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  • Writer's pictureTristan Wilson

5 Tips on the Art and Science of Highway Cost Estimating

Highway construction projects require a lot of resources, including time, equipment, and materials. To ensure that these projects are completed within budget, it is essential to have accurate cost estimates. However, creating an accurate cost estimate for a highway project is not an easy task. Here are 5 tips on how to estimate costs for highway bids:

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1. Understand the Project Scope and Specifications

Before creating a cost estimate, it's essential to have a clear understanding of the project scope and specifications. This includes understanding the project's size, materials needed, and the time required to complete it. You will also need to review any drawings and specifications provided by the owner to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of the project requirements.

2. Create a Detailed Takeoff

A detailed takeoff is crucial to creating an accurate cost estimate. This involves breaking down the project into smaller components and quantifying each of them. This includes quantities of materials, labor, equipment, and other resources required to complete the project. It's essential to be as thorough as possible during this process to ensure that nothing is missed. Most work is unit price and unit price work without takeoffs is a recipe for disaster.

3. Analyze Market Conditions

Market conditions play a significant role in determining the cost of a highway project. Factors like supply and demand, labor costs, and the cost of materials can all affect the final cost of the project. By analyzing market conditions, you can get a better understanding of how these factors will impact your cost estimate.

4. Consider the Type of Bidding

There are different types of bidding for highway projects, including lump-sum, unit-price, and fixed-price. The type of bidding can have a significant impact on the cost estimate. It's essential to review the bidding requirements carefully to ensure that you are providing an accurate cost estimate for the type of bidding being used.

5. Incorporate Contingencies

Finally, it's essential to incorporate contingencies into your cost estimate. These are additional costs that may arise during the project, such as unexpected labor costs, changes in the project scope, or unforeseen circumstances like weather events. It's essential to incorporate a sufficient contingency into your cost estimate to ensure that you have adequate resources to handle these situations. Liquidated damages are a consideration for jobs with tight schedules.

In conclusion, creating an accurate cost estimate for a highway project requires a deep understanding of the project scope and specifications, market conditions, and the type of bidding being used. By following these tips, you can create a comprehensive and accurate cost estimate that will help you win bids and successfully complete highway construction projects.

At Edgevanta, our proprietary SaaS platform enables highway contractors to track and forecast critical market dynamics, helping them win more projects and increase profitability. Thank you for reading our post this week.


Tristan Wilson

Co-Founder and CEO

Edgevanta, LLC


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