On-Demand Course

Now available for purchase.

Interested in registering 5 or more engineers for a course? Contact us for information and rates.


0.6 CEUs / 6 PDHs


Member $264 | Non-member $324


Nils J. Gransberg, Ph.D., AC, A.M.ASCE

Purpose and background

This course teaches the fundamentals of construction cost estimating, including the development of a work breakdown structure. Technical focus is on quantity takeoff (QTO) for typical civil/utility systems; including, but not limited to earthwork, trenching and piping, and pavements. Learners will develop fundamental skills enabling them to produce QTO’s for their projects that improve their understanding of cardinal quantities, means and methods, and improve the accuracy of engineer’s estimates produced for their clients. This course will take an estimated 6 hours to complete.

Benefits and learning outcomes

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Explain how to conduct a quantity takeoff for a heavy civil or utility project focused on construction means and methods used to conduct the work.
  • Identify necessary documents, tools, and techniques necessary to conduct an accurate QTO.
  • Calculate quantities for cardinal materials using construction plans and specifications.
  • Apply tools and techniques to conduct quantity takeoffs for linear‐based project scope and area‐based project scope.
  • Estimate linear, area, and volumetric units of materials in a heavy civil/utility project scope to develop and/or validate an engineer’s estimate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Achievement of the learning outcomes by attendees will be assessed through a short post-assessment (true-false, multiple choice, and fill in the blank questions) will also be administered.

Who should attend?

  • Entry-level civil engineers
  • Construction project owners
  • Design consultants
  • Construction contractors
  • Architects
  • Non-engineering construction professionals


The focus of this course is on entry‐level civil engineers and/or non‐engineers with civil engineering and construction adjacent jobs who participate in developing heavy‐civil/utility construction projects (architects, general contractors, owner’s representatives, construction administrators, etc.). Learners should have at least an introductory level of familiarity with civil engineering, heavy‐civil/utilities projects, and the ability to do basic mathematical calculations.

Course outline

Module 1: Introduction to cost estimating

  • Lesson 1.1 = Organizing for project management - this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 1.2 = Developing work breakdown structures - this video contains a short quiz
    • Learning exercise
  • Lesson 1.3 = Estimating fundamentals - this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 1.4 = Estimating forms and procedures
    • Learning exercise

Module 2: Risk-based estimating and print reading

  • Lesson 2.1 = Introduction to stochastic estimating - this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 2.2 = Using stochastic estimating tools - video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 2.3 = Print reading – plans and profiles
    • Learning exercise
  • Lesson 2.4 = Introduction to estimating earthwork and pavement quantities – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 2.5 = Introduction to estimating bridge and structure quantities
    • Learning exercise

Module 3 : Earthwork

  • Lesson 3.1 = Quantity surveying fundamentals - this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 3.2 = QTO – volumetric calculation procedures for earthwork
    • Learning exercise
  • Lesson 3.3 = Cost estimating – engineer’s estimate quantities - this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 3.4 = Cost estimating – excavation & haul (dump trucks)
  • Lesson 3.5 = Cost estimating – Excavation & haul (push load scrapers)
    • Learning exercise

Module 4 : Pavement and bridges

  • Lesson 4.1 = QTO – pavement quantity survey procedures - this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 4.2 = QTO – calculation procedures HMA and base courses
    • Learning exercise
  • Lesson 4.3 = QTO – calculation procedures for concrete pavements - this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 4.4 = QTO – calculation procedures for structures
    • Learning exercise

Module 5: Final exam