Estimators calculate how much it costs to supply products or services to a client before building works can start.
The Role
  • Weighing up all the information about the building work and deciding exactly how much money it will take to do what the customer wants
  • Researching prices
  • Collecting quotes
  • Checking what the client wants
  • Using computer software
  • Collecting quotes from suppliers and sub-contractors
  • Drawing up bids for work
  • Keeping an eye on projects to make sure costs stay in line with forecasts
  • Drawing up detailed and accurate price lists for everything needed on a construction project
  • Adding up materials prices
  • Working out the costs for hiring heavy or specialist equipment
  • Calculating transport costs, fuel and labour
  • Considering Risk assessment, Health and Safety requirement, Inflation, Exchange rate, and Projected timescale costs.
Salary
  • Newly trained estimators can earn in the region of £18,000 - £20,000
  • Trained with experience estimators can earn in the region of £20,000 - £35,000
  • Senior, chartered or master estimators can earn in the region of £35,000 - £40,000
Salaries typically depend on location, employer and level of responsibility. Salaries and careers options also improve with chartered status.
Qualifications & Training
There are no set academic entry requirements to train as an estimator, but GCSEs 9-4(A*-C) in science, technology, English and maths are useful or their equivalent. An IT qualification is also good to have. You could also study for a BTEC HNC, HND in subject areas such as structural engineering, civil engineering or construction. An excellent way to start  is by looking for construction apprenticeships with a building or construction engineering firm, then working up. Your employer might want you to take more on-the-job qualifications. These could include an NVQ in Project Control Levels 3 and 4, NVQ in Construction Contracting Operations levels 3 and 4, and Certificate and Diploma in Site Management Level 4. With a Level 3 NVQ and several years’ experience, you can apply for membership of the Association of Cost Engineers. For further information see the website: www.acoste.org.uk Many people also take on this role after first  as a craft person, assistant technician or administrator.