That’s great. You must have dealt with multiple construction projects if you have enough experience in this field.

We both know that construction is itself a time-consuming and complex task. But what is the most tiring activity you experience even before starting construction?

Yes, you are right. It is construction materials estimation. Do you know that it can take more time than actual construction?

Well, you are not the single one. >50% of contractors experience failure due to poor implementations in estimation. The good news is that you will get out of this contractor’s pool after exploring this blog post.

Here, we will discover how to estimate materials for construction to become a master in this job.

Key Takeaways

Accurate materials estimation is essential before starting any construction.

You can consider one of the three methods to estimate materials: the Unit Pricing Method, the Square Foot Method, and the Rule of Two Method.

The detailed materials estimating process involves 5 steps, from SOW to finalization.

Always consider 5-15% to deal with waste management expenses.

Consider the cost-affecting factors to get 100% accurate estimates.

What is a Materials Estimate?

We must understand the detailed concept behind materials estimates before moving toward the primary topic of this blog.

Have you ever heard the term Quantity Takeoffs, Construction Takeoffs, or Materials Takeoffs in the construction industry? Actually, the terms have a direct connection with material estimates.

Takeoffs reflect the quantities of materials required for the particular construction. However, estimates are the numerical values or figures showing the budget requirements for the desired building materials.

Construction estimating service providers consider accurate measurements and quantification during this assessment.

Importance Of Calculating Materials Estimate

We have understood the concept behind the focused term of this page. But why is it essential to do this assessment before starting any construction project?

Actually, construction materials estimates give an idea about whether we can afford the targeted construction or not or if the project under examination is doable. Simply put, the estimates help us in the feasibility analysis of the construction project.

Besides, if the estimates pass the feasibility analysis, they further help during construction by eliminating the chances of budget and time overruns. In other words, material estimates keep the construction project on track and help contractors drive the project smoothly without fear of material shortages.

Unfortunately, the assessment needs valuable time because a lot of factors can damage the accuracy of the estimates and transform them into a useless, and, in fact, construction-damaging factor.

Factors to Consider When Calculating Construction Materials Estimates

Construction materials estimates can fluctuate due to the influence of many factors, having a direct impact on the materials’ pricing.

Project Dimensions

Small construction needs fewer materials, however, large ones require more. It is like the variable quantities of lumber required to construct cabinets of different sizes. The more your requirements are, the more the budget will be.

Furthermore, it is essential to enter exact values when measuring the dimensions of a particular construction project. Lesser can cause materials shortages and increased measurements can let you experience waste management expenses.

Required Materials Quantity

Just like the above point, more material requirements mean a higher project budget. The size or the scope of the construction project directly impacts this factor, which further increases or decreases the expenses of the materials and influences the estimates.

Materials Testing

Some construction materials are rarely available in the market, such as high quality or pure concrete. Contractors order and test these materials to check the quality and efficiency for the particular construction. The testing adds expense to the total materials estimate.

So, materials testing is also a cost-influencing factor for materials estimates.

Market Rates

Construction materials prices fluctuate regularly; the trend has become more common after COVID-19. Inflation is flying openly in the sky and leaving marks on the construction market, whether labor rates or materials prices.

Therefore, getting updated data for valuable construction materials estimates is essential for every contractor.

Location

Different locations show varying material rates. Suppliers ask for high rates where material, such as timber, is in high demand. However, supplier rates are also low in areas where the construction ratio is down.

Therefore, considering the process according to your location is essential when you estimate the construction material budget.

Different Types of Material Estimating Methods

Estimators mostly use the following methods to estimate the construction materials budget. Let’s explore them to decide which method will suit your project!

1. Unit Pricing Method

This method demands considering all the requirements and counting them in terms of unit prices. You can use the previous project as a sample if you already have done a similar task.

For Which Tasks You Can Consider This Method

Drywall

Flooring

Roofing

Painting

Components You Can Count Using This Method

Doors

Light bulbs

Door handles

Nails

Stovetop, etc.

Formula to Calculate Unit Price

Material Per Unit Price = Product count x Product unit price

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculate Per Unit Construction Material Cost

Identify the total material required for the job.

Calculate the budget required for the whole material.

Use formula:

Average material price/sq ft = Material cost / total square footage of the job

Pro Tip: You can repeat the process to identify labor expenses.

Labor cost = Labor / Square footage

2. Square Foot Method

The second method you can use to calculate the material cost is the square foot estimating method. You can use this method to create a bid in the shortest duration. It is applicable for:

Walls

Roofs

Floors

Formula to Find Square Feet

Total square feet of area Length x Width

Step-by-Step Guide to Calculate Per Square Foot Construction Material Cost

Consider an old sample with similar features, such as dimensions or scope.

Use the formula to get the final value:

Material per square feet cost = Total contract price / Square footage of the area

3. Rule of Two Method

The method does not involve two separate formulas for materials and labor costs. If you have one, you can consider the same value for the second factor. Simply put, the technique involves a 50/50 ratio of materials and labor.

For Example

If the new roofing project’s total expense is $60,000, $30,000 will be for materials and the second $30,000 will be for labor expenditures.

Process to Estimate Materials Estimate

Let’s start the primary topic of this blog post as we have learned all the things essential to understand and now can estimate materials cost-efficiently.

1. Understand Scope Of Work (SOW)

Scope of work is the work statement that gives the dimensions of the project and shows how much work will be required to complete the construction under consideration.

So, first define the SOW, considering the following factors:

Factor

Description

Project Overview

The purpose of construction

Needs of stakeholders

The final project’s imaginative picture

Expected Deliverables

Outputs of the construction project under consideration

Timeline & Schedules

Desires duration to complete the construction as per client requirements

Defined Terminologies

A clear idea of the construction project

Purpose of rules and regulations

Proper use of terms in targeted construction

Transparent and understandable wording

Tips to Properly Understand Project Scope

Integrate visualization technology

Don’t believe in guesses; only set realistic expectations

Collect signature precisely

2. Create a Detailed Material List

Once the work scope has cleared, shift your attention to the materials required for construction. Create a comprehensive list of all materials, whether needed in small quantities or excess. It will help you eliminate the chances of:

Reworks

Delays

Financial surprises

Budget overruns

You can create a proper list by knowing the exact use of materials. It is better to add the purpose of materials just after the material name.

What to Consider in Construction Materials

Concrete

Lumber

Rebar

Wall sheathing

Framing roofing

Glass

Stone

Plastic

Metals

Mud

Masonry

Aggregates

Pro Tip: Use the exact unit for each by getting expert assistance!

3. Calculate Quantities Of Construction Materials

Now, determine how much quantity you require for each material you note in the second step of the materials estimation process.

You can use any one of the following methods to perform this job.

Manual materials takeoffs

Digital materials takeoffs

The second option is more reliable as it eliminates the chances of:

Potential errors

Inaccuracy in estimates

Time overruns

Financial crises

Lower efficiency

Pro Tip:You can use material takeoff software to complete this job efficiently.

Units to Take Measurements

Unit

Description

Count

Number of individual materials you require for your construction project.

Length

Count the pieces of materials, such as lumber, after determining the area’s total length.

Weight

You might need to order materials using weight units. Get expert assistance to get an estimate for this purpose.

Area

Multiple lengths into width to get an idea of how much material you would require for the project, including painting, plaster, carpeting, and tiling.

Volume

It determines the cubic yards, cubic food, or cubic meters by multiplying length, width, and depth. It is used for sand and concrete.

4. Consider Wastage Ratio

Remember that your estimates can show the difference from the final results. It is called variation that occurs due to changes in the scope of the project and sometimes due to inaccurate measurements and takeoff assessments. Unfavorable weather conditions can also shake your materials’ estimate report.

But, our main concern is what we can do to deal with such circumstances. Here, the material wastage ratio jumps into the ring.

Consider a 5-15% margin during material estimation to cover waste. The percentage will help you keep your project budget on track, enabling you to tackle adverse situations wisely.

Pro Tip: Get accurate wastage value by getting assistance from construction estimators.

You can also consider the following table to accomplish this goal.

Wastage Limits For Different Construction Materials

Construction Materials

Wastage Ratio Limit

Structural Steel

10-15%

Wood

5%

Cement

2-3.5%

Bricks

2-3%

Sand

8-12%

Filling Soil

3-5%

Reinforcement steel

3.5-5%

Tiles

2%

Aggregate

5-8%

Granite

8-15%

Paint

2-3%

Stuttering Board

8-15%

Concrete

1-5%

Mortar

1-2%

5. Determine Materials Expenses & Finalize the Report

Now, calculate all material expenses individually. Then, sum up all the values to get the total budget required for construction materials. Finalize the report, run the quality test, and submit the documents.

Accuracy is Integral in Your Materials Estimates

Whatever the type of construction project you deal with, ensuring 100% precision and accuracy in materials estimates is essential. Accurate values lay the solid foundation for the following estimating benefits:

Timely project completion

Effective budget control

Enhanced customer satisfaction

Good profit margins

Increased bid-win chances

Construction business growth

Feeling overwhelmed with residential estimation? Let us simplify it for you.

How to Achieve 100% Accuracy in Construction Materials Estimates

Construction material estimation demands industry knowledge and expertise. You can only have these after investing many years in this field. But, you are a contractor or an engineer by profession. What should you do?

With his assistance, you can ensure that you get comprehensive reports without gaps, loops, and errors. So, contact professional estimators and start your construction material estimation today!

Final Words

Estimating the budget for construction materials is essential before making a purchase. It is mandatory to avoid financial crises during construction. But how can you calculate construction materials estimates?

Undoubtedly, it is complex, particularly for those who are already under an unbearable workload, such as contractors. Therefore, it is essential to consider some factors that can fluctuate the materials cost and method to estimate it before starting the calculation.

Once you explore these factors, your journey to calculate materials estimates will eliminate many hurdles. Start from SOW and finalize the report by adding all materials expenses. Remember to consider a 5-15% margin as a wastage ratio.

Ensure your values are 100% accurate. But, if you cannot do so due to lack of time or other reasons, hire estimators and expense the magic of their material estimating services!

Faqs:

How can I calculate the construction materials estimate?

You can calculate the construction materials estimate using the following steps:

Understand Scope Of Work (SOW)

Create a Detailed Material List

Calculate Quantities Of Construction Materials

Consider Wastage Ratio

Determine Materials Expenses & Finalize the Report

What is the formula for the cost of materials?

The formula for the cost of materials is:

= Market price per unit x Total number of units required

What is the formula for construction cost estimation?

The formula for construction cost estimation is given below:

= total fixed cost + (per unit materials cost x total number of units required)

What is the first step in preparing a materials estimate?

Understanding the scope of work (SOW) is the first step in preparing a material estimate. It involves the determination of the following factors:

Project Overview

Expected Deliverables

Timeline & Schedules

Specific Terminologies

Robert Tayolr

It is Robert Taylor, an experienced civil engineer by profession. I teach students studying in the engineering field and offer estimating services to contractors. In my spare time, I love to spend time exploring innovations and technologies in the construction sector. I am a good influencer too.