An estimator, otherwise known as a cost engineer, works out how much it will cost for a company to supply products or services to a client. This allows the company to submit bids to win contracts.
You could be:
analysing project plans and specifications
liaising with clients to find out exactly what they are looking for
researching best materials and equipment for the job
obtaining quotes from suppliers for materials required
working out costs for hiring heavy or specialist equipment
calculating labour costs
assessing the level of risk for the project and any associated costs
preparing and submitting bid documents.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting salary for a newly trained estimator is around £20,000 to £25,000 a year. With experience this can rise up to around £40,000 a year. Highly experienced estimators can earn £45,000 to £60,000 or even more.
You would usually be based in an office.
You spend time visiting suppliers and clients.
You have to wear protective clothing, including hard hat, safety boots and overalls when visiting sites.
You would normally work 35 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday.
You may have to work some evenings and weekends to meet deadlines.
You can get in with a degree, HND or HNC in a relevant subject. Subjects include quantity surveying, construction management, civil engineering or building surveying.
Entry requirements vary according to the level of course, but are normally 1-2 Highers for an HNC or HND and 4-5 Highers for a degree.
You could do a Modern Apprenticeship in Construction: Technical and complete the Construction Contracting Operations: Estimating pathway at SCQF Level 6. You can then gain experience and work your way up.
Experience using AutoCAD software and experience of BIM (Building Information Modeling) is preferred.
You need to have a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent to work on sites.
A full UK driving licence is useful, and may be necessary.
good IT skills including experience using AutoCAD.
You need to be:
self-motivated and able to plan ahead
able to read and work from technical drawings
a good team member
able to work to a deadline.
Once you have completed your qualification you could find employment as a trainee estimator.
You would train on the job working alongside an experienced estimator.
You can apply for membership of the Association of Cost Engineers. See their website for details.
Your promotion prospects rise with further professional development and increasing experience.
After gaining your SVQ, HNC, HND or degree and some practical experience with an employer, you can go on to register with one of the relevant professional bodies, such as the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) or Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).
Which one you register with may depend on what your qualification is in.
As a member of any of the professional bodies, you have to complete a certain number of hours continuing professional development (CPD) each year.