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Occupational Profile

Construction Estimator

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

  • Avg. Salary $91,825.00
  • Avg. Wage $44.03
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook Down
  • Employed 2,700
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Construction Co-ordinator

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

42%
42%
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Construction Estimator is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Construction Estimators
NOC code: 2234
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

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 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 More

Duties
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Construction estimators usually specialize in estimating costs for particular types of projects or components of projects. For example, they may specialize in institutional, commercial or industrial projects, or focus on costs associated with specific scopes of work (for example, civil engineering, mechanical, electrical or drywall work). Estimates form the foundation of business plans for projects.

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

  • visit construction sites and gather cost-related data about a project such as information about the accessibility of the work site, surface drainage or the availability of electricity, water and other services
  • determine material, equipment and labour requirements, sequence of operations and projected timelines, and prepare a quantity survey (often called a takeoff)
  • prepare cost summaries that include costs of subcontracts, overhead, taxes, insurance, markup and anything else that might affect the cost of a construction project including any indirect or distributable costs
  • prepare documents and agreements of sub-contracts or trade contracts 
  • develop and maintain a directory of suppliers, contractors and subcontractors
  • prepare appropriate types of tender (bid) proposals
  • provide advice on tendering procedures and make recommendations regarding tenders from subcontractors
  • track actual costs as a project progresses
  • maintain a database of material and equipment costs and labour productivity data from completed projects for future reference
  • make recommendations to owner or consultant on cost and constructability issues
  • consult with engineers, architects, owners, contractors and subcontractors as needed.

They also may:

  • prepare construction progress schedules
  • conduct conceptual estimating for budgeting purposes
  • manage construction projects
  • conduct negotiations with subcontractors and suppliers
  • verify subcontractor and supplier payments
  • price and negotiate change orders
  • prepare monthly cost or cashflow forecasts and chart progress.

In small companies, owners often perform the duties of construction estimators.

Working Conditions
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Construction estimators work primarily indoors in office environments and occasionally visit construction sites. Travel sometimes is required, particularly to construction sites in remote locations. Most estimators work a standard 40 hour week but overtime is common. 

Estimators work under pressure to meet deadlines and to ensure their companies do not lose too many bids or lose money on successful bids. They must observe safety precautions to avoid injury while visiting construciton sites.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Construction estimators need the following characteristics:

  • initiative and competitive spirit
  • good communication skills
  • numerical ability
  • analytical and problem solving skills
  • the ability to pay close attention to details
  • the ability to work well with others while under pressure.

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 and coordinating projects.
Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 19, 2016

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

Employers generally prefer to hire applicants who have a related journeyman certificate, post-secondary diploma in construction technology (preferably with a specialization in economics) or a related engineering degree. The more education an applicant has, the fewer years of work experience may be required for entry level positions. 

Employers also may require applicants for construction estimator positions to have or be working toward certification.

  • The Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS) awards the Construction Estimator Certified (CEC) designation to members who have completed 13 required courses, or equivalent education, and have two years of approved industry experience. The Professional Quantity Surveyor (PQS) designation requires successful completion of 25 courses, an internship and an ethics exam.
  • The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) awards a Gold Seal Certifcate - Construction Estimator designation to qualified applicants. Candidates who have 15 years of relevant Canadian experience may be certified by a senior practitioner. Those who have five years of experience and education/training credits may challenge an exam.
  • The Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACEI) awards an internationally-recognized certification for cost engineering and estimating. To learn more about certification requirements visit the AACEI website.

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Below-average occupational growth is expected in Alberta for 2016 to 2020. Job openings are a result of employment turnover and newly created positions.

Construction estimators may be employed by or work on a contract basis for:

  • residential, commercial or industrial construction companies
  • electrical, mechanical or other trade contractors or subcontractors
  • engineering or architectural consulting firms
  • real estate developers
  • large utility companies
  • large educational institutions
  • government organizations that own large properties
  • property insurance companies.

Experienced estimators may move into management positions or start their own businesses.

In Alberta, 82% of people employed as construction estimators work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Over 2,700 Albertans are employed in the Construction estimators occupational group. This group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 0.1% from 2016 to 2020. As a result, 3 new positions are forecast to be created each year, in addition to job openings created by employment turnover.

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

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 19, 2016

Construction estimators
NOC code: 2234

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $19.23 $65.77 $38.87 $35.00
Overall $26.83 $69.23 $44.03 $43.27
Top $28.85 $87.69 $53.48 $48.08

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.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES
Construction
Manufacturing
Retail Trade

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

42%
42%

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

33%
33%

Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

4%
4%

2015 Vacancy Rate

2%
Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Science
  • Natural Resources
    • Environmental Stewardship
  • Trades, Manufacturing and Transportation
    • Construction
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 Dec 19, 2016

Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training website: www.tradesecrets.gov.ab.ca

Association of Quantity Surveyors of Alberta (AQSA) website: www.aqsa.ca

Calgary Construction Association website: www.cca.cc

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

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

Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (AACEI) website: www.aacei.org 

Construction Sector Council website: www.csc-ca.org

Edmonton Construction Association website: www.edmca.com

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Jan 17, 2013. 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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