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Builders' Reliable Estimator and Contractors' Guide by Frederick T. Hodgson, 1917



Estimating the cost of a proposed building of any kind is not of a nature to attract the young workman, as it is a dull, dry, and methodical business and only the requirements of a sordid and money-making necessity compel the builder to wade through mazes of figures to attain the desired result.

If the writer had consulted his own pleasure and followed his inclinations he would not have written at all, or on a subject more congenial to his taste; but from long experience and observation and more or less practice, he has witnessed so much ignorance and inaptitude on the part of young men who have essayed to be builders and contractors that, with the advice of his publishers, he has undertaken to prepare this work on estimating, because it has been thought that a work of the kind may prove useful and of benefit to the young man who aspires to be a master builder or a contractor, and who may, if he chooses to go to the trouble, make himself fairly competent to arrive at the cost of any reasonable sized building.

It may as well be understood at the outset, however, that there is no royal road by which eminence as an estimator can be attained. No matter what system or method may be adopted, correctness can only be reached through an avenue of labor and sound judgment.

The best and most ingenious writers on the subject of estimating have never yet been able to discover or devise a method where the cost of a building may be "jumped at at first sight.


The system of cubing is, perhaps, the easiest of all methods, but is not a system the experienced builder would care to follow altogether, unless a large margin of profits and contingencies are provided for.

While it will be impossible for me to so prepare this work as to be as entertaining as a novel, I will, to the best of my abilities, make it as easy to understand by the every-day workman as it possibly can be.

Estimating is the most difficult task the builder has to deal with, and too much care cannot be taken, even if the quantities are supplied, if a correct tender is wanted. Many who tender make up their prices in a haphazard manner, often depending on trade catalogues, price lists or newspaper quotations for data, using their judgment, whether experienced or not, and without a full or even a fair knowledge of the scientific methods which underlie the proper formulating of a true estimate.

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