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101 Introduction to Construction Estimating

Class Syllabus 

Learning Objectives
Class Organization and Grading
Grading Policies
The Textbook


Introduction --- $490 for Members, $535 for Non-Members

Introduction to Construction Estimating is a self-paced class which is  the gateway to more complex and trade specific estimating courses. This on-line course is designed to help estimators polish their estimating skills and learn the basic skills that are absolutely required to produce successful construction estimates. Each class is 10 weeks long and on average a student can expect to spend 3-5 hours per week, per class, online.

You can hear an audio message from your instructor (MP3, 1 min 45 sec, 1.8 MB) by clicking on the link.


Learning objectives

Students who successfully complete Introduction to Construction Estimating will learn the basic principles of construction estimating. Topics to be studied include:

  • organization of the estimate,
  • types of estimates
  • elements of an estimate
  • quantity take off techniques
  • pricing techniques
  • adjusting the estimate for a variety of variable factors
  • estimating labor, materials and equipment
  • profit and overhead markups

 Upon completing this course the student will understand the different types of estimates and how to organize an estimating document.

This course will build a foundation of knowledge that the student will use while estimating virtually any individual trade or project type


Class Organization and Grading

Class Syllabus

  1. Introduction and Orientation. An orientation module to get you started in the course. This module gives you a chance to play with the course tools and features before the course actually begins.
  2. Why We Estimate. This module teaches the many different uses for construction estimates. You will learn that how an estimate is to be used affects estimating methods.

  3. Estimating Skills. There are certain skills and disciplines that all estimators need to develop. This module will discuss each of these skills and provide some guidance on how to develop them.

  4. Estimating Tools, including software, digitizers, guide books, references and other estimating tools.

  5. Different Types and Levels of the Estimate. You will learn how the amount of information available to you and the time you are allowed to prepare the estimate affects the quality and accuracy of your work.

  6. Organizing the Estimate and the Masterformat. How you organize your estimate is almost as important as how carefully you prepare your quantity take off. We will learn about the Masterformat and common organizing methods.

  7. Estimating Materials, quantity take-off procedures, waste factors, and pricing methods are dealt with in this module.

  8. Estimating the Cost and Quantity of Labor. This is the longest module. Have your calculator ready!  We will learn about using and developing production rates and how to adjust your estimate for a wide variety of factors that affect production rates.

  9. Estimating Equipment. Quantity take off procedures, pricing, and estimating techniques will be covered along with equipment production rates.  Learn how to chose the correct equipment for the job.

  10. Estimating Overhead and Profit Markups. How, when and why to add contingencies. Adjusting the estimate for risk, inflation, and geographic location will be covered.

  11. Estimating Errors.  Learn about common errors estimators make and how to avoid making them.

  12. Determining and Using Unit Prices. How to use unit prices effectively. The crew method, what it is and how to use it.  Using unit prices for conceptual estimating and for detailed estimating will be covered.



Point Value By End of Week
1.   Orientation 4 1
2.   Estimating Skills 10 1
3.   Estimating Tools 15 2
4.   Reasons for Estimating 10 3
5.   Levels of the Estimate 16 3
6.   Organizing the Estimate 24 4
7.   Estimating Materials 30 5
8.   Estimating Labor 30 6
9.   Equipment Costs 28 7
10. Markups 10 8
11. Avoiding Errors 13 9
12. Using Unit Prices 15 10
Total Points



It is important that the student keep up with the class and not fall behind.   The class must be completed within 10 weeks of the first log on. On average a student will spend 3-5 hours per week per class.


Grading Policies

You will have full access to your grade sheet so you will be able to keep track of how you are doing at all times.

Your overall grade in the course will be determined by the total number of points you have accumulated on quizzes and assignments.   The grading scale is as follows:

  • A  200 to 180 points

  • B  179 to 160 points

  • C  159 to 140 points

  • D  139 to 120

  • Anything less will be considered an unauthorized withdrawal from the course or F (failure).

You will be given more information about the grading and other course matters in the Orientation Module.


The Textbook- (included with purchase of class)

Detailed textbook information can be found at


WITHDRAWAL POLICY: You may withdraw from a course by sending an email to  Non-attendance or notifying the instructor does not constitute officially dropping or withdrawing from a course. Students who stop attending courses without officially dropping will receive a grade of U (unauthorized withdrawal) in the class. Refunds are not automatic. NO refunds are due unless the course is officially dropped within stated guidelines in the refund schedule. Please type your name in the text box agreeing to the withdrawal policy.

Refund Schedule:
a. Withdrawal postmarked at least one working day before the first day of class – total fee less a $20 handling fee.
b. Refund requests postmarked on or after the first day and no later than two weeks after the first day of class will be refunded 65% of the fee, after which time there is no refund.



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