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Construction Estimator

Construction estimators analyze costs and prepare estimates for residential, industrial, and commercial construction projects.

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Construction Estimators (2234) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Construction Estimators (C134) 
  • 2011 NOC: Construction estimators (2234) 
  • 2016 NOC: Construction estimators (2234) 
  • 2021 NOC: Construction estimators (22303) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Construction Estimators

2006 NOC: 2234

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
METHODICAL

Interest in establishing and maintaining tendering processes, in setting up cost monitoring and reporting systems and procedures, and in preparing and maintaining directories of suppliers, contractors and subcontractors

INNOVATIVE

Interest in analyzing information to examine tenders and recommend tender awards, and to prepare economic feasibility studies on changes and adjustments to cost estimates

DIRECTIVE

Interest in negotiating contracts; and in managing and co-ordinating construction projects and preparing construction progress schedules

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Duties
Updated Apr 07, 2022

Construction estimators work on many types of projects. They might specialize in estimating costs for certain types of projects, such as commercial or institutional. Or they might focus on project components with specific scopes such as mechanical, electrical, or drywall work. Construction estimators prepare estimates throughout the life cycle of a project. Construction life-cycle phases include predevelopment, preconstruction, construction, and post-construction.

In the construction industry, estimators may perform some or all the following duties:

  • Visit construction sites beforehand to gather cost-related information such as work-site accessibility, site logistics, surface drainage, and availability of electrical, water, and other services
  • Visit construction sites during construction to gather cost-related information, monitor and report on progress, and certify payment-related milestones
  • Determine material, equipment, and labour requirements, sequence of operations and projected timelines, and prepare a quantity survey (often called a takeoff)
  • Determine costs for project staff, temporary facilities (trailers, portable toilets), site management, waste management, quality control, temporary heating, hoarding (perimeter fencing), and so on
  • Prepare cost summaries that include subcontracts, overhead, taxes, insurance, markup, and anything else that might affect project cost, including indirect or distributable (miscellaneous) costs
  • Prepare documents and agreements of subcontracts or trade contracts
  • Develop and maintain a directory of suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors
  • Prepare appropriate proposals (tenders or bids) for projects
  • Provide advice on tendering procedures and recommend responses to bids from subcontractors
  • Track actual costs during a project’s progress
  • Maintain a database of material and equipment costs and labour productivity information from completed projects for future reference
  • Analyze market conditions for cost or supply volatility, calculate reasonable allowances for how these might affect the project, and include this information in the estimate
  • Recommend solutions to cost and constructability issues to the owner or consultant
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, owners, contractors, and subcontractors
  • Prepare preliminary project schedules to help develop the estimate
  • Conduct conceptual estimating for budgeting purposes
  • Manage construction projects they have estimated
  • Negotiate prices with subcontractors and suppliers
  • Price and negotiate change orders (written orders to change parts of the contract without affecting other parts)
  • Prepare monthly cost or cash flow forecasts and chart progress

Depending on the procurement model or contract type, the estimator may provide input on design development and early project planning.

Working Conditions
Updated Apr 07, 2022
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Construction estimators work mostly in office environments. They sometimes visit construction sites and may travel to construction sites in remote locations. Most estimators work a standard 40-hour week. However, this may vary with changing market conditions and estimate deadlines.

Estimators work under pressure to meet deadlines, ensure their companies remain competitive, and secure profitable projects. They must be aware of safety requirements and regulations as they apply to estimating project costs and when they spend time onsite.

Traits & Skills
Updated Apr 07, 2022

Construction estimators need:

  • Initiative and competitive spirit
  • Communication skills
  • Time-management skills
  • Math skills
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • The ability to pay close attention to details
  • The ability to work well with others while under pressure
  • An understanding of construction scopes, systems, and economics

They should enjoy:

  • Taking a methodical approach to tasks such as establishing and maintaining tendering processes, setting up cost-monitoring and reporting systems, and maintaining directories of suppliers and contractors
  • Checking details and analyzing information
  • Negotiating contracts, monitoring progress, and coordinating projects

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Construction estimators

2016 NOC: 2234

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 90 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 28, 2021 and Nov 25, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Prepare estimates of labour and/or material costs
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Organized
Read and interpret blueprints, maps, drawings and specifications
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Prepare estimates for general expenses and overheads
Tasks: Prepare estimates of labour and/or material costs
Liaise, consult and communicate with engineers, architects, owners, contractors and subcontractors on changes and adjustments to cost estimates
Business Equipment and Computer Applications: MS Excel
Educational Requirements
Updated Apr 07, 2022
  • Minimum Education Varies

Construction estimators need a combination of related education and experience. For example, they must understand requirements for tender securities and know what questions to ask during the tendering process.

Employers generally prefer applicants who have a related journeyman certificate and a related engineering degree.

Instead of an engineering degree, an applicant may have a post-secondary diploma in construction technology or management, preferably with a specialization in economics.

The more education an applicant has, the fewer years of work experience they may need for an entry-level position.

Employers also may require applicants to have or be working toward voluntary certification.

  • Successfully completed the CEC test of professional experience (TPE) requirements, including CEC academic subjects, diaries, at least 2 years of approved industry experience, and specific mechanical or electrical requirements
  • Obtained equivalent professional qualifications as determined by CIQS
  • Been accepted to challenge either the direct final examination or the mature candidate examination for the Professional Quantity Surveyor (PQS) designation
  • Received the Canadian Construction Association’s Gold Seal Certificate in Estimator (GSC) designation
  • Successfully completed the PQS test of professional experience (TPE) requirements, including PQS academic subjects, diaries, at least 2 years of approved industry experience, plus a practical exam, a bylaws and ethics exam, and a professional interview
  • Qualified as a fellow (FRICS) or member (MRICS) of the globally recognized Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors (RICS), based in the UK

A candidate who qualifies as a PQS is automatically eligible to receive their Gold Seal Certification.

Individuals with both CEC and PQS designations are fully qualified estimators. The 2 key differences between the CEC and PQS designations include:

  • The CEC designation can serve as a steppingstone to the PQS.
  • The PQS designation signifies considerable additional knowledge in relevant laws and ethics.

Other associations within the construction industry in Canada and abroad award different designations.

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) awards a Gold Seal Certificate - Construction Estimator designation to qualified applicants. (This is different than the CIQS Gold Seal Certificate.) There are 2 ways to earn the CCA GSC:

  • Candidates with over 5 years of relevant experience may become Gold Seal Certified (GSC) by challenging the Gold Seal exam.
  • Candidates with less than 5 years of experience must first register as Gold Seal Interns. They then have up to 5 years to meet the requirements to earn their GSC designation.

AACE International is an internationally recognized certification body. It awards 3 levels of certification (technical, professional, and expertise) to qualified individuals in the cost and management industry.

Some organizations, including the CIQS, have reciprocity agreements with other organizations. These agreements recognize the equivalence between various voluntary paths toward certification.


To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Apr 07, 2022
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Some project owners require PQS and CEC certified professionals to complete project budgets, reviews, payment certifications, and other related work.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Apr 07, 2022

Construction estimators may work on a salaried or contract basis for:

  • Residential, industrial, or commercial construction companies
  • Electrical, mechanical, or other architectural or structural trade contractors or subcontractors
  • Engineering or architectural consulting firms
  • Cost-consulting firms
  • Project-management firms
  • Real estate and property developers
  • Large utility companies
  • Government organizations
  • Property insurance companies

Experienced estimators may move into management positions or start their own businesses. Construction estimating is a foundation skill required by all construction professionals. It can therefore lead to other career opportunities within the industry.

A skills shortage currently exists in construction. This translates to frequent job openings and competitive pay and benefits throughout the industry.

When the industry slows down, companies tend to keep estimators on to try to procure new work. As conditions improve, companies tend to hire estimators first so they are able to take advantage of new opportunities.

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2234: Construction estimators occupational group, 75.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2234: Construction estimators occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.8% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 78 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2019-2023 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Apr 07, 2022

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Construction estimators

2016 NOC: 2234
Average Wage
$43.24
Per Hour
Average Salary
$91,238.00
Per Year
Average Hours
40.6
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2234 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $20.00 $47.31 $34.71 $34.11
Overall $25.00 $62.94 $43.24 $43.96
Top $29.50 $91.78 $53.43 $52.88

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Construction
ALL INDUSTRIES
Retail Trade
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
31%
31%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
37%
37%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
6%
6%
Vacancy Rate
3%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Apr 07, 2022

AACE International website: web.aacei.org

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: tradesecrets.alberta.ca

Build Force Canada website: www.buildforce.ca

Calgary Construction Association website: cgyca.com

Canadian Construction Association’s Gold Seal Certification website: www.goldsealcertification.com

Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) website: ciqs.org

Edmonton Construction Association website: www.edmca.com

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2022. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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