Writing in the Journal of Light Construction, Bob Kovacs describes the “art” of estimating cost for a project. To decrease the initial learning curve on projects, Kovacs highlights some of the things one must consider when estimating cost: site access and logistics; room dimensions and shape; location within the house; whether the home is occupied or vacant; and finally, the age age and condition of the house.
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It’s been said that estimating is more of an “art” than a “science,” and I tend to agree. The “science” side of estimating is the quantity takeoff—counting the number of doors on the plan, measuring the linear footage of baseboard or the area of hardwood floor, or calculating the volume of concrete in the footings. The “art” side takes more thought and requires the person putting the estimate together to consider all the factors that will affect productivity, which will ultimately affect the cost of the work.