Estimating is one of the most important jobs in construction. Demand for well-qualified estimators continues to grow because construction is on an upswing. Estimators are essential for companies to capitalize on the growth in construction. To help the hiring process, Anybim has created a guide on How to Hire a Great Estimator. During this process, we asked, “What are the earmarks of highly effective piping estimators?
We asked construction executives who have worked with the good, the bad, and the best. They shared some of the important traits for successful estimators. Here is a list of common characteristics found of highly effective piping estimators?
Real experience is an important point of highly effective piping estimators
Colleges have strong programs in construction management, but they do not specifically teach detailed trade estimating. It turns out that most estimators develop their skills on the job. Yes, we mean about field experience. Even if only from part-time jobs, summer jobs… This experience can give the estimator a specific understanding of a project is put together. While not essential, candidates with field real experience often outperform those without.
High attention to detail.
Accuracy is a core requirement of estimating and attention to every detail ensures a better level of accuracy. This is one of the important quality required by an estimator. Because the estimation process is very prone to errors, even if you use the estimation software instead of manual work. The better the accuracy of a cost estimate, the better the planning and decision-making is in predicting and adjusting for future change. This is critical when business decisions need to be made on educated guesses where a bad decision can end up in a serious loss of profit. Good cost-estimating also helps keep operating margins down by avoiding unnecessary expenses.
They are masters of time management.
Time management is a key skill for piping estimators – estimates must be turned in on-time to be considered for tenders and it’s also important to give any subcontractors enough time to get back with a quote.
Successful estimators tend to have good time management systems in place. For example, we know of several who use calendar or project management apps to plan out their work. It’s often the case that they have multiple estimates on the go at any given time, so it’s important to have a way to keep track and ensure each is completed on-time.
Blueprint Reading Skills
Even as schools have cut back on exposure to drafting and other shop classes, the benefits of an applicant who knows how to read drawings can greatly improve chances for success as an estimator. In addition to reading the blueprints, it is valuable to understand how to read the project specifications and interpret them in the drawings. Possessing the ability to identify fine details helps uncover a project’s hidden costs.
An often overlooked trait of successful estimators is written and verbal communication. Project success is often hidden in the details and uncovering those can require calls to suppliers, collaborating with other contractors, RFIs (requests for information) with the GC( General Contractor), or extracting the critical information during meetings. Don’t mistake an outgoing personality as having these mastered, it is critical they can articulate and extract the most important information under pressure.
They have a great analysis skill
An estimator should be more than quick with numbers, good at math, and understanding the sequence of a project. The truly analytical mind will learn from previous work and apply those lessons to future projects. As a project is going through the estimating process, the true analyst will begin looking for pockets of profit through logistics, assembly, scheduling, and many other facets to ensure the company is maximizing its ability to be competitively priced and securing profit for the future work.
They use the right tools.
Piping estimating basics have always remained the same, but how you get to those numbers, or how you manage your work has changed with new technologies available. There are tools, software packages, and apps that have been created to help make your workday more efficient. A highly effective piping estimator will know how to select or come up with a solution for using the best method. Specifically in terms of estimating, counting takeoffs is now made simpler by avoiding having to print out drawings, get out a highlighter, and manually count. SmartMTO is an automated takeoff software that will accurately make those counts for you, without the need for reams of paper. Estimates can be created quickly and accurately, with users saving a huge amount of time that they can use for other parts of the job.
The most effective electrical estimators have found the right balance between time management and accuracy. They know the industry very well and they strive to continue learning and finding more efficient ways to work. Over our time talking with estimators, we’ve found that developing strong connections in the industry, their communities, and their colleagues is important. This helps to build good lines of communication that keep them informed and ready for new projects.
Why does takeoff software become essential nowadays?