Summary of occupation
Construction estimators develop the budget for building projects such as the construction of a single house, residential group housing developments or commercial buildings and sites. They calculate the cost and time estimates for the building project, check subcontractor quotations, submit tenders and may manage the construction costs.
They are also responsible for developing labour and material schedules, and may administer contracts associated with the project. In Western Australia, construction estimators may work on private, commercial or government projects.
Prepares and delivers estimates and cost plans for construction projects up to the tender settlement stage.
A construction estimator needs:
- good analytical and problem solving skills
- the ability to work accurately with figures and concentrate for long periods of time
- an aptitude for computers and using technical software programs
- strong oral and written communication skills
- solid organisational skills and the ability to work to strict deadlines
- the ability to work independently and as part of team.
Construction estimators usually work in an office environment, and they may work alone or as part of a team. They often work with other professionals such as designers, and production, project and account managers. They may be required to visit clients, members of construction teams and construction sites. They generally work business hours, however, they may work overtime to meet project deadlines.
On average, building construction estimators can expect to earn between $2 308 and $2 885 per week ($120 000 and $150 000 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a construction estimator develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Construction estimators use specialist software to prepare cost estimates and quotes, and develop draft construction programs. They read architectural plans and check on design changes to assess the impact on costs, and also prepare cash-flow forecasts for clients. They need to be familiar with building codes, technologies and techniques used in the construction industry.
To become a construction estimator you usually need to complete a formal qualification in building and construction estimating or construction management.
The Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Estimating) is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also complete a traineeship. The building estimator/scheduler traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.
You can complete a degree majoring in construction management. Curtin University offers the four year Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management). This is the only undergraduate degree in construction management currently available in Western Australia. Contact the university for more information.
Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card (commonly known as a "white card"). In Western Australia, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by the WorkSafe Division, Department Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.