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Structural Steel Estimator

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Structural steel estimators are the quantity surveyors for fabrication shops who specialise in producing reliable estimates of the amounts and types of steel to be used on a project and what they will cost. They need to be able to prepare schedules of quantities from measurements taken from the drawings, plans and specifications produced by the structural design team. They must also check the availability of the steel to be used.

Once a contract has been awarded, the estimator often orders to the specifications all the steel components needed for the project. The estimator must keep tabs on the financial status of the job, compiling information on which progress payments are based. When there is a change of design, variations in payment claims must be calculated.

Structural steel estimators usually work for steel construction companies, costing out new jobs in hand and assisting the bid team in submitting tenders to win new work for the business. They are sometimes required to attend site meetings and be involved in project management. For this, a thorough understanding of commercial construction is essential. They may have several projects underway at the same time so they need to be accurate and organised in controlling the costs of each.

An estimator needs to be analytical and logical, to have an aptitude for working on computers with great attention to detail, to enjoy working with figures and to have strong communication skills.


Some examples of courses:

  • Diploma in Quantity Surveying
  • Diploma of Building and Construction
  • Bachelor of Construction Management
  • Bachelor of Urban Development (Quantity Surveying)

Entry requirements for all are Year 12, preferably with Maths.


Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors;

List of TAFE colleges:

University course information:



SA & NT:




The Structural Steel Estimator

“What do you need to make a good estimator?

Firstly you need to be a good communicator, be methodical and understand engineering drawings and construction methods. A trade background is a perfect lead in to this career.

The steel estimator evaluates from the ‘request for quotation’ documents provided, what it will cost the fabricator to make. Estimators therefore need knowledge of spreadsheets and Maths as well as the ability to read, understand and respond to contracts.

You interface with clients and so will need negotiating skills when there is a change in the contract and you need to be able to agree on a variation in the contract.

The estimator is link pin for the fabricator to ensure that business quoted is profitable and that any variations are picked up and effectively priced and quoted. For a person with an appreciation of building construction, a bent for analysis and attention to detail, steel estimating could be a fulfilling career path for you.”

Rex Munnerley

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