As the pivotal purpose for offsite construction is to improve efficiency and ultimately save money the estimating function sits at the very centre of the process. Estimators must include and have an understanding of transportation, materials used and incorporate any risk factors, as well as the more traditional technical skills which include:
Costing/developing whole life cycle costs
Developing sub-contract terms and conditions
Developing a value proposition (cost, durability, low carbon, aesthetic)
Obtaining prices and dealing with variations
Producing product/service specifications
Reading technical drawings
To be effective in this function, estimators need to have both strong commercial acumen and strong understanding of design and materials. Accuracy in pricing can only be underpinned by extensive knowledge of the wide range of materials and products used in offsite construction, knowledge would incorporate:
Current and emerging technologies
Typical associate costs
Understanding of full range of materials and products used (weights, volumes, dimensions etc.)
There is a significant shortage of estimators with the right skills for offsite construction, with limited options either training or formal qualifications. However, more digital tools seem be emerging to help support estimators within the built environment such as Build Offsite Estimator www.built-offsite.com
The Offsite Management School now offers a CPD type of training, which covers estimating.
As the built environment continues to progress towards prefabrication, the industry will need to provide more readily available training and tools to support estimators.