How To Estimate Building Material for House Construction

To start a construction project, the first thing that most people begin with is budgeting. No one wants to start the project and then have to face challenges because they don’t have enough money to complete the project. So, if we start from basic cost estimation is very important, when estimating a construction project, estimating the price is not just estimating the material price, this also includes the labor price, raw material price and other things that you will be required to add in order to make sure your project runs smoothly.

If we see what are the steps that can help us, we need to start with the listing of the material and then move to the details later.


house constructionTips to Estimate Building Material Costs

Base Step

Start with calculating the concrete because when it comes to construction; it starts from the ground up. You can further multiply length and width and height so you can get a better hold of number, by the end you can divide by 27 and you will have the concrete estimation in cubic yards.

Go for Lumber

Lumber for wall framing is very important and for this, you need to foresee the length, so you can concert the length of the wall into inches. For them, you obviously have to multiply it with 12 and then divide it with 16 and you will get you the length in includes. With the help of this easy calculation, you will get a number of 2 by 4 that you will require for one wall.

Wall sheathing

It is a vital part as without wall sheathing you can’t have a good finish so for this you have to multiply lengths of the wall with height and this will give you square feet for surface area. Usually plywood, drywall or sheetrock is used for sheathing. You need to see that they come in the form of 4 by 8-floor sheet and for just one of the sheets you need to divide square feet of the wall.

Framing estimation

Framing estimation along with roof decking is an important phase and must be very accurate. You need to measure the lengths of joists as well as other framing members required for the roofing structure. To calculate this into inches you will be required to divide it by 32 and you will have a square foot of one sheet of plywood. So, you can see how many plywood sheets you will need.

Roofing calculation

For roofing material calculation, you need to know that three shingle bundles will be equal to one square of shingles and this is equal to 100 square feet. For calculating how much you need for a roof, you will be dividing it by 100. You will then have an estimate of the material in squares and you can multiple by three to see how many bundles will be needed.

With the basic rule of calculations out of the way, now you can see how you can actually start by estimating the overall building material for the construction purpose. It is very important to keep in mind that you are not a professional so this might not be as accurate as you will get from a professional company.

To make it easy, here are a few tips for the beginners to help you with the estimation process.

Details are key

When we talk about overall estimation, we don’t want to set our radar low, which means if you estimate your budget to be less, this will impact the overall price range and eventually the progress of your budget. Make sure you have all the components in mind, you know about material required and also people who will be ended for the job. Labor cost, material cost, raw material cost along with designer and architect cost will be added for a better overview.

Unit cost estimation

The most reliable method will be unit cost estimation, this might not be the most accurate but it is defiantly the easiest and most sued so far. This simply means that for estimation, the person can start with a single unit cost and then multiply it with the area which will give you an overall cost and you don’t have to worry about the accuracy anymore. This means if it estimates too much you can reduce the most and see where you can adjust accordingly.

Get a checklist

Just like a checklist makes grocery shopping easy, it will make your estimation process even easier and organized. Most people forget things while completing the estimation process, this includes permits, hardscaping, or landscaping. If we use a proper checklist, we need to take important steps, this will help in completing the estimation process formally with a professional approach.

Eyes on labor cost

Most people are not aware of the overall labor cost, they either take this for granted or think that labor cost can be adjusted. It is very important to know that the hourly labor rate differs from one place to another according to the law. So, when we talk about labor costs, it is our responsibility to have a proper and organized way of determining the proper cost according to how many workers will be required and for how long they will be required for various projects. You might have to hire different kinds of labor for a paint job, tile fixation, mason work, construction, etc.

Risk and cost factor

There is no way you can clearly name things or get an accurate price range, this means that you need to go for an overall rate. Usually, when you get professional help, they provide an estimation along with clearly mentioning that this might go up or down according to the fluctuation in the market. Also, few times you might have to face mishaps, sometimes you might get things that are outdated or faulty, with all these things in mind thinking of a clear and accurate price estimation for any construction project seems like a farfetched idea.

Material price fluctuation and market condition

Material pricing means the price of bricks, cement, sand, clay, concrete, tiles, or everything that you might need for the overall construction process. Usually according to the market condition, the overall price of the raw material changes which is the reason it affects the estimation process too. Before you start the estimation process, it is very important to start by asking a few questions and get detailed research.

  • What product or the raw material is in high demand right now?
  • Will you be requiring anything to be delivered to your doorstep, if yes how much will it cost with the added delivery charges?
  • Is there anyway market might run out of some product or do you require any material faster than the normal manufacture?
  • Is there a seasonal limit to the logistics and adjustment which means will you be requiring anything within a specific season?

If you feel there will be a few delays, try to find a solution right away rather than waiting for the last minute. If the delay happened, you might be required to stop the construction project in the middle which can be very challenging for you because you will be exhausting your budget and you never know what material might get ruined in the process.

Project support and operations

Being an owner of a project, there are few things that you have to take very seriously, this includes cost issues with material cost, raw material as well as direct labor cost. Of course, you don’t want to underestimate the cost or you will see major issues regarding the smooth flow of work that you are expecting.

For this reason, you have to make sure you keep a few supporting costs in mind, these costs have been listed as following

  • Cost of overall legal services
  • Staffing cost which includes the labor cost too
  • Delivery charges or shipping cost if required
  • Land acquisition cost for the project
  • Project administration cost and project operation cost
  • Storage cost for the material
  • Utility cost for the project
  • Architectural help cost along with engineering services

All these costs are very important to estimate because they are an additional cost and usually they are not added. Most people just go for raw material cost along with labor cost and call it estimation which is the main reason they don’t have an accurate cost.

All these tips will help you with the estimation process, however, relying on them fully is not good for the overall project. It is very important to keep in mind that the estimation process or takeoff process is lengthy and time-consuming. Moreover, you will be required to have specific skills with annual estimation, software, automation, and proper education. This is the reason it is preferred to take help from an estimation service company like QTO Estimating. The main reason is that they have specific protocols that they follow. These companies start with manual estimation and then move to estimation with the help of software. Once they are done, then they compare both estimations to come up with the upper and low limits to make sure that the project owner is aware of the budget limit and the project runs smoothly without any possible delay.

John Smith