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:

  • Analysis of tender documents/contract terms and condition
  • BIM-enabled design
  • Costing/developing whole life cycle costs
  • Developing sub-contract terms and conditions
  • Developing a value proposition (cost, durability, low carbon, aesthetic)
  • Developing tenders
  • Obtaining prices and dealing with variations
  • Planning
  • Producing product/service specifications
  • Reading technical drawings
  • Risk assessment

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:

  • Appreciation of how buildings are constructed
  • Contract law
  • Current and emerging technologies
  • IT tools
  • Lean methodologies
  • Quality assurance
  • Typical associate costs
  • Understanding of full range of materials and products used (weights, volumes, dimensions etc.)
  • Waste management

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

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.

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