Construction Estimating Checklist

Construction projects are always costly. When planning a building project, the expense of materials and labor immediately come to mind. There are other costs to consider as well. Depending on the nature of your construction, it will pay to investigate and make a checklist of all the costs to be able to make a better estimate of the final bill, and to ensure you don't overlook some aspect of the project causing delays and possibly more expense.


A good checklist ensures all aspects of a construction project are considered.

A detailed set of blueprints or drawings is important. The better the plan and the more precise you are with listing the specifications of materials and equipment to be used in the project, the better your contractor or subcontractors can estimate what the charges will be. Good plans drawn up by architects or draftsmen aren't cheap. In the end, however, you'll get lower bids from your contractors and materials providers, and end up with a more satisfactory project.

Permits and Fees

Expect to need, obtain and pay for variety of permits as well as being required to pay other fees. You'll need to get some of the permits and pay some fees before the project starts. Others will be required just before or at the completion of certain stages of the project. Expect to schedule and pay for interim inspections as well as a final inspection. Some examples are building permits, well permits, driveway permits, electrical hook-up fees, sewer hook-up fees, electrical and plumbing inspections as well as others depending on the nature, scope and complexity of the project.


The cost of materials ranks as the major expense for most construction projects. Be as concise and specific as possible when compiling the list of materials. Many materials, such as concrete, are impossible to return to the retailer. Many times a materials retailer, whether it be for lumber, electrical supplies, plumbing parts or others will bid your project at a lower price than the normal retail prices. If you under order, expect to pay full retail for the extra boards, wires or pipes you need.


Labor will be the other major cost of your construction project. Some general contractors have employees capable of working on many sub-parts of a project. You may be better served, however, by hiring specialists. Investigate companies or individuals who only do drywall or only do roofs or only do other specific parts of the total project. Specialists can often do a specialty better, faster and for less expense than the general contractor's workers.

Other Details

There are always other details you will need to consider that individually, don't amount to much, but collectively, need to be considered. List as many of these as you can imagine. You will have to eventually make decisions ranging from disposing of construction rubbish to planning the landscaping to interior decor. The more of these you list, the better you will be able to plan and budget.

About the Author

Mike Schoonveld has been writing since 1989 with magazine credits including "Outdoor Life," "Fur-Fish-Game," "The Rotarian" and numerous regional publications. Schoonveld earned a Master Captain License from the Coast Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science in wildlife science from Purdue University.