The cost estimating consultant industry was once a small group of experienced cost estimators who had extensive experience gained by working for large construction companies and learned the trade. Today with the broad reach of the internet there are many off shore companies using a US address and appearing to be a legitimate US cost consultant. Takeoffs are much easier than the old method of paper plans and scale tape. The use of digital takeoff software makes material takeoffs easy to learn and fast. The issue I see is that if you do not know the materials and did not work in the field then how do you know how to accurately measure the construction materials. This is especially true if your materials are all measured in metric measurements. Sure it can be taught or learned but the point is you get what you pay for. The basis of any estimate is an accurate material quantity takeoff and then the material and labor costs.
I am writing this article to raise awareness that these folks are not legitimate cost estimators and offer less than professional quality cost estimates due to the lack of knowledge of US measurements and the trade skill to estimate a project properly.
Please take time to qualify your takeoff and cost estimating company to ensure a quality product. Ask where they are located, ask for references, ask for certifications, and know whom you are using to trust for your cost estimating work. Ask questions and get to know your estimator and their background in the industry.
I have over 30 years in the construction industry most of which included some form of takeoffs and cost estimation. I have worked with construction companies and mechanical contractors to gain the experience and knowledge to estimate a project properly. The companies posing to be legitimate US companies lack the experience and knowledge to prepare proper cost estimates for USA construction projects.
I write this article as I have seen and heard many complaints of the cheap prices and haphazard cost estimates being produced and hurting our industry.