Construction estimator

What they do

Construction estimators develop the budget for building projects such as the construction of a single house, residential group housing developments or commercial buildings and sites. They calculate the cost and time estimates for the building project, check subcontractor quotations, submit tenders and may manage the construction costs.

They are also responsible for developing labour and material schedules, and may administer contracts associated with the project. In Western Australia, construction estimators may work on private, commercial or government projects.

Working conditions

Construction estimators usually work in an office environment, and they may work alone or as part of a team. They often work with other professionals such as designers, and production, project and account managers. They may be required to visit clients, members of construction teams and construction sites. They generally work business hours, however, they may work overtime to meet project deadlines.

Tools and technologies

Construction estimators use specialist software to prepare cost estimates and quotes, and develop draft construction programs. They read architectural plans and check on design changes to assess the impact on costs, and also prepare cash-flow forecasts for clients. They need to be familiar with building codes, technologies and techniques used in the construction industry.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a construction estimator you usually need to gain a qualification in building and construction estimating or construction management.

The Certificate IV in Building and Construction (Estimating) is available at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship in estimating (housing) (level 4). The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

Alternatively, you can complete a degree majoring in construction management. Curtin University offers the four-year Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management). This is the only undergraduate degree in construction management currently available in Western Australia. Contact the university for more information.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

Construction estimators working in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Training Card (commonly known as a "White Card"). In WA, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by WorkSafe.