Building Materials and Construction Estimation

Many new home owners preparing for the construction of a new home believe that when they buy a set of plans a materials list is included. The facts are that this is actually rare. Most architects, designers, and drafters do not supply these with their plans.

Which opens another profession called “Construction Estimation”. A construction estimator is a professional, not unlike an accountant, who is familiar with architectural drawings. With that knowledge they are able to calculate the different areas of the proposed homes or commercial structures from the completed building plans and then supply an accurate list of materials that will be used to construct a building.

The methods they use are like the following example:

Lets say we have a building where the back wall is fifty six feet. When we multiply this dimension by twelve inches which is how many inches we have in a foot, we find that we have six hundred and seventy two inches. Our two by four studs are sixteen inches apart, so we divide six hundred and seventy two inches by sixteen inches and we wind up with forty two studs.

The above example and similar formulas would be then used throughout the entire structure to find out how many floor joists, rafters or trusses, masonry block, sheetrock or wall paneling, roof and floor decking, etc., are needed.

Then each electrical and plumbing fixtures would be counted along with the wiring and their connectors and pipes for the plumbing and their connections. Wiring would be measured using the plan to calculate how far each receptacle, switch, and light are from each other giving just a bit extra to make sure there is enough for the job. The same method would be used for the pipe used in the plumbing construction.

Windows and doors would also be counted one by one along with any other special trims and fixtures.

Tim Davis is a fully trained architectural designer who has created a complete course entitled House Plan Drafting where you learn to draw complete house plans at

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I’m your host and webmaster. I’m someone who enjoys life to it’s fullest and love programming, drafting, farming, and an ordained Baptist pastor and sheriff’s department chaplain.

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