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Free Construction Estimate

A construction cost estimate is the basis for setting a price tag for a construction project when a contractor presents a bid in an attempt to win a contract. Construction cost estimating can be an in-depth, complex process as it requires a complete overview of all costs related to a project. Getting a free construction estimate can help a contractor save a great deal of money.

A construction cost estimator is an estimator or accountant assigned by a general contractor to a specific project. No two estimates are the same, as requirements differ from one project to another. A free construction estimate may be done by these employees, an outside company trying to win business or a computer software company interested in having their product purchased by the contractor.

During the traditional bid process, a construction cost estimator covers the amount it would cost a general contractor to build a project, pay its employees and make a small percentage of profit. The free construction estimate covers the cost of items like concrete for the foundation, cables for electrical wiring, flooring, plumbing, carpentry and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). In this case, the construction cost estimator does not cover the cost of building or project design, as an architect has been hired by the property owner through a separate contract process.

In the design-build process, the free construction estimate is more involved. In this process, an architect and general contractor combine as a team and present a building or project design and construction contractor services in one proposal. The design-build process is used by those who believe an architect-contactor team with a past history of working together would be more efficient and, as a result, cheaper than an architect and contractor working together for the first time.

A free construction estimate as part of a construction manager at-risk (CM at-risk) project falls in between the two. The architect is hired separately from the general contractor, but the contractor is involved in the project from the pre-construction process all the way through completion. The estimate comes in the form of a guaranteed maximum price, which covers all services rendered from pre-construction through the building process.

The work of a free construction estimate is now largely done by computer programs, which are able to complete the process more quickly and efficiently than a human estimator operating alone. There are a number of programs that can break down cost estimates into subsections, as well as delivering the overall total price.

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