The Ultimate Guide to Concrete Estimation: Everything you need to know

July 27, 2023

For your next concrete takeoff job, free to check out this ultimate guide that has all answers of your questions.

Concrete annual production is 4.1 billion metric tons and cement is believed to be a big deal when it comes to building structures and laying foundations. This material has the highest compressive strength and most appropriate for bearing heavy loads throughout the structure.

Performing an accurate concrete estimate brings your project in a profitable state. Over-estimating or under-estimating the concrete quantities might end up losing the bid. Inaccurate takeoffs lead to wasted materials, lots of delays and other issues. You can check out the guide that explains comprehensively how to create a concrete takeoff:

The Complete Guide to Commercial Concrete Cost Estimation - Estimate  Florida Consulting

Major areas where concrete is used

Column footing, exterior and interior columns, exterior and interior beams, foundation walls, building slabs, wall footing, stairs, metal pan slabs, exterior sidewalks, exterior paving, gutter and strait curbs. So far, this is the basic list and you must keep in mind these areas when performing a concrete estimation.

Step 1- Calculate the cost of materials

The first step is to calculate the cost of materials and here you need to adopt a wise and methodical approach. Furthermore, properly determine quantities and measurements. The list mentioned above will help you which concrete areas to include and which one to omit. Review the plans again and again; take notes of every square foot of reinforcing mesh and every piece of rebar

You must correctly determine how much concrete is needed and also of what type! Use the same basic formulation when estimating the cost of wall footings, column footings, slabs and foundations.

First of all, measure off the area and then calculate the concrete volume which you actually need. You must add 10% more in the total volume for waste and spillage.

Remember that you need equipment too for performing this job. Apart from estimating the cost of basic materials, include the cost of standard equipment as well.

For example, you might need mixers, floats, shovels, digging bars, polishers, compacters, screeds, groove cutters, rubber boots and gloves, saws, levels, brooms, wheelbarrows and vapor retarders.

Step 2- Calculate the cost of labor

Estimating labor will give you an idea how much time is needed to complete the project and how much the labor workforce will cost! When calculating this cost, the primary thing to consider is shift differentials cost; difference in the union and non-union wages and overtime rates- all these factors impact the labor cost.

In addition, base your figures on the fact that how many squares feet of work can be easily done by a single worker. It is assumed that an average worker can complete 300 to 350 square feet of concrete-related work in a day.

The associated costs which you must also consider are:

  • The cost to shift mixed concrete to the desired location.
  • The cost to mix concrete into the mixer.
  • The cost of using compaction vibrators.
  • The cost to cut steel.
  • The cost of framework for slabs, columns and beams.

Step 3- Calculate the cost of overhead

Adding in overhead costs while performing concrete estimation remains a must! These costs are not at all related to labor, production and direct materials. In fact, these are overhead expenses like salary of the bookkeeper or secretary or any person that performs at the backend of your business. Besides, the larger expenses are truck lease or any work vehicle cost.

Step 4- Calculate the profitability

Once you are done preparing estimates, calculating profitability is the last step that you have to perform.

Upon calculating profitability, you can know how much you can make from the respective project. The overall margin can lie somewhere between 2 and 10%.

When writing the final and official takeoff, do not include sections like profit and overhead. Instead fold these costs into the section of labor cost.

More tips to keep in mind

There are some other considerations which might help you a lot when performing concrete takeoff:

  • Start with small projects if it is your first-time preparing construction takeoffs.
  • Look beforehand what type of concrete you need. Some slabs need 3000 PSI and some need 5000 PSI.
  • Determine whether the project requires colorful concrete or reinforcing fibers, do materials need special handling or you need additional labor to get the task done. All in all, take a very closer look at these issues.
  • Once you have completed the takeoff, review your calculations two times or you can request an expert to check them.
  • Take out enough time to walk through every single plan physically, mentally and financially to check if you have missed out anything.

You can share with us if you have ever done concrete cost estimation, what results you got, how your experience was and what was the success rate! Stay tuned with us.



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