On-Demand Course

Now available for purchase.

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


0.5 CEUs / 5 PDHs


Member $220 | Non-member $270


Douglas D. Gransberg, Ph.D., P.E., F.ASCE

Purpose and background

This course teaches the fundamentals of pricing a typical lump sum contract. The content includes development of direct and indirect cost, and applying profit margins. Various sources for construction pricing data are discussed. An example method for developing a pricing database using the organization’s financial data is provided. It also covers how the estimator will assemble the estimate together to develop a responsive lump sum bid package. Finally basis principles of risk are applied to the development of profit margins. This course will take an estimated 5 hours to complete.

Benefits and learning outcomes

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

  • Develop a source of pricing data for a typical building construction project.
  • Calculate general conditions and indirect cost for a typical building construction project.
  • Develop assemblies and calculate the bid price for framing, interior finishes, and exterior finishes in the building.
  • Develop trade subcontractor plug numbers for typical components of a building.
  • Demonstrate the use of location and time indexes in conjunction with future escalation formulas to prepare a responsive bid price for a lump sum building project.

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).

Who should attend?

  • Cost estimators
  • Planners
  • Design engineers
  • Architects
  • Project managers


Learners should have a basic understanding of the components of a building and the ability to complete basic algebraic calculations required for the QTO process. A fundamental understanding of basic engineering economics for completing future pricing calculation is also required.

Course outline

Module 1 : Introduction to pricing and bidding for lump sum projects

  • Lesson 1.1 = Lump sum estimating fundamentals – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 1.2 = Construction pricing databases – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 1.3 = Computing labor costs
  • Lesson 1.4 = Computing crew production rates
  • Learning exercise

Module 2: Developing pricing assemblies

  • Lesson 2.1 = Conceptual estimating principles – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 2.2 = Developing assemblies for structural and architectural components of buildings – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 2.3 = Estimating building system capacities for trade plug numbers
  • Lesson 2.4 = Plug number development example
  • Learning exercise

Module 3: Pricing building framing and finish costs

  • Lesson 3.1 = Framing terminology – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 3.2 = Framing/finishes QTO – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 3.3 = Pricing timber framing steel/metal framing
  • Learning exercise
  • Lesson 3.4 = Pricing interior and exterior finishes
  • Learning exercise

Module 4 : Bidding lump sum projects

  • Lesson 4.1 = Risk applied to pricing – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 4.2 = Indexing pricing for location and time – this video contains a short quiz
  • Lesson 4.3 = Escalation of pricing to the future
  • Lesson 4.4 = Indexing and escalation example
  • Learning exercise
  • Bonus content: Interview with a contractor on risk/impact on pricing

Module 5 = Final exam