Cost Estimator


Cost Estimator

Job Purpose:

Prepares general and/or discipline estimates for capital cost and/or services estimates. Develops basic conceptual estimates. Takes a lead role in estimate reviews and presentations. Provides and supports data and cost analysis. Uses, develops, and oversees the maintenance of estimating databases. If applicable, provides technical and operational supervision to assigned personnel. Executes simultaneous tasks within broadly defined parameters.

Essential Job Duties:

  • Maintains relationships with project personnel, particularly individual discipline group leaders and engineers
  • May have periodic contacts with Project Manager and project team members and may have continuing contacts with working‑ and supervisory‑level personnel of other departments
  • May have periodic contacts with clients and government agencies
  • Drafts estimate plans for small-scale projects (inclusive of estimate budget) through evaluation of scope, contract, desired estimate type/quality, and time/resources available
  • Conducts capital cost estimates, reviews design scope criteria and develops quantities for undefined scope assumptions in coordination with others, and prepares estimate basis and assumption documentation
  • Conducts services cost estimates, ensures proper allocation of payroll adds, creates cost models for fee calculations, performs analysis on functional input to staffing plan, and prepares estimate basis and assumption documentation
  • Supports complex/conducts basic conceptual/order of magnitude estimates, develops conceptual quantities to supplement partial lump sum and design build design documents when definition is not available, and contributes to basis and assumption documentation
  • Assesses and integrates commercial terms and conditions into estimates under supervision
  • Prepares cost studies, trend estimates, and life‑cycle cost estimates in specialized areas or in specialized discipline area, and may use modified templates and guides others in area of expertise
  • Reviews basic software‑generated estimates for completion and technical accuracy to ensure quality and integrity and applicable lessons learned are incorporated
  • Participates in establishing pricing structures to be applied to quantities for estimates, and establishes format and content of summaries and reconciliations, including segregation of cost according to level of confidence
  • Identifies risk items and assigns risk levels to portions of the project work and identifies measures to mitigate risk
  • Calculates contingency through manual calculations and/or Monte Carlo analysis
  • Performs and reviews escalation calculations for estimates of complex jobs
  • Takes a lead role in estimate reviews and presentations; interfaces with designated management personnel on specific sections of estimate presentations
  • Prepares cost trend estimates in support of project cost trend programs
  • Performs cash flow and working capital assessments; performs and reviews associated calculations and analysis; predicts/extrapolates cost curves based on experience of scheduled activities and cost correlation analysis
  • Obtains vendor information to update cost data file; assists in development of estimating databases, inclusive of input coding structure; and takes ownership of portions of the database
  • Generates and retrieves reports in the appropriate software application; understands and summarizes the data in the required presentation for management reviews.
  • Directs others in the use of estimating software applications based on estimate scope and data availability
  • Participates in developing and presenting designated subjects in training classes and provides on‑the‑job training for specific processes and practices
  • Performs cost and price analysis to establish price reasonableness; reviews or assists in reviewing cost/pricing provisions of proposals and develops supporting data for contract negotiations
  • Prepares cost studies utilizing historical data, statistical analysis, and cost and quantity comparisons; innovative and develops new techniques as required to meet specific needs
  • Converts work breakdown structure used in the estimate to project job and sub-job codes
  • Converts commodity-coding system used in the estimate to a system for a project


  • Knowledge equivalent to that obtained with a Bachelor’s degree in the field directly related to the work performed and 4-8 years applicable experience OR
  • 6 years of experience in applicable field without degree
  • Demonstrated intermediate to advanced understanding of Estimating core processes requiring minimal direction and supervision
  • Understands estimate types, classifications, and components, specifically detail level estimates and design packages; experience with Lump Sum Design Build and/or OOM estimates
  • Significant knowledge and experience in quantity takeoffs, statistical analysis, and cost and price analysis, life‑cycle analysis, and management of personnel
  • Skilled in understanding and implementing technical discipline processes, engineering drawings, quantity determinations, and mathematical and financial reports
  • Intermediate knowledge of the applicable company/client processes and systems; knowledge of administrative and supervisor practices
  • Advanced understanding of productivity, current market pricing in related areas and knowledge of construction practices in local work region
  • Advanced knowledge of construction methods and techniques in areas of specialization and a general understanding of other disciplines; familiar with engineering and construction codes and standards
  • Knowledge of the principles of life-cycle costing, cost in use, and operating costs, and ability to undertake a Net Present Value analysis
  • Thorough understanding of project cash flows and the corresponding time value of money as the cost of working capital
  • Thorough understanding of cost index and escalation projection sources
  • Understands and contributes to risk and contingency assessments
  • Proficient in Microsoft and scheduling software applications currently being used by customer/company (Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, Primavera, Microsoft Project); proficient in estimating applications used for discipline estimates and knowledgeable of at least one general estimating system (EPIC, BETK, HCSS, Candy, etc.
  • Skilled in oral and written communications, including presentation skills and ability to address a group of supervisors

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RSI is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minority/Female/Disability/Veteran