If you’re planning to enrol in construction estimator training, your best first step is to review what this career entails, key concepts taught in training, and perhaps most importantly, the career outlook for estimators in your area.
In this post, we break down the main responsibilities and skillset of a construction electrical/mechanical estimator. You’ll find a detailed list of typical coursework required in training programs, and the latest data on career outlook for estimators in Ontario.
The Role of a Construction Electrical/Mechanical Estimator
Construction estimators study and analyze the projected cost of a building project, produce an accurate estimate of total costs, and use that data to create competitive project bids. They work on civil engineering, architectural, structural, mechanical, and electrical construction projects.
Why is estimating so crucial in the construction business? Inaccurate estimates could lead to an unreasonably low bid, which may earn the construction company the job, but force it to take serious losses as unanticipated costs add up along the way (costs the company will be compelled to absorb). On the other hand, overly high estimates will ensure the company never wins any bids as competitors submit more attractively priced tenders.
What steps do construction estimators take to develop realistic cost projections? They look at a range of factors and elements associated with a building project, including:
- the cost of required materials, taking into account market fluctuations on the price for certain products (such as drywall and plywood)
- the cost of labour and equipment necessary to complete the work
- possible job site “surprises” such as insect damage, wood decay, and radon
- soft costs, such as permits and inspection fees, planning and feasibility studies, and field supervision
Additional duties and responsibilities of construction estimators include:
- advising on the tendering procedure
- setting up methods of monitoring costs and adjusting estimates while the work is in progress
- maintaining a network of suppliers, contractors, and sub-contractors
- preparing construction progress schedules
- conducting negotiations
What to Expect from Construction Estimator Training in Ontario
Students pursuing construction estimator training in Ontario will receive instruction designed to prepare them for entry-level, junior estimating positions. Pre-apprenticeship estimating programs outline the full scope of the estimator role, and clarify which specific duties and functions graduates can expect to carry out as entry-level professionals. Training then focuses on helping students develop a range of research, analytical, mathematical, and computer skills relevant to estimating. Typical course topics include:
- Estimating and take-offs: calculating material costs, labour costs per man hour, quality take-offs, etc.—and how to use blueprints, drawings and simulations during the estimating process
- Preparing financial reports and statements: how to obtain scopes and pricing from suppliers and subcontractors; monitoring estimated costs against actual cost data; and how to prepare summary reports, as well as cost, expenditure, and budget statements
- AutoCAD software: 2D drafting and 3D modelling fundamentals; architectural modelling and rendering as applicable to the estimating process
- Bidding process: overview of the bidding process, and how to assist with closing bids; how to conduct research and develop guidelines for future bids
- Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act: overview of the Acts, safety protocols and manuals, and completion of certification requirements
Ontario estimating programs may be offered in-class or online, and typically take less than 6 months to complete. Standard entry requirements are a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent, possibly an admissions test, and competency in basic mathematical calculations.
Career Forecast for Construction Estimators in Ontario
According to the Government of Canada Job Bank, employment prospects for construction estimators in Ontario are strong. When the Job Bank published its latest employment research in December 2016, it awarded estimators a 3/3 star rating for employability across the province. What’s driving the positive trend? Several factors have combined to strengthen the career outlook for construction estimators in Ontario, such as:
- large numbers of anticipated retirements
- steady levels of construction activity across the province
- high population and business growth in some areas is raising demand for residential and commercial development
- several multi-million dollar infrastructure projects have been scheduled for the province, including highway expansion and public transit system upgrades
Given the long-term impact of these drivers, demand for construction estimators is expected to hold steady for the foreseeable future.
Interested in learning more about career paths for construction estimators? Looking for trustworthy, comprehensive construction estimator training in Ontario?
Take a look at the Pre-apprenticeship Training (PAT) Institute’s Construction Electrical/Mechanical Estimator program, delivered at the Cambridge and Toronto campuses. Training takes just 720 hours to complete, and fully prepares students for junior estimating positions.
Visit the program page for a complete list of construction estimator courses, entry requirements, or to chat live with a knowledgeable advisor. We’re here to help!
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