Estimating Construction Costs

Construction estimating and pricing requires a great deal of skill and discipline. It also requires detailed plans and specifications, as well as, a lot of luck. New construction is usually easier to estimate than remodeling since there are fewer surprises to be uncovered when building a structure from scratch. Custom construction with special and unusual details is harder to estimate and price than construction with stock plans and standard details. But, with very few exceptions, it should be possible to develop good estimates and relatively accurate prices for almost all types of construction.

Even preliminary estimates require some good information about the proposed project. For example; Will the kitchen remodel require moving a wall? Are the cabinets medium priced prefabricated units? Will the floor be vinyl or ceramic tile? A change to any of these, and many other factors may add thousands of dollars to the project. And yet, it is possible to come up with a realistic budget if some basic assumptions are stated up front.

A good construction contract will require good drawings and many details in order to be accurate and complete.