How to Estimate the Cost of a Commercial Construction Project

To gain a commercial construction project it is often important to demonstrate that you are adequately able to estimate the costs involved in the project. This usually requires putting together a detailed tender that shows exactly what needs to be spent and where. Estimating these costs can be quite difficult and a number of factors need to be considered before sending a quote or tender.

Labour Costs

Estimating the cost of labour can be tricky as it requires knowing how many people you need to complete the job and also requires estimations for parts of the work that may not be directly related to construction.

Having experience in the field helps, as it provides prior knowledge, as does having a regular staff of people that you trust to carry out the work.

One of the big issues is estimating the time the project will take, which plays directly into the amount of labour that will be required to complete it. Create a proposed timetable and be realistic about timescales. Try to be as efficient as possible but don’t skimp when it comes to allocating work. If a job would require two people don’t base cost estimates on one person finishing it. Also ensure that you leave some room for error in the estimate.


The cost of materials is also an extremely important factor to take into account. You will need to have a good idea of exactly what is needed to complete the project and where it can be sourced at a price that is satisfactory to all involved.

It is often best to include an architect or other professional at this point to let you know how much of each material that you need. Bear in mind that the cost of said professional will also need to be taken into account.

Having good sources for materials is also a benefit as it means that you can get solid quotes on your estimates. Having to source new suppliers can lead to issues relating to the quote that they provide, which in turn can lead to issues with the eventual estimate.

Use Cost Estimating Software

The industry has recognised how difficult it is to estimate the costs for a construction project and there are currently a number of cost estimating softwares available on the market.

Using one of these can provide you with a structure to base your overall quote around and will ensure you cover every possible base. Bear in mind that the software itself will involve an initial cost, though it isn’t advised to include this in the estimate if you are tendering for a contract.

Many of these programs will allow for a database to be kept relating to each important cost and will also allow for calculations that can incorporate your mark-up on any materials purchased in addition to other important calculations. With proper training such software can streamline the entire process and make it much easier to provide an accurate estimate for any work that needs to be undertaken.