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Insights What does an estimator do, and what education do you need?

Look around you. One profession that has helped to shape the built environment you’re looking at is cost estimators. That’s because cost estimators play an important role in any built environment project in Canada. 

Cost estimators repair and price tenders, helping their companies obtain lucrative contracts. This is an excellent career option for anyone who wants to work in the built environment industry but who doesn't want to be a designer, project manager or site supervisor. 

If you have a keen eye for detail and want a flexible schedule and a strong sense of purpose in your career, cost estimation could be your ideal path.

Education required to be a cost estimator in Canada 

The Canadian Careers in Construction website outlines the skills and education required to be a cost estimator in Canada. Most people in the cost estimation field have worked their way up from a junior position, usually from an adjacent role. However, they all have one thing in common – they have a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, construction management, or construction science.

Once you complete your bachelor’s degree, you should focus on gaining relevant work experience in the field.

Some institutions in Canada have begun offering specific cost estimation certifications to be taken after a bachelor’s degree. For instance, BCIT recently launched a part-time certification in their School of Construction and the Environment. This is an excellent way to ensure you have the relevant qualifications you need before applying for cost estimator jobs.

Finally, you should look into getting certified as a construction engineer by the Canadian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (CIQS). They can provide you with the construction estimator certified (CEC) designation. 

Similarly, you can join the Canadian Construction Association (CCA). They offer a Gold Seal Certification (GSC) program that can help set you apart from other candidates. The CCA can also help you stay ahead of construction trends in 2023 and beyond

What do cost estimators do?

As a cost estimator, you’ll spend your days working with other highly skilled professionals, including architects, engineers, contractors, and landowners. Your role will include preparing estimates of material and labour costs for upcoming projects, preparing tenders and bids, examining potential projects, and weighing in on their cost-effectiveness.

At the level of senior cost estimator, you’ll set the standard in your company for cost monitoring, reporting systems, and other financial procedures. You’ll also help manage construction projects and determine progress schedules. Your skill and experience will set the tone and pace of the entire project, ultimately having a big hand in its success.

Why are cost estimators so crucial for engineering and construction projects?

Cost estimators are the backbone of any project. While it is almost impossible for their initial estimate to be completely accurate, their skilled assessment helps developers determine if a project is feasible and profitable. At every step of the way, their decisions and judgements guide the project and keep it on track.

Most importantly, cost estimators keep every party focused on the same end goal, ensuring the project is delivered on time and under budget. In the event of increased costs and overruns, the cost estimator holds the developer and construction company accountable. They are a wise and trusted member of any team.

Working with AtkinsRéalis

We have an excellent international reputation for providing engineering, procurement, and construction services. 

Working with us is an opportunity for junior estimators to work under skilled senior estimators and learn how to prepare comprehensive cost estimates for proposals and projects of all types. For senior estimators, there is plenty of room to grow and progress in the field and a chance to add a powerhouse global company to your resume. 

AtkinsRéalis is dedicated to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) across the entire company. In Canada, we place a priority on working with local First Nations communities to ensure their diverse workforce represents the local community. We also focus on making STEM degrees more accessible to minority students across the country. 

Do you see a future as an estimator with AtkinsRéalis? If you’re looking for cost estimator careers in Canada, there’s never been a better time to work with AtkinsRéalis. Start by browsing cost estimator jobs, and sign up to the talent community if you can’t find the job you’re looking for today. If you prefer to work in a French-speaking environment, you can also search for cost estimator jobs in Quebec.