Types of estimates and their specific uses

Ranjit Kumar Das
By Ranjit Kumar Das 1k Views Add a Comment
Types of estimates and their specific uses

Estimation and costing are vital aspects of civil engineering that lay the foundation for successful project planning and execution. To achieve accurate cost evaluations at various stages of a project, civil engineers use different types of estimates. This blog will explore the various types of estimates used in civil engineering and their significance in ensuring efficient resource allocation and budget management.

Preliminary or Rough Estimate

The preliminary estimate, also known as the rough estimate, is the first step in the estimation process. It involves a quick assessment of the project’s cost based on limited information. The primary purpose of this estimate is to provide a rough idea of the project’s feasibility, helping stakeholders decide whether to proceed with detailed planning or not. It is useful for obtaining initial funding and approvals for the project.

Detailed Estimate

The detailed estimate is a comprehensive and accurate calculation of the project’s cost. It is prepared after the preliminary stage and involves a thorough analysis of all project components, such as materials, labor, equipment, and indirect costs. This type of estimate is essential for precise budgeting, resource allocation, and obtaining project approvals and funding. It serves as the foundation for effective project management.

Engineer’s Estimate

The engineer’s estimate plays a crucial role during the tendering and bidding process. Prepared by a qualified civil engineer, this estimate serves as the basis for fair and transparent procurement. Contractors submit their bids based on the engineer’s estimate, enabling the project owner to evaluate and select the most suitable contractor for the job. It ensures a competitive and efficient selection process.

Project Bid Estimate

The project bid estimate is submitted by contractors who are vying for the project. It provides a detailed breakdown of the proposed costs, including profit margins and contingency provisions. This estimate allows the project owner to compare and evaluate the bids received, ensuring a cost-effective and efficient contractor selection.

Approximate Quantity Estimate

The approximate quantity estimate is employed when detailed data is scarce or time is limited. This types of estimates provides a rough estimation of costs based on approximated quantities derived from past experiences or similar projects. This type of estimate helps in making quick decisions during the early stages of the project when detailed information is not yet available.

Plinth Area Estimate

The plinth area estimate is specific to building projects and is based on the total built-up area at the plinth level. It aids in the initial cost evaluation and is particularly useful for residential and commercial constructions. This estimate provides an early understanding of the building’s cost based on its area.

Cubic Content Estimate

The cubic content estimate is designed to calculate the cost of buildings based on their volume or cubic content. It takes into account the entire volume enclosed by the walls and is applicable to complex or irregularly shaped structures. This estimate is suitable for unique architectural designs that require volume-based calculations.


In conclusion, the various types of estimates in civil engineering play essential roles in different stages of a project’s lifecycle. From providing a rough idea of feasibility to precise budgeting and contractor selection, each type of estimate contributes to efficient resource allocation and cost management. By utilizing these estimates appropriately, civil engineers can ensure successful project execution and deliver high-quality results that meet stakeholder expectations.

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