Opening Doors for Women in Construction and Estimating

March 10, 2022
women in construction

How women are forging new paths in the construction industry

At every step of the construction process, the influence of women is growing. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the number of women working across various construction trades rose by 17.6% between 2017 and 2018, while the job growth for the industry as a whole was only 3.7%. So what is bringing women to the construction industry? For many, it is the same reasons as any of their male colleagues: exciting projects, working to create something with a team, and high wages that don’t necessarily require a four-year college degree. For other women, the construction industry provides a clear path for a management career and those interested in solving complex problems using new technologies.

One Summer on a Job Site, Now a Career

Mary Sue, a designer and construction estimator in Denver, has seen a little bit of everything in the construction industry. Starting in high school, Mary Sue’s parents sent her to work for her grandfather’s construction company. “I was a bit of a wild child—they thought framing houses would be punishment, but I loved it,” Mary Sue said. That first summer on a construction site led to an interest in pursuing a career in the construction industry.

Now in her 30s, Mary Sue is finishing her degree in Environmental Engineering while she spends her days working for Smither the Fixer, a residential building company. She enjoys that every day is a little different when you work in construction. Some days she is on the job site with the company’s owner, Jeff, taking measurements for a new client. Other days she can be found designing a multi-million dollar home in AutoCad. Mary Sue also leads project management and estimating for the company, using 1build’s construction estimating service, along with other digital preconstruction tools.

Using 1build for Fast, Accurate Construction Estimates

With a lot of projects set for this year, Jeff and Mary Sue are also using the 1build Estimator Network to support their pricing workflow and get bids out the door quickly. “Jeff and I go out in the field and meet with clients and take measurements, or we work with architectural plans and do a digital takeoff. But once the client design is solidified, we will submit that design to the 1build Estimator Network.” Now their crew schedule is full through December 2022.

Another way Mary Sue is using 1build to save time during preconstruction is by using the 1build cost database to confirm pricing. “It is nice to log into 1build and create a rough estimate to make sure my numbers are in conjunction with [1build’s] data,” Mary Sue said. “I need that reference because if I am just pulling from my experience, clients may balk at the cost; but now we can share that we get data from averages in this exact area.”

Construction Estimating + Organic Agriculture: A New Path Forward

Her experience in construction has also led Mary Sue to exploring the intersection of engineering and agriculture. “I really like being a construction estimator and designer. But I've also always wanted to own my own farm,” Mary Sue said. “And so, right now, my focus is on soil regeneration for organic farms.” Growing up on a farm, with construction professionals in her family, Mary Sue is forging her own path through project management, design, pricing, and technology.

Ready to Forge Your Path in the Construction Industry?

In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that women make up 14.3% of construction estimators, 10% of construction managers, and just 3% of all other construction trades. If you know a woman who is interested in construction, whether they are still in school or looking for a new career, here are some resources to get them started:

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