There are three main types of construction estimator jobs spread across different disciplines and training backgrounds. These different types are civil engineering estimator, electrical or mechanical estimator and building or structural estimator. The three different kinds of construction estimator jobs require different skill sets but do overlap in key areas of knowledge. Most construction estimators have the ability to operate in more than one category because of the similar nature of the processes involved.
A civil engineering estimator is primarily concerned with groundworks, concrete foundations, piling and drainage. Of the three different construction estimator jobs, the civil engineering estimator is required to operate across the widest range of operations. A civil engineering estimator is not required to work solely on building construction jobs but also on large structures such as bridges, road networks, reservoirs and dams. In addition, this type of estimator needs to have a good knowledge of the other two construction estimator jobs, because there very often is a need to dove-tail the three disciplines together, with the civil engineering estimator taking a leading role.
An electrical estimator works mainly in the building sector and is required to deal with domestic and commercial electrical installations. A mechanical estimator — often referred to as a mechanical and electrical estimator — possesses a similar skill set but has a role that differs from that of an electrical estimator through the expansion of this discipline into heavy machinery such as pumps, turbines and industrial electrical installations. This estimating job is different from the other two construction estimator jobs because it is a more specialized field and has the least amount of overlap into the other two disciplines.
A building or structural estimator is required to work throughout the domestic, commercial and industrial building sectors. A building estimator will work, in the majority of cases, on above-foundation housing and commercial unit construction works. Alternatively, a structural estimator might also be called upon to work on some heavy civil engineering projects, such as reservoirs and bridges.
The three types of construction estimator jobs are usually taken by specialized people who have studied civil, electrical or structural engineering. These people must have a strong background of engineering within the construction industry. In all of these construction estimator jobs, the individual will need to understand how a job will be constructed, how long it will take and what resources are required. Other construction estimator requirements are excellent financial skills and a thorough knowledge of construction contracts.