Chief Estimator

Job Description

This position is responsible to provide work direction for preconstruction services to maximize Knutson Construction’s ability to secure profitable construction projects that meet the owner’s programs and budgets.

Role Responsibilities

The key job responsibilities include, but are not limited to:


  • Prepares and oversees accurate takeoffs for self perform work to increase the probability of providing profitable work for Knutson Construction.
  • Reviews and / or provide quantifies for concrete, masonry, demotion and carpentry self-perform.
  • Reviews and prices labor, material and equipment using historic data, experience, supplier and rental firm pricing.
  • Leverages supplier relationships and Knutson experience to win profitable Self Perform work.
  • Leads the Self-Perform “SOP” Standard Operating Procedures in a team environment with both operations and site staff.
  • Sells Self Perform and its advantages to the project. Works with Chief Estimator and Operations to identify Self Perform opportunities to pursue outside of negotiated work.
  • Coordinates, develops, and maintains software needed for concrete forming systems to be used for pricing, shop drawings and erection.

Hard Bid / Negotiated Projects:

  • Proactively reviews and determines which Hard Bid opportunities to pursue and coordinates with VP of Preconstruction, as appropriate.
  • Works closely with Operations to identify the best superintendent and operations team for project pursuits.
  • Positions Knutson Construction for future negotiated opportunities through the hard-bid market.
  • Prepares and/or oversees the development of estimates for hard bid projects using the Knutson SOP’s.
  • Works with Operations and Business Development to successfully pursue and secure profitable negotiated and Hard Bid work for Knutson Construction.
  • Evaluates bid time win/losses at time of bid.
  • Works with all stakeholders to successfully manage the preconstruction process and helps prepare projects for the start of construction.
  • Completes Conceptual/Program estimates from RFP responses and conceptual documents.
  • Works closely with Operations and Marketing to develop “Risks” and “Project Plans” for Best Value and Negotiated pursuits.
  • Develops accurate cost estimates / models / GMP’s including equipment, general conditions, front end materials and labor using 3D software, ensures estimates are coordinated with project managers’ front-end specifications, scopes of work, schedules, phasing and logistics plans.
  • Provides real time feedback on budgets and programs to all stakeholders.
  • Oversees the documentation that should be included for presentations.
  • Performs real time estimating, system analysis, long term maintenance studies and value engineering processes.
  • Oversees risk management as it relates to project costs, subcontractor selection, construction methods and legal reviews of contracts on both hard bid and negotiated projects.
  • Leverages subcontractor relationships, identifies scopes of work and the Knutson Experience to win profitable Hard Bid work. Researches and builds relationships with new subcontractors and vendors.
  • Develops accurate project schedules with senior level operations and preconstruction staff on hard bid projects.
  • Reviews project schedules completed by operations on negotiated projects.
  • Manages bid takers, analyzes bids, leads decision process and enters the correct subcontractor bid.
  • Owns the project cost through preconstruction, contract pricing, buy-out and handoff. Also available for operations team during construction.
  • Attends interviews on project pursuits.
  • Helps with preconstruction content writing on RFP responses.
  • Identifies and communicates opportunities to enhance projects.
  • Complete and/or review first pass at General Conditions and Fee Calculator on CMR, CMA, Best Value and Design Build projects.
  • Reviews all Front-End Specifications and Scopes of Work completed by operations staff on negotiated and hard bid projects.
  • Provides coaching and training to Estimators to enhance their skills and promote the preconstruction process.

Miscellaneous Items:

  • Works with the Director and VP of Preconstruction to coordinate the workload and work efforts of Preconstruction Staff.
  • Understands this position is required to work in a fast pass environment completing multiple projects at the same time.
  • Works with Operations to conduct post mortem reviews on projects to determine reasons for profitability or reasons for financial losses, and incorporates lessons learned in future bids.
  • Updates and maintains the database to track self-perform and overall project historic data.
  • Develops and maintains Standard Operating Procedures with Director of Preconstruction.
  • Develops and maintains positive relationships with stakeholders to promote profitable project wins and position Knutson Construction for future opportunities.
  • Develops and executes plans to continuously improve subcontractor relationships.
  • Keeps executives informed of key issues/opportunities that impact project success.
  • Promotes the Knutson Construction name through community involvement.
  • Delivers the Knutson Experience.
  • Continuously works to enhance personal skills/abilities to retain a motivated, professional workforce for Knutson Construction.
  • Provides training and development opportunities to lower level staff and continuously works to enhance personal skills/abilities to retain a motivated, professional workforce for Knutson Construction.
  • Updates and maintains estimating / preconstruction software and templates.
  • Works closely with senior level staff to promote and leverage the use of technology to meet Knutson’s preconstruction needs.

Respond to and complete all other duties, tasks and/or projects as assigned

Knowledge and Skills Required

Required Skills and Abilities:

  • Strong management skills in leading our teams through the preconstruction process.
  • Individual most understand the importance of coaching and training within Knutson and be able to lead this process with his direct reports.
  • Strong planning, problem solving, and troubleshooting skills in a cross functional environment
  • Individual must be collaborative and positive
  • Excellent multi-tasking skills
  • Highly organized, able to prioritize and multi-task
  • Ability to travel to various construction sites; ability to physically review project sites which may involve use of stairways and mobilizing around the existing landscape.
  • Ability to sit for extended periods of time using a computer and reading plans/specifications.
  • Ability to lift bid documents (plans and specifications) as needed, which can weigh up to 50 pounds.

Minimum Education and/or Experience Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in construction management, engineering or a related field
  • Minimum of 10 years of preconstruction experience with at least 5 additional years in construction project management.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of the position.

Apply by mail

Knutson Construction
Attn: Human Resources
7515 Wayzata Boulevard
Minneapolis, MN 55426
Fax: 763.546.2226

Apply Online


Knutson offers outstanding benefits including 401(k), profit sharing, bonus, and group insurance plus a competative salary.