Types Of Cost Estimates You Need To Know

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By Barry Arthur | Mar 26, 2024

Having a clear estimate of the costs associated with any project you undertake is critical in ensuring its success. When you’re engaging in construction projects, understanding the potential risks and opportunities that come with different types of cost estimates can be beneficial to your bottom line.

Estimating247 take an in-depth look at the various types of cost estimates available and discuss how they each have aspects that are necessary for making informed decisions about your investment.

Estimated construction costs serve as the foundation for construction project budgets and bids. Owners rely on both rough and comprehensive estimates to decide whether projects are viable and how much funding is required to make their project a reality.

The accuracy of the budget for construction expenditures can be affected by how you estimate and manage your project, and that budget can disclose as early as possible if the task will offer a satisfactory result for the homeowner while turning a profit for you, the builder.

Depending on the quantity of information and data you have about the project, there are numerous techniques to build a cost estimator.

1. Preliminary Cost Estimate:

A preliminary cost estimate may also be referred to as an abstract cost estimate, an approximate cost estimate, or a budget estimate. This estimate is typically created in the early stages of a project to determine the estimated cost of the project. The appropriate sanctioning authority can decide the financial status and policies of the administration department based on this estimate.

Preliminary estimates are developed with a realistic reference to the cost of comparable type projects. The approximate cost of each key item of work is shown individually in this estimate to determine the necessity and utility of each piece of work. The costs of land, roads, electrification, water supply charges, and the cost of each construction are among the components of the work.

2. Plinth Area Cost Estimate:

A Plinth Area Cost Estimate is a more detailed estimation of the cost of a construction project and takes into account variables such as labor costs and material prices. This type of estimate is usually considered to be more accurate than a Preliminary Cost Estimate, as it considers more factors related to the actual costs associated with the project. It is especially useful for large-scale projects or those that involve multiple stages of construction, where there may be a need for further refinements to keep total expenditures within budget.

A Plinth Area Cost Estimate can also help identify potential cost overruns or missed opportunities early on in the planning process. By thoroughly analyzing each component of the proposed project before any contracts are signed or commitments made, this type of cost estimate can save time and money in the long run.

3. Control Cost Estimate:

Control Cost Estimate is accomplished during the execution phase when more data and greater certainty are available about the scope and requirements for completing a project. This estimate identifies potential areas that could increase or decrease total costs if changes are implemented. The purpose of this estimate is to provide an accurate picture of current costs so that management can make informed decisions about how to move forward with the project.

4. Approximate Quantity Method Cost Estimate:

The Approximate Quantity Method Cost Estimate is used to calculate the cost of a project by estimating the quantities of labor, materials, and other resources needed for completion. This type of estimate can be used early in the planning process when exact quantities are not yet known. It allows estimators to develop cost estimates quickly using average unit costs or production rates per unit of measure.

5. Detailed Cost Estimate:

The Detailed Cost Estimate takes all factors into account during the design and planning phase to accurately estimate the cost of completing a project. This includes labor costs, material costs, equipment costs, overhead expenses, taxes, insurance premiums, fees for permits and licenses, shipping charges, and other associated costs. The purpose of a detailed cost estimate is to provide the most accurate estimate possible so that management can make informed decisions about budget and resource allocation.

6. Bid Cost Estimate:

A bid estimate is a cost estimate presented to a potential client in the hopes of securing the job. It will include all of the contractor’s project costs, as well as any allocated overhead costs and profit margin.

It’s critical to include those two components in a bid cost estimate because the bid estimate is frequently used as the basis for the building contract. The bid estimate is based on the contractor’s breakdown of the building costs, plus profit, overhead, and contingency markups. Line items for markups and other expenses are often supported by digital takeoff software.

7. Supplementary Cost Estimate:

Supplementary cost estimates provide a detailed breakdown of the project’s overall cost to help contractors make informed decisions about their bids. Supplementary cost estimates are typically provided by an independent estimator after the conceptual estimate has been completed. They take into account material costs, labor costs, and other miscellaneous expenses such as taxes and overhead.

Detailed information such as drawings, plans, specifications, and any other relevant documents are used to create the supplementary cost estimate. This type of estimate is very useful for contractors when it comes to bidding on complex projects and can also be used in court proceedings for disputes over contract prices.

8. Annual Repair Cost Estimate:

The Annual Repair Cost Estimate evaluates any necessary repairs and maintenance that may arise during a year due to wear or other factors. This helps contractors plan out their budgets accordingly and ensure that all systems are working properly at optimal capacity throughout the life cycle of the building.

9. Cube Rate Cost Estimate:

Lastly, Cube Rate Cost Estimate is a method commonly used for quickly estimating large projects based on an estimated cost per cubic meter of material used. This allows contractors to quickly gauge the scope and budget for a project without having to consider all the minute details associated with the build-up front.

By incorporating each type of cost estimate into their plans, construction firms can ensure that they are staying on budget and properly accounting for any potential costs throughout the life cycle of a project.


Overall, contractors need to understand all the types of cost estimates available to adequately plan out a successful project from start to finish. Utilizing each type appropriately and being mindful of its limitations can help save time and money while still producing quality results that meet client expectations. With careful planning, construction firms can confidently deliver successful projects within budget constraints.

You Can Also Read:

What Is The Importance Of Cost Estimating In Construction?

What To Look For When Hiring Mechanical Estimating Services?

Why Do You Need A Construction Estimating Consultant?

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Author Details

Barry Arthur

Editor | Writer

Barry Arthur is the dedicated author and CEO of Estimating247.com, a website that specializes in providing comprehensive construction estimating services. With his deep-seated passion for the construction industry, Barry has leveraged his expertise to create a platform that offers accurate and timely estimates for construction projects. A relentless pursuit of excellence and innovation has marked Barry's journey in the construction industry. His vast experience and keen understanding of the industry's intricacies have enabled him to develop Estimating247.com into a trusted resource for contractors, developers, architects, and homeowners. As the CEO of Estimating247.com, Barry leads a team of professional estimators committed to delivering top-notch services. Together, they utilize advanced tools and methodologies to provide precise estimates that enable clients to manage their budgets effectively, reduce risk, and increase profitability. Under Barry's leadership, Estimating247.com has grown into a reputable name in the construction industry. His dedication to customer service, transparency, and the delivery of high-quality services has earned the trust and respect of clients across the board. In conclusion, Barry Arthur isn't just an author and CEO; he is a seasoned construction industry expert whose contributions continue to shape the landscape of construction estimating services. His work at Estimating247.com embodies his commitment to excellence and desire to positively impact the construction industry.

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