they are aware of the costs of materials and labor, as well as construction technologies that can improve efficiency while keeping costs down.
An all-too-often overlooked skill of successful estimators is communication: both written and verbal. Hidden in every construction project are innumerable details that are only uncovered in speaking with workers, project managers, suppliers, and of course, the client. As such, being able to effectively communicate with all those groups is vital. But be careful, just because someone has an outgoing personality, does not necessarily mean they are a good communicator. A good communicator is articulate and precise.
Great estimators are not solely responsible for one project at a time. They are often juggling multiple projects or bids at once – and so they rarely have the time to hyper-focus on one obligation at a time. And so, a great estimator not only possesses the ability to multi-task, but also, can prioritize what is most important without letting things fall through the cracks.
If a construction estimator is incapable of collaborating with others, he or she will never be successful and the projects for which he or she is responsible will suffer. Successful estimators are great at working with everyone involved in the project - including architects, engineers, contractors, and perhaps most importantly, the client.
5. Critical Thinking and Data Analysis
Critical thinking and data analysis are two skills that are so interconnected, they can effectively be treated as one. Successful estimators must be proficient at reading and interpreting many different data points from several different sources. And with those data insights, successful estimators can identify key insights they can use to increase efficiency, keep costs low, even outbid a competitor. Critical-thinking construction estimators can also foresee potential problems to avoid costly mistakes, while also seeing opportunities others often overlook.
The above-mentioned skills are great examples of soft skills that make a successful construction estimator. But there are also many hard skills construction estimators should possess, such as the correct certifications or software capabilities.
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