When you’re ready to look for the appropriate general contractor to handle your construction project, getting the best price is always a priority. At DESCCO Design & Construction, we know that no two construction projects are exactly the same. For example, every construction project’s contract has to be tailored to meet all the financial needs of clients and contractors to ensure a job well done that is completed on time and within budget.
It’s important to note that a variety of factors contribute to pricing a given project, including the type of design, budgetary constraints, predicted risks, scheduling details, and project-specific challenges. When it comes to overall cost estimating, it’s best to trust a contracting company with the expertise needed to calculate approximate quantities and values for the scope of work that optimally supports your construction project. This is where an experienced Chief Estimator like our own Michael Sacco can help guide clients toward ensuring they get the best price for their construction needs.
What is a Chief Estimator?
In general, a Chief Estimator’s role for a given construction project focuses on establishing a thorough understanding of the plans, documents, and all existing site conditions. An estimator also pieces together a project from start to finish and makes sure all involved parties are on point, including themselves. They’re in constant communication with suppliers, subcontractors, architects, engineers, and customers so that they can help find discrepancies and catch any skill gaps or lack of awareness between the trades required for any project.
To help our new and current clients better understand how cost estimates work, we recently had the opportunity to ask Michael a few questions about his role and the estimating process in general. Based on his experience, we think the information below can help clients better prepare for what’s needed to get accurate estimates toward securing the best price for their construction project.
What Is the Estimating Process and How Does it Work?
The general estimating process for construction work is proprietary to a given company and comprises various calculated procedures. More specifically, the type of project will determine the approaches a company and client should take, but all projects will need effective communication with suppliers, subcontractors, architects, engineers, and customers. When working with a company like DESCCO Design & Construction, clients benefit from our efficient design-build process, which ensures working with one single entity that has the responsibility for every project step to prevent miscommunication, including for pre-construction steps like estimation, surveying, and more.
For accurate cost estimates, a good understanding of the plans and specifications throughout the process is key in those communications. For example, planning site visits to understand the state of the existing conditions helps to find discrepancies during the bidding process. This lowers the risk and helps to prevent disagreements after the project has started.
Michael Sacco also noted that reviewing local laws and tax requirements is necessary for all projects and varies depending on whether they are private or public. Ultimately, the goal is to have a fully inclusive project proposal that is accurate to the provided documents and covers any gaps in understanding that may be present. Every project is unique, and your approach will vary depending on the circumstances.
Getting the Best Price for a Construction Project
For a customer to get the best price on a project, being open and flexible to new possibilities is crucial. It’s essentially important that clients be willing to explore multiple options. For example, to reduce costs a client might accept a similar type of product for completing part of the overall project that maintains the same specifications as what was originally picked, but is made by a different, less expensive brand. Typically, there are several comparable products and brands that would save a great deal of money.
A general contractor may suggest other materials, finishes or suppliers that would provide cost-effective options for potential clients. Expert contractors, like DESCCO Design & Construction, in collaboration with Architects and Engineers, can often find alternative solutions that will be satisfactory and affordable to the client without sacrificing quality, structural design, or code compliance.
It’s also important to be aware of and budget for factors that may change after an initial project cost estimate. Below is a list of factors with costs that can change and impact a customer’s initial estimate.
- Lead times on specified finishes and equipment
- Pricing increases and availability of supplies due to economic conditions
- A customer’s willingness to accept an equal product compared to what is specified
- Unforeseen conditions uncovered in the field that are discovered during construction
- Requirements by the AHJ (Authority having Jurisdiction) or city representatives
- Engineering flaws that need correction
- Changes to a project’s goals that a customer makes during construction
What Should a Potential Client Prepare to Get the Most Accurate Estimate?
Securing the right information for a given construction project is essential to predicting accurate costs. Luckily, there are a few critical questions that can help clarify cost-related details, like a project’s budget, permits, and timeframe. Below are some of the most questions that a potential client can answer to help determine how much a construction project will cost.
- What is the project budget and/or how much money are you approved by a bank or other financing to utilize for your project?
- What is the timeframe the project must be started and completed within?
- Do you have engineered plans ready to submit for a permit?
- Have critical items such as finishes and equipment been selected?
- Are additional funds available for unforeseen issues found either during the estimating process or during construction?
At DESCCO Design & Construction, we work closely with every client to ensure each detail of a project is understood and accounted for. We’re proud to provide comprehensive cost estimates that factor in everything needed to ensure quality and timely work toward completing the construction project of your dreams. If you need an experienced commercial general contractor, contact DESCCO Design and Construction so we can help you get started today!