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According to the dictionary, the definition of the word estimate is: To form an opinion or judgment: to judge or determine roughly the size, value, cost, requirements: an approximate computation of the probable cost of a piece of work, made by a person undertaking to do this work.

Estimating Methods

There are various estimating methods used in remodeling; there is the per foot cost and fixture method, the modular method, the detailed take-off method and my favorite, the weigh the plan method (so many ounces equal so much money).  An estimate is simply an educated guess of a project cost based upon available information. One of the most common reasons that a remodeling business will fail is the inability of an estimator to establish a realistic estimate.  An accurate estimate is a foundation on which successful companies and clients rely on.  An accurate estimate serves many purposes. 

  • It is used to determine a project feasibility
  • It provides the basis for planning construction procedures and methods.
  • It provides a baseline for purchasing, material and cost control.
  • It becomes a tool for developing a construction schedule.
  • An estimate can be used to develop a material list.
  • The estimate identifies the use of subcontractors and suppliers.

What Makes a Good Estimator?

A good estimator is methodical but also creative, they are a person who can rely on vision and attention to detail in equal measure.  Someone who checks and double checks. The estimators at Mosby Building Arts works closely with the designers, consultants and the production team to understand all the aspects of the project in order to establish a realistic cost.

The Differences Between Remodeling Estimators

Professional estimators that work for a remodeling company must be knowledgeable in all aspects of the various disciplines in construction.  Estimators that work for a single discipline construction identity such as wood flooring, ceramic tile, gutters, roofing etc. have experience and knowledge that relates to that specific field.  Most of these estimators assume that they will have a new or corrected surface in which to install their product.  The remodeling estimators know that they are the ones who must determine what the cost will be to prepare the proper substrates for each of the trade partners.  They take this information, review the work scope for the project and the work scope furnished by the trade partners to make sure there are no duplications or gaps in the various work scope or cost.  If either occurs the estimator must make the proper adjustments in order to establish an accurate and truthful cost so the Client will be able to make informed decisions.

Navigating Possible Problems

There are so many hidden and possibly dangerous elements in remodeling an existing home, for an estimator, it’s like walking through a mine field to determine what the real cost could be.  Some of the things to consider include access to the site, what type of protection is required for the new construction and the present surrounding area, is the house old enough that there may be lead paint to contend with.  How difficult will it be to remove existing items such as flooring, drywall, plaster, plumbing fixtures, electric lights, and wiring?  Is the subfloor in good condition or is there water damage that affected the wood floor joist and plywood?  Is the wall framing okay or does some of it need to be replaced?  Is there aluminum wiring present?  Was the original structure built to code or does that need to be addressed before the new construction could start?  Is the water supply lines adequate?  These are just a few of the thoughts that go through an estimator’s mind before the new plans are looked at, and this is just for a bathroom.

Becoming an Estimator

There are two traits that an estimator must have before that person can even think about pursuing a career in estimating.  A person must be able to read and comprehend what is being written and also be able to reverse the process and be able to write a clear and precise description of what is included in the estimate.  The second item is math.  Every function in estimating requires some type of math calculation.  The estimator will be adding, subtracting, dividing, multiplying and be able to work comfortably with fractions.  An estimator will be working with square feet, square yards, cubic feet, and yards, board feet, angle roof pitches, linear feet and inches and sometimes volume.  The ramifications could be costly to both the home owner and the contractor if these skills are missing.

The Truth Upfront

Estimating is a necessary function in construction and it requires a skilled and dedicated professional person to perform this task.  The estimators at Mosby Building Arts possess all of the necessary skills and attributes that will benefit the home owner by gathering truthful information that the home owner can rely on.  Inaccurate information could lead to false hope or financial complications to the home owner.  An accurate and detailed estimate will get the home owners project started off on the right foot and act as a lighthouse beacon to keep everyone focused on the same direction.

Mosby Building Art’s has a deep bench of estimators, architects, designers, and builders who can assist in your St. Louis remodeling projects. To contact us for a consultation, give us a call at 314-909-1800. Or click here.