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NOC Code: NOC Code: 2234 Occupation: Construction estimators
Occupation Description: Occupation Description:
Construction estimators analyze costs of and prepare estimates on civil engineering, architectural, structural, electrical and mechanical construction projects. They are employed by residential, commercial and industrial construction companies and major electrical, mechanical and trade contractors, or they may be self-employed. Construction estimators analyze costs of and prepare estimates on civil engineering, architectural, structural, electrical and mechanical construction projects. They are employed by residential, commercial and industrial construction companies and major electrical, mechanical and trade contractors, or they may be self-employed.

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Table will display the Skill Level for the Noc specified
Essential Skills Essential Skills Levels
Reading Reading 1 2 3 4
Writing Writing 1 2 3 4
Document Use Document Use 1 2 3 4
Digital Technology Digital Technology 1 2 3
Oral Communication Oral Communication 1 2 3
Money Math Money Math 1 2 3
Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting 1 2 3 4
Measurement and Calculation Measurement and Calculation 1 2 3 4
Data Analysis Data Analysis 1 2 3
Numerical Estimation Numerical Estimation 1 2 3
Job Task Planning and Organizing Job Task Planning and Organizing 1 2 3 4
Decision Making Decision Making 1 2 3
Problem Solving Problem Solving 1 2 3
Finding Information Finding Information 1 2 3
Critical Thinking Critical Thinking 1 2 3

  • The skill levels represented in the above chart illustrate the full range of sample tasks performed by experienced workers and not individuals preparing for or entering this occupation for the first time.
  • Note that some occupational profiles do not include all Numeracy and Thinking Essential Skills.

If you would like to print a copy of the chart and sample tasks, click on the "Print Occupational Profile" button at the top of the page.

  • Read warnings, precautions and instructions on construction signs placed on buildings and equipment. (1)
  • Read short reports. For example, read general contractors' monthly project reports to stay current on projects, review activities and to determine if follow-up action is required. (2)
  • Read safety precautions and hazard warnings on Workplace Hazardous Material Information System labels and on Material Safety Data Sheets. This information is needed to ensure that the correct protective equipment is used during site visits. (2)
  • Read short messages from clients, colleagues, co-workers, and supervisors. For example, read clients' and supervisors' notes on quotes and drawings. Read email such as co-workers' updates on projects and responses to queries. (2)
  • Refer to government legislation, regulations and subsequent bulletins. For example, read and interpret code standards for the installation of electrical wiring. You must be able to argue knowledgeably when you feel that materials do not meet code. Failing to correctly interpret codes can cost the company time and money. (3)
  • Read contractors' quotes and proposals. Review the quotes to determine what work and materials are included and excluded. On large projects, read and integrate information from many quotes to ensure that the work and materials are listed without duplication. (3)
  • Read descriptions and explanations on construction drawings, specification lists and architectural design reports to understand the scope and financing of construction projects. Note special procedures, materials and challenges that may affect project costs. It is important to understand industry and legal terminology to accurately interpret the information. (3)
  • Review trade publications to stay current on new products, estimating techniques, trends in the industry and the construction industry as a whole. For example, read articles about new products and cost analysis research in trade magazines. Use specialized expertise to evaluate the information for relevance and may incorporate the information into estimating or costing procedures. (4)
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  • Write notes and short memos to remind yourself, co-workers, supervisors or clients about tasks, confirm requests and to respond to questions. For example, write brief notes and comments on specification sheets and drawings to indicate changes, record questions or highlight specific points for bid analyses. (1)
  • Write detailed letters to supervisors, contractors and clients. For example, outline deliverables and work completion directives in letters of understanding provided to contractors. Write cover letters to outline details of construction bids. Explain and justify changes to the original bids or project specifications as appropriate. (2)
  • Write short memos and email to co-workers, supervisors, contractors and clients. For example, write estimation instructions to junior estimators. Give advice and share technical information with colleagues, clients and co-workers. Request approval on discounted quotes from supervisors. Write email to clients to request changes to project timelines. (2)
  • Write technical instructions and explanations for co-workers and contractors. For example, write detailed installation instructions and tool requirements for installing modified equipment. (3)
  • Prepare reports, which address a variety of operational matters for supervisors and clients. For example, write detailed progress reports, which describe work progress, detail work delays, outline corrective action taken and recommend follow-up actions. Submit the reports to financial institutions to release project funds. (4)
  • Draft recommendation reports for actions such as the purchase of new equipment, change of product and supplier, or to modify installations, and then submit to management or clients for approval. These lengthy documents generally include a cost analysis and justifications for the various options selected. For example, recommendations may include a health and safety assessment; description of all specifications, and modification details; or the evaluation of several suppliers and a justification of the supplier chosen. (4)
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Document Use
  • Get specific pricing information from pricing tables, lists or databases. (1)
  • Scan photographs and sketches of buildings and equipment to evaluate damage to estimate repair costs. (2)
  • Scan tables in codebooks and manuals to locate specifications such as pipe or wire size. (2)
  • Review and verify information from a variety of forms such as purchase orders and service requests. Review the forms to determine if additional details or follow-up actions are required, verify accuracy, and ensure overall consistency. (2)
  • Complete estimating and administrative forms. For example, enter values, prices, quantities, dimensions and brief descriptions and explanations onto job quotes, building permits and insurance forms. Summarize information from other documents such as site drawings, specification sheets, costing and rate tables and project schedules and tracking forms to complete these forms. (3)
  • Complete tracking and quality control forms. For example, enter scheduling, budget and operational data onto tracking forms. Summarize information from the tables, lists and textboxes of the document, as well as other forms such as financial and work progress reports to complete entries. Provide dates, times, locations and work details for daily and weekly schedules, and to date work summaries and associated costs for ongoing project status. (3)
  • Review construction drawings such as engineering and architectural drawings to determine physical dimensions, material specifications and equipment requirements when costing project proposals. The drawings are often complex with multiple sections and detailed information on the specific material and methods of construction. (4)
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Digital Technology
  • Use graphics software such as PowerPoint to create presentations. Use importing and presentation features such as fadeouts. (2)
  • Conduct Internet searches for technical information such as information relating to a specific construction procedure. Access and download information to obtain and send bid drawings and specifications using file transfer protocol. (2)
  • Use communication software. For example, use Outlook Express to receive and send email and attachments. Use Outlook features such as address books and group listings, calendars and reminder alarms. (3)
  • Use bookkeeping, billing and accounting software. For example, prepare detailed summaries of project costs by creating cells to input data and embed calculation formulae into the cells. (3)
  • Use databases. For example, use software such as TOPS, Easyset, and Estimateur General to enter and obtain detailed information for quotes and to update databases. Use advanced features to set queries to input and access information and to enter commands to update data. (3)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, use software such as Excel to generate cash flow, resource and labour tables and graphs. Use formatting features to embed formulae to links columns, rows, cells and pages. (3)
  • Use word processing. For example, write and format letters, memos and reports. Use functions such as page numbering and table of contents. Set the final layout, embedding illustrations and graphs within the text. (3)
  • Use computer-assisted design, manufacturing and machining. For example, modify architectural drawings and add details to drawings. Zoom, rotate, enlarge and import drawings. (3)
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Oral Communication
  • Interact with co-workers and staff to share routine information, to provide direction and to coordinate work. For example, provide brief job quote instructions to junior estimators and share job progress with co-workers. (1)
  • Talk with clients, sub-contractors, competitors and suppliers for the purpose of exchanging information about construction progress, upcoming projects and to confirm availability and project timelines. Use these interactions to build and maintain your network and partnerships. (2)
  • Speak regularly with clients, government officials, staff and contractors to provide and receive technical information, and respond to questions. For example, speak with clients and supervisors to outline project modifications. Speak with ministry officials to negotiate the use of alternative materials and construction methods that meet the required codes and regulations. Speak with senior co-workers and supervisors to discuss particular pricing or quantification problems. (2)
  • Interact with clients to discuss and resolve construction problems such as code requirements being overlooked by architects. Clear and diplomatic communication is critical to reaching positive outcomes for the client and the company. (3)
  • Instruct junior estimators on estimating procedures such as completing difficult and complex sections of project costing analyses. Communicate clearly to ensure there is a clear understanding of the processes. Miscommunications can lead to costly errors and additional training time. (3)
  • Make presentations to various levels of management to outline project proposals. The ability to organize, interpret and present ideas and to answer questions is important to winning contracts and achieving project approval. (3)
  • Speak with architects, engineers, general and specialty trade contractors. For example, speak with these professionals to discuss building and equipment options, seek clarification on drawings and specification sheets and to develop an understanding of particular construction procedures and specifications that may impact on costs. (3)
  • Participate in weekly project meetings with staff to discuss topics such as productivity, project updates, scheduling, employee health and safety. At these meetings, present progress reports, make recommendations on production and procedures and assign tasks to staff. (3)
  • Negotiate the terms of agreements with contractors and suppliers. For example, negotiate prices and delivery timelines with suppliers; services, terms and conditions of agreements and project timelines with contractors; and contract adjustments with clients when inaccurate information and drawings create the need for additional work. (3)
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Money Math
  • Calculate travel expense amounts using established rates such as per kilometre travel rates. Total the dollar amounts on expense sheets before submitting for reimbursement. (2)
  • Prepare invoices for completed jobs. Calculate labour and equipment costs at hourly rates and add material costs. Apply price mark-ups, appropriate taxes and total the amounts. (3)
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Scheduling or Budgeting and Accounting
  • Schedule payments and orders so that cash flows provide maximum benefits to the company. For example, order supplies near the end of the month to reduce billing periods and receive discounts for paying within fifteen days of receipt. (3)
  • Perform cost-benefit analyses for equipment and materials. For example, an electrical estimator tracks the initial and follow-up costs of two switches. The estimator determines the more expensive switch is more cost-effective when follow-up labour and part replacement costs are factored into the analysis. (3)
  • Establish and monitor schedules for long-term multi-phased projects. Establish critical timelines and schedule the activities of staff, consultants and contractors. In addition, coordinate tasks with other departments and companies, including multiple specialty trade contractors. Many factors such as sub-contractor, material and equipment availability, construction difficulties, and extended wet weather have a large impact on project schedules and require constant monitoring. As a result continually adjust schedules to ensure project timelines are met. (4)
  • Determine and monitor budgets for large and small concurrent projects. Consider labour, material, equipment, contractor and auxiliary equipment costs using established costing rates and profit mark-ups. Monitor expenses to ensure projects are within budget, and adjust schedules and budget lines to accommodate unexpected delays and costs. Project costs are often in the range of twenty thousand to one hundred thousand dollars but may run to millions of dollars for multi-phased projects. In addition, prepare financial summaries to monitor profits and losses. (4)
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Measurement and Calculation
  • Take measurements using a tape measure during site visits to verify quantities of material. For example, measure lengths of wiring. (1)
  • Calculate quantities and volumes. For example, when preparing estimates for roadway construction calculate the quantity of gravel required using area and depth of coverage and the grade of slopes as factors. (2)
  • Calculate missing dimensions on scale drawings to accurately determine quantities. Construction estimators must take measurements from scale drawings and calculate areas, perimeters and volumes, and may have to create a new scale drawing to determine the missing dimensions. (3)
  • Calculate material quantities for jobs involving complex and irregular shapes. Set up equations to calculate height, depth, angles and degree of curves using principles of geometry and trigonometry. Insert these dimensions into formulae to determine the volume of material required to bring sections of roadways up to grade level. (4)
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Data Analysis
  • Average labour and material costs to guide future estimates. (2)
  • Analyze monthly data on labour and material performance to identify problem areas and depict trends over time in quality, defects or efficiency. For example, monitor product failures and replacement costs to draw conclusions about the cost effectiveness of products. Analyze project costs such as labour costs versus budgeted costs and equipment downtimes to determine if there are areas to improve efficiencies. (3)
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Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the time needed to complete construction projects. Consider factors such as the complexity and size of the projects, the weather conditions expected during construction, equipment and materials needed and special requirement for particular types of jobs. (2)
  • Estimate profits. Consider factors such as potential variations in cost and charge rates, potential project delays and possible cost overruns. Most factors are known but fluctuations can occur within plus or minus two percent. (3)
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Job Task Planning and Organizing
  • Construction estimators organize their tasks to complete research, estimate project bids and manage project contracts for their employer or client organizations. They usually work on multiple projects, which can vary in length from one day to two years depending on the size and scope. Job tasks and priorities are project driven, but they decide the priority of tasks. They plan their daily, weekly and long-term schedules to fit in activities, which may include: meetings, site visits, quote estimations, presentations, project management and quality control and productivity analysis. Their daily activities can vary widely from day-to-day. They work in fast-paced environments in which they must be able to determine which projects and issues take priority. They must always be willing to reorganize their work schedule to deal with problems and situations as they arise to ensure projects stay on schedule. They interact with supervisors, contractors, colleagues and clients often in a coordinative role to integrate their tasks with others. Construction estimators are often involved in operational and strategic planning by virtue of their job. Based on their understanding of an organization, they identify and complete estimates for a wide range of construction projects. They may plan and monitor project budgets and schedules depending on their level of experience. They coordinate the overall project work plan and provide operational and quality control recommendations and directives. They identify and establish staffing and contractor requirements. They may coordinate activities and tasks to complete projects. Senior estimators are responsible for assigning and monitoring the work of junior estimators. (4)
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Decision Making
  • Make product-purchasing decisions. Decisions have a large impact on profit margins. For example, decide to purchase generic brands rather then name brands to increase profit margins. Decide to purchase products that are more expensive but have lower malfunction rates over time. (2)
  • Decide which contractors and suppliers to use. Adapt and use standard evaluation criteria and price points when awarding contracts and accepting supplier's terms. Legal implications make decisions difficult to reverse. (2)
  • Decide to bid on projects. In addition to set decision procedures consider the amount of work confirmed, project timeframes, costs, equipment and human resources availability, and the chances of winning the contract. Decisions usually cannot be reversed due to bidding deadlines and binding contracts. Deciding which estimate requests to respond to is an important business skill. (3)
  • Decide how to deal with contractors who fail to show up for jobs or do not complete work to specifications. In some cases, withhold payment until completion of work or reduce payments to offset work delay costs. Consider past relationships with the contractors and the cost implications to the project when making decisions. Binding contracts can limit how to deal with these situations, and decisions must be geared towards motivating the contractor to meet their contractual obligations with minimal impact on overall project timelines and costs. (3)
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Problem Solving
  • Face clients who are upset because of inconveniences during construction such as the lack of an access road to sites. Take corrective action by building temporary driveways to enable the clients to reach the sites during construction. (1)
  • Deal with cost overruns or project delays due to weather, slower progress then expected, contractors not being available when required, and materials and equipment not arriving as scheduled. For example, discover that critical materials are on back order from the manufacturer. Identify alternative material and speak with clients to obtain approval. When possible speak to the clients to explain the unforeseen situation and to try to reach shared cost compromises. (2)
  • Deal with unexpected physical obstructions or problems during construction. For example, find that roadway construction designs will result in the uneven seaming of connecting roads. Speak with project managers and technical experts to determine alternative constructive methods that will remain within budget. Obtain approval from clients to continue. (2)
  • Face owners and general contractors exerting pressure to resume work before receiving engineering approval. Emphasize the legal and cost implications of proceeding prematurely. (3)
  • Experience faulty work completed by contractors. For example, you discover incomplete installations of safety straps around inground gas tanks. Identify the deficiencies and have the contractors redo the jobs. Adjust work schedules to accommodate resulting delays. (3)
  • You experience increases in service calls. Investigate the calls to determine causal factors such as equipment or components breakage, worker carelessness and faulty equipment. Make recommendations for corrective action such as replacing components, changing component brands and providing training to servicing staff. (3)
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Finding Information
  • Locate pricing information for construction materials by searching internal and online supplier databases. (1)
  • Identify and consult with content experts and co-workers to get their opinions on pricing and estimating details. (2)
  • Locate technical information from past projects, professional publications, co-workers, supervisors and colleagues to evaluate specific products, procedures and contractors before deciding what to buy, who to hire and what to quote. (2)
  • Draw on information from drawings, reports, timesheets and repair and replacement reports to monitor and improve project efficiencies and productivity. (3)
  • Locate estimating information from bid specifications, codebooks, drawings, technical reports, costing and material databases and manuals. Use technical expertise to integrate the information to complete costing estimates. (3)
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Critical Thinking
  • Regularly evaluate the quality of construction materials and equipment by studying specifications, speaking with colleagues about their experiences, reading user reviews on supplier websites, and monitoring malfunctions and breakages. (2)
  • Evaluate the feasibility of completing projects within clients' proposed budgets and timeframes. Consider timelines, season, equipment and human resources availability, complexity of project, including unknown factors. (2)
  • Evaluate the quality of quotes using standard procedures. For example, review costing procedures used and compare prices and work details with specifications to ensure accuracy and overall consistency. In addition, use knowledge and expertise to interpret and assess more subtle information not implicit in the bid and make suggestions or modifications that will enhance the quality of the bid and the chances of winning. (3)
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