How Technology is Changing the Estimating Profession

Numerous construction industries have been transformed by the advent of new technologies, but few job descriptions have changed quite as much as the estimator. An estimator traditionally delivers measurement services and bids in an effort to establish scope and feasibility. This means hours and hours of manual takeoff and document production to deliver an accurate forecast.

In 2018 and beyond, the time commitment to produce these documents is much shorter due to digital takeoff software. For this blog post, we have explored how the profession has evolved and listed some of the challenges facing the aspiring estimator as they build their business.

New Roles for the Modern Estimator
A common misconception about the arrival of BIM and other revolutionary construction technology is that estimators will fall by the wayside. The theory goes that preparing bids takes far less time due to digital takeoff software, so estimators will see their share of work and profits slowly dry up.

The reality has been somewhat different, with estimators instead adding their value in business advisory roles and playing a greater part in project management.

This shift doesn’t mean that the typical quality assurance role of the estimator has gone out the window, rather that they are applying their deep knowledge as a supplement to traditional measuring and cost control. For example, an estimator operating in 2018 might advise on innovative procurement methods or more competitive contracting structures to keep prices down.

As estimators generally possess an overall view of the cost implications of a project, they can offer valuable advice to managers. Estimators possess a deep knowledge of alternative building materials, and can even advise on the feasibility of processes such as off-site fabrication.

Challenges Posed by Digital Technologies
Although there is a clear roadmap for the future of modern estimating, there are several challenges that professionals must face as they look to evolve. A more collaborative design process means that an estimator’s benchmarks, price libraries and other implicit knowledge will be more accessible to other parties. Losing the exclusivity of datasets can reduce competitive advantage.

Going forward, estimators will need to possess an even broader knowledge of technologies, sustainability and site practices to fulfil advisory roles. With collaboration playing a larger role and quicker revisions expected throughout a project lifecycle, outstanding communication and organisation will be even more important for estimators of the future.

It’s also worth noting that not every region in the world has progressed at the same speed with regard to the built environment. Estimators can look to international markets, many of which don’t have formal training in place. Local demands and expectations in certain regions are constantly shifting, and modern estimators would be prudent to keep up with these trends to uncover new opportunities.

Test eMeasure with a 14-Day, No Obligation Trial
Whether you are an aspiring estimator or an industry professional looking to embrace digital takeoff, eMeasure represents an affordable and practical option for streamlining measurement.

eMeasure features quick and easy 2D takeoff that can be live-linked to Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for reporting. To claim your full-functionality trial of eMeasure, you can visit our website today – no credit card details are required to get started with eMeasure.

(!) Please note that eMeasure is no longer available to purchase or rent. RIB Software have taken this decision so that development efforts can be focussed on RIB’s flagship iTWO costX range. Click here to find out more about iTWO costX takeoff 2D, which features the same underlying engine and workflows as eMeasure, plus several other advanced features.