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
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.