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What Does a Mechanical Estimator Do?

A mechanical estimator calculates the projected costs of mechanical projects, such as HVAC systems or plumbing. They analyze blueprints, assess labor costs, and evaluate material needs to provide accurate estimates. How does this role impact the overall success of a construction project?
Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

A mechanical estimator is a professional who determines the overall cost of a mechanical project in an industrial or construction setting. This professional must have a working knowledge of the industry in which he or she works, as well as a solid understanding of rates for machinery, manpower, delivery, and other aspects that can affect the cost of a job. The mechanical estimator may work for a construction company or other industrial company, and he or she will draw up an estimation for a particular job, then submit that estimation as a bid for the project to the customer.

In some cases, the mechanical estimator may only be one part of an estimation team for a job. He or she will be responsible for determining costs associated with mechanical applications only, while another type of estimator may deal with other aspects of the job, such as construction costs, labor costs, delivery, and more. This is usually only the case for larger projects or for exceptionally complex construction or mechanical applications. A head estimator will be responsible for overseeing the work of the mechanical estimator as well as other estimators who may work on a particular project.

Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

The qualifications one must have in order to get a job as a mechanical estimator can vary. Some companies will require this professional to have a college degree in mechanical engineering or a related field, while in other cases, an entry-level worker can undergo job training to work his or her way up to the mechanical estimator position. The job will require moderate math skills, exceptional computer and communication skills, and a thorough knowledge of the industry in which the estimator operates. Even if the estimator earns a college degree relevant to the field, it is likely he or she will receive on the job training to ensure a thorough knowledge of the process. The job candidate may even undergo an apprenticeship, during which time he or she will work under the guidance and supervision of a senor estimator.

One of the more complex responsibilities of the mechanical estimator is problem solving: he or she will need to figure out how to complete a job effectively and safely at the lowest cost possible, or within the customer's budget and the company's profit goals. If the bid comes in too high, the estimator will need to figure out ways to lessen the cost without sacrificing safety or efficiency.

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