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#069 Day 9 - How to Improve Your Estimating Skills as a Developing Quantity Surveyor 🔢

Hello folks 👋

When I started my career I spent the first three years doing estimating work.

For those of you who don't know, estimating is the practice of predicting the cost of construction works.

I used to think (and still do to some extent) that estimating was a dark art. I had the privilege of working with estimating experts and they just seemed to know the exact costs before any information (designs/drawings) were in place.

It's easy to feel helpless in this situation, as you really are reliant on the expertise of your colleagues. Remember though, your colleagues will have years of experience to build up that knowledge bank, and in time you will be able to roll off costs too!

But before you get there, here are somethings you can to improve your estimating skills:

  1. Ask Questions - If you are working with senior estimators, make sure you ask questions about anything you don't understand. Learn about the sequence of construction for the asset that is being built. Remember, there is no such thing a stupid question.

  2. Research, Research and Research - It's imperative that you do your own background research. This will help you learn the construction techniques being considered and give you some context. It's incredibly important that you do this at the early stages of your career (or when you're learning anything new in general). If, like me, you've become a QS after studying something like Law, History or Economics your mind will take some time to adjust to the mechanics of quantity surveying. I really think that certain concepts need time to "marinate" in your head before you truly understand them. Researching the things you don't understand will speed things up!

  3. Previous Estimates and Live Cost Data - One of the ways you can build up your knowledge of cost information is to look at previous estimates and live cost data. Your company should have a repository of previous estimates, keep copies for yourself for easy reference. The best source of cost data is live construction projects as that is current market rate. If you do not have any live projects in your team, ask in another team. Get the tender information so you can benchmark costs and ensure like for like comparisons.


That's all for this post, if you have any questions give me a shout on LinkedIn!

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