There are many many ways to estimate construction costs.  To select the method you need to

estimating construction costs

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understand your goal.  If you are trying to get a rough estimate for budgeting purposes then you can use a cost per square foot method or one of the online estimating construction costs calculators.  If you are determining the cost for your own remodeling project you will have to work closely with a contractor or architect to estimate the costs.  Finally if you are or want to be a building contractor then estimating construction costs is key to your business success – so you need to become very good at it.  Below are pros and cons of the different methods.

For a quick construction cost estimate the two easiest methods are dollars per square foot and using online cost calculators.  To calculate the cost using dollars per square foot you need to first determine the amount of area in different types of rooms.  Kitchens are the most expensive rooms to build, bathrooms are a close second.  The rest of a home for estimating purposes can be considered the same.  Next you have to decide on the cost per square foot to use.  In more expensive areas with high labor rates $150 square foot for normal living areas, $400 for bathrooms and $500 for kitchens will give you a reasonable estimate.  For lower labor cost areas you can subtract 40% from these costs.  If you have expensive tastes, or will do some of the work yourself will have a big impact on the total costs as will the final design.  The online calculators at use a different approach to calculating costs that involve taking all the variables: location, DIY, who designs the building, etc. into consideration to give a quick estimate.

When you hire a contractor or an architect they will provide an estimate of the cost to build if you request it, otherwise they will work for “time and materials”.  An estimate is only as good as the details that go into it so if you havent decided  on every single detail the estimate you recieve will be less accurate.

Finally if you are a contractor or interesting in becoming one having a good method to give quick ballpark estimates could be part of your marketing plan.  Some contractors choose to give estimates and some dont.  Again the online calculators at are a good tool for ballpark estimates.  For a fixed bid estimate there are many many different approaches to creating them and you need to find one that works for your business.  Estimating correctly is critical to your business success.