5 Skills Required To Be a Competent Construction Cost Estimator (Quantity Surveyor)

Construction Estimating Course and Skills - Essential Subjects

If you want to be a good Construction Cost Estimator (US) also called a Quantity Surveyor (UK), then you must get a College Diploma or University Degree at an institution that offers the course. Getting an education at a recognized institute of learning will equip you with knowledge in many aspects of the Quantity Surveying profession. After getting an educational qualification, you can even go further to be a certified professional by writing examinations offered by an international or local body of Quantity Surveyors. Such bodies include the ASPE in America and RICS in the UK. Depending on the advancement of the profession in the region, some countries have their own examining and certifying bodies which offer professional status to qualifying individuals.

A professional QS / Estimator is different from a self-taught individual or somebody who was trained in-house but without qualifications. Such an individual might have a lot of essential experience, but he or she will lack in some technical knowledge, subjects and aspects of training that are acquired at a higher institution of learning. Most of the time, when a company is hiring, a qualified individual is preferred over an unqualified but experienced individual. This is due to the fact that the modern Estimator is required to have broad skills and competencies in various subjects related to Costing, Project Management, Design and Construction. Modern estimating is not a streamlined trade like carpentry or locksmith where your talent is a big factor. It is not just about taking off quantities from architectural drawings but it involves a lot more.

The quality of work that is produced by a professional estimator is several miles ahead than that of an unqualified estimator. In order to be a good and competent estimator, you must have knowledge in specific subjects that are taught at a tertiary school of construction. Let’s have a look at these subjects.

If You Want To Be a Good Construction Cost Estimator / Quantity Surveyor, You Must Learn These 5 Essential Subjects:

Measurement of Construction Work

A good Quantity Surveyor should know how to take off quantities from a building plan. This is a basic skill that every estimator should have. Knowing how to do plan takeoffs is essential because this is where the accuracy of the estimate is based. An accurate takeoff means an accurate cost estimate, and this allows you to arrive at the right tender value. It also allows you to project an accurate budget for the client. In a construction project that is managed by a QS, and where quantity takeoffs are not accurate, the contractor may find leeway to file claims for Bill of Quantity inaccuracies.

 Architectural Drawing

A Construction Estimator should know how to interpret architectural drawings as well as any drawings by the engineers. Drawing should be a part of the Quantity Surveying course to equip the student with design skills as well as visual comprehension intelligence. If you are able to design and draw a house plan on paper from scratch using a drawing board and ink, then you are able to understand the elements of a building better than somebody with no technical drawing experience. You will understand how the construction process works and you will be able to measure items accurately without leaving out some parts that are a non-skilled person won’t notice. You will be able to make design proposals, additions and queries if you think the plan is missing out specific details. Sometimes, architectural plans come with missing details and minimizing these will help in creating an accurate Bill of Quantities with fewer provisional sums.

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