# 5 Ways of Calculating Construction Estimating Fees

5 Methods of Charging Construction Estimating Fees

The overall stages of a construction project are well laid out in the SACQSP and ASAQS guideline for Tariffs of Professional Fees. The breakdown allows the consulting quantity surveyor / estimator to set fees for the pre-contract and contract phase. The pre-contract stage is whereby the original estimate is produced. This estimate will change as drawings are developed, so the concept estimate will differ from Bills of Quantities based on fully developed working drawings, which will be used for tendering purposes and contract administration. The question is how does an Estimator calculate fees for taking off quantities and pricing an estimate?

Professional estimators calculate fees in different ways, which can be based on negotiation with the client. A professional estimator will not under-price their work, which is the case with most self taught and uncertified estimators. Uncertified estimators also tend to miss many items of cost which should be included in the estimate. The following are methods in which quantity surveyors and professional estimators determine their consulting fees in the planning and cost advice stage:

1 – Tariff of Professional Quantity Surveying Fees

This is a guideline for charging consulting fees based on rules and structure set by a professional quantity surveying body. This guideline is usually used in high value projects run by government departments, top level organizations and corporations. If an estimator or client has doubts about how their project should be charged for quantity surveying fees, the Tariff of Professional Fees is the best guideline to follow. It is published by the QS body and also found in annual government gazettes.

The ASAQS and SACQSP method entails a Basic Fee, a primary charge and marginal rate for projects within a particular value range, tabled in the schedule of tariffs. The primary charge is a lump sum (fixed sum) and the marginal rate is a percentage. The sums are combined to arrive at the Total Fees for a project at a specific phase. To calculate the Fees Due at a specific or current stage, a percentage rate quoted from an Apportionment table is applied. This is multiplied by the Basic Fee. If the design development at a specific stage is not complete, i.e. halfway through, the Estimator should apply a percentage for work in progress (e.g. 50%).

2 – Charge Per Hour

If a building project does not necessitate the use of a Tariff of Professional Fees, the Charge Per Hour may be used. This is a common method of charging consulting fees. Most professionals like Quantity Surveyors, Architects, Engineers, Tutors, Programmers, Lawyers and Attorneys use this method. Anyway, for accounting purposes and production costs, every worker has their basic wages and salaries set in pay per hour. Thus, a low level worker like a painter will have their labor rates at something like US\$15.65 per hour. An Office Administrative Assistant will earn somewhere between \$11.47 and \$21.39 per hour.

Construction Cost Estimator Salaries – GlassDoor

The following are hourly rates for professionals in the construction industry:

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